Healthy Home Winners Announced in “People & Planet” Green Small Business Contest

Source: Photographer

$5,000 Prize Awarded to Three Companies in California, Maryland and Ohio for Their Dedication to Building Healthy Homes

March 24, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC -- Three winners were announced today for Green America’s quarterly “People & Planet Award,” which recognizes innovative entrepreneurial U.S. businesses that deeply integrate environmental and social considerations into their strategies and operations. Each of three winners will receive $5,000. The winners are: Green Broom Brigade, Lompoc, CA; Community Forklift, Edmonston, MD; and Ecohouse, Galloway, OH. Winners were selected by the public during a month-long open voting period online at Green America’s website.

This round of the Awards focused on green businesses that have taken superior steps to improve sustainability and healthy living in the home.

Alisa Gravitz, president, Green America, said: “For most Americans, the home is their biggest investment. Therefore, it’s also their chance to make the greenest possible statement about who they are and the world in which they want to live. This quarter’s winners of the People & Planet Award demonstrate everyday how green home building and products can make a huge and positive difference in our world.”

The winning companies’ are:

  • Green Broom Brigade, Lompoc, CA,…. The Green Broom Brigade is a professional cleaning company and cooperative that sources exclusively environmentally friendly cleaning products and methods. The Brigade also employs an all-female workforce, composed of company co-owners. Green living and financial empowerment are thus joint tenets of the Green Broom Brigade.
  • Community Forklift, Edmonston, MD, Community Forklift is a reuse center for home improvement supplies. The company collects unwanted and salvaged building materials during building demolition, then provides them to the public at very low prices, and donates them to individuals in need. Discarded building materials make up 40% of our nation's solid waste. Community Forklift is on the frontlines of finding better ways to recycle and reuse these products – whether for the arts, for job training, or for strict recycling.
  • Ecohouse, Galloway, OH, Ecohouse is a leading solar electric systems installer and comprehensive energy auditor in central Ohio, helping more than 3,000 home owners and small businesses reduce their energy use and environmental impact since 2008. 

Nancy Vasquez Louth, manager of the Green Broom Brigade cooperative said: “Thank you to Green America and to all our supporters and voters in Southern California and the rest of the world for casting a winning vote for us. Now with this award we want to help continue the wave of growth and creating new green cleaning enterprises, especially cooperatives. Winning this prize money will definitely give us the opportunity to purchase needed equipment so that we could expand into commercial cleaning using our same green friendly products!”

Nancy J. Meyer, CEO of Community Forklift said: “At Community Forklift's reuse center, we collect unwanted and salvaged building materials, then provide these supplies to the public at very low prices, and donate them to nonprofits and folks in need. By turning our region's waste stream into a resource stream, we're demonstrating that reuse can create green jobs and build local economies. We're thrilled that Green America members support this work!”

Kevin Eigel, president of Ecohouse said: “Ecohouse would like to thank everyone who voted for us. We are happy to be recognized for our work of helping central Ohio homeowners and businesses to go solar and reduce the impact of climate change. We thank Green America for the gift of $5000. We will use this money to help put up a solar electric system for Third Hand Bike Co-op (a non profit that make cycling accessible for everyone in central Ohio), and to expand solar in central Ohio."

Future rounds of Green America’s quarterly award for green businesses with 50 or fewer employees, will focus on community banking projects and companies that make “green” products for kids.

The businesses that the public vote on are determined by public nominations and an expert panel of judges: Katie Galloway and Gigi Abbadie, Aveda; Justin Conway, Calvert Foundation; Reed Doyle, Seventh Generation; Jonathan Reinbold, Organic Valley; Jenny Burns, Honest Tea; Bena Burda, Maggie’s Organics; Lindsay Dahl, Safer Chemicals/Healthy Families; Alline Anderson, Milkweed Mercantile; Andrew Korfhage and Fran Teplitz, Green America.


Green America is the nation’s leading green economy organization. Founded in 1982, Green America (formerly Co-op America) provides the economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses and individuals to solve today's social and environmental problems.

MEDIA CONTACT: Will Harwood, (703) 276-3255 or