Former mayor honored with county green building award

April 1, 2014

By Peter Clark

Former Mayor Ava Frisinger may be out of office, but she’s not out of awards.

King County’s GreenTools Sustainable Cities Roundtable celebrated its fifth anniversary with an award event March 13 and the environmentally focused program gave Frisinger the Green Building Legacy Award.

“It’s for outstanding leadership in green building,” program manager for the King County GreenTools Program Patti Southard said of the award. “We do a retreat every fall where we discuss leadership and who we would like to honor.”

Contributed King County Executive Dow Constantine (left) hands the Green Building Legacy Award to David Fujimoto, Issaquah sustainability director, who accepted the honor for former Mayor Ava Frisinger.

Contributed
King County Executive Dow Constantine (left) hands the Green Building Legacy Award to David Fujimoto, Issaquah sustainability director, who accepted the honor for former Mayor Ava Frisinger.

When it came to the Green Building Legacy Award, the choice was easy.

“There was no discussion,” she said. “Mayor Frisinger was getting the award.”

King County credited Frisinger’s leadership with building the first ever Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold fire station in the country and more than 3,000 Built Green residences, including the nation’s first zero-energy townhomes with the zHome project.

Most notably to Southard, Frisinger assisted in the beginning of GreenTools and whole-heartedly took part.

“In the early years of the GreenTools Program, Ava attended more meetings than any other mayors,” Southard said. “She did so much to drive policy as well as action within the community. She’s been really accessible and really willing to provide staff for these initiatives.”

Frisinger, who retired in January after serving 16 years as mayor, appreciated what the county strove to accomplish.

“I’m very honored and humbled,” she said. “The whole GreenTools Program was something I worked with for a long time.”

She said she was introduced to the three-legged stool concept of sustainability in 1996, which holds that economic, social and environmental sustainability are needed for improved quality of life. She wanted to bring that to Issaquah.

“The whole concept was one that made sense to me,” Frisinger said. “It saved money for municipalities and was sparing of the environment.”

The city’s work in the Issaquah Highlands established a partnership of green building with the county and she said the future would only see more.

“I’m just really glad it’s continuing,” Frisinger said. “Issaquah and its citizens remain strongly involved. It felt like the right thing to do.”

The GreenTools Program will continue giving out awards, but mostly when necessity calls.

“We’re not going to give the same awards out every year,” Southard said. “Last year, it was four awards. This year, it was 10 as a celebration of our five-year anniversary of the GreenTools Sustainable Cities Roundtable.”

Still, she was proud to give the honor to Frisinger.

“She really has done an amazing job of spearheading,” Southard said. “She’s just had a steadfast hand on these initiatives since the 1990s. There’s more green building houses in Issaquah than any other city in King County.”

Learn more at your.kingcounty.gov/solidwaste/greenbuilding.

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