Amy Winehouse took five of the music industry’s top honors at the 50th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles Sunday, but for environmentalists what went on behind the scenes was equally important.

Wind energy powered the Grammy Awards show, which featured jazz pianist Herbie Hancock with awards for Best Album of the Year and Best Contemporary Jazz Album.

Hybrid cars and flex fuel GM cars shuttled people to and from the event, the program books were printed on recycled paper, and waste was reduced across the board.

Organic and environmentally friendly food, including seafood, dairy, and produce, was featured at Grammy Celebration after-party and unused food was given to Angel Harvest for donation to soup kitchens and shelters.

To accomplish its first greening initiative, the Recording Academy partnered with the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and STAPLES Center to reduce the environmental impact of the 50th Grammy Awards telecast and all related events.

“With the help of NRDC and the LADWP, we have integrated environmentally intelligent practices into every aspect of the Grammy Awards and Grammy Week activities,” said Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow.

“Going Green is an extension of our mission to positively impact the lives of musicians, industry members, and society-at-large, and we are committed to doing our part to make our world healthier and help combat the threat of global warming,” Portnow said.

The Academy and NRDC arranged for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to conduct an energy audit of STAPLES Center and advised the production team on changes that could be made to reduce the use of fossil fuels, encourage the use of recycled paper, prevent waste, and offset carbon emissions.

Collectively, these changes enabled the Grammy Awards and Staples Center to reduce its contribution to the accumulation of global warming gases in the atmosphere by more than 1,100 tons, the NRDC estimates.

“The Grammys truly understand the power of a strong voice, and this is a major step for them to meaningfully reduce the environmental impact of this year’s production,” said NRDC President Frances Beinecke.

“The amount that we accomplished during this inaugural effort exceeded our expectations,” said Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, senior scientist at NRDC who managed the greening effort.

“The intelligence and energy that The Recording Academy and John Cossette Productions brought to this noble endeavor sets an example for future productions, as well as for businesses,” he said. “By advocating environmental responsibility from one of the music world’s best known organizations, we hope to promote positive changes in the way businesses and individuals think about our Earth, and, especially, in the way that they act.”

Lee Zeidman, senior vice president and general manager of STAPLES Center, said, “Having partners who share our commitment to energy and waste management, recycling, conservation and proper purchasing practices is something as an organization we strive to bring to STAPLES Center.”

H. David Nahai, chief executive with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, used the department’s participation in the event as an opportunity to publicize its Green Power for a Green LA Program, which is open to all LA residents and businesses

The program was started in 1999 and in the past year it supported the delivery of over 62,000 megawatt-hours of renewable energy to Los Angeles. Said Nahai, “Over 23,000 residential and commercial LADWP customers participate in the voluntary program helping to make LA the greenest big city in America.”

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