merit award

From left, Environmental Affairs Commission Member James Howe, Sierra Vista Mayor Rick Mueller, award recipient Ken Mette, EAC member Bruce Phillips, EAC Chair Ron Faulkner, and EAC Member Mathew Haupt celebrate the presentation of the 2019 Environmental Merit Award at Thursday’s City Council meeting.

The City of Sierra Vista Environmental Affairs Commission honored Ken Mette with its 2019 Environmental Merit Award on Thursday night for his tireless efforts to improve the grounds and facilities at the Immanuel Lutheran Church, while reducing its impact on the environment.

Since taking over as head of maintenance eight years ago, Mette has been invaluable in maintaining and improving the church’s facilities, while employing modern environmentally-friendly practices at every turn. When the church’s parking lot needed to be redone, Mette insisted that solar-powered LED lights be used and added green areas with trees and desert plants, while also installing a drip irrigation system to reduce water use for landscaping. In addition, he used green infrastructure techniques to slow water draining from the parking lot into a retention basin to improve recharge into the local aquifer and also installed waterless urinals at the church.

“It just seemed like it was the thing to do. Instead of using old technology, update to the new technology and kind of try to set an example for the community,” Mette said, after accepting the award at the City Council meeting on Thursday.

Mette also ensured that LED lights were used when the church’s Friendship Hall was built and replaced existing incandescent lighting with LEDs, reducing use of electricity. LEDs used outside in the parking lot and walking path have dimmers and motion detectors to conserve electricity and protect Sierra Vista’s dark skies. He even started an aluminum can drop off point at the church so its members can easily recycle. The Environmental Affairs Commission created the Environmental Merit Award three years ago to recognize individuals, businesses, service groups, or organizations that strive to meet or exceed the City of Sierra Vista’s environmental goals. Areas of interest include water conservation, environmental stewardship, and recycling.

The first Environmental Merit Award recipient was Water Wise, a program of the University of Arizona Cochise County Cooperative Extension, and the second was Bryant Sayers, who spearheads cleanup efforts in the West End.

Environmental Affairs Commission Chair Ron Faulkner noted that both Sayers and Mette are dedicated to their churches, which speaks to the impact local churches have on the community.

Submitted by Adam Curtis, public information officer, City of Sierra Vista

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