Eight North Bay companies were among 23 small businesses the California Air Resources Board recognized Tuesday at its second CoolCalifornia.org Small Business Award ceremony for "climate-smart actions."

The award-winners were selected from 85 applicants.  Criteria were actions taken to save money and improve operations, facilities and practices while reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.  Steps taken include installation of compact fluorescent light bulbs, solar panels and energy-efficient computer servers, elimination of toxins and solvents, use of environmentally conscious products, and adding automated thermostats and lighting fixtures.

Winners were ranked by 20 two-person teams of scorers made up of staff from public agencies and private businesses.  Air board staff and leadership further reviewed scores and conducted site visits and environmental reviews.

Five businesses received the Business of the Year award for demonstrating "exceptional" climate change management practices and communication.  Eighteen, including seven from the North Bay, were acknowledged with the Climate Leader award for proactively reducing their impacts on the climate and communicating this information to their employees and customers. Certificates of recognition were given to nine, including one local company, for taking steps to establish innovative, more sustainable business practices.

Climate LeaderChavez Trucking, Dixon

Employees: 58

The construction materials hauling company replaced 16 old trucks with new trucks through the Sacramento Emergency Clean Air Transportation program (SECAT) and trained drivers on fuel-saving driving techniques. Fuel cost savings were $80,640 a year.

Lafitte Cork and Capsule, Napa

Employees: 16

The supplier of premium cork stoppers to wineries across North America installed energy-efficient lighting and Energy Star appliances.

Lafitte won the Small Business Excellence award from the program in 2009. Only two North Bay companies won that year.

Paragon Label & Mrs. Grossman’s, Petaluma

Employees: 29

The full-service, pressure sensitive label company replaced all air compressors with energy-efficient compressors. All water-based ink waste is sent to a recycler and turned into fuel blends.

Quivira Vineyards and Winery, Healdsburg

Employees: 25

A certified organic winery since 2005, Quivira is an environmentally conscious winegrowing and winemaking company. It uses a steam-cleaning machine to significantly reduce water and detergent use. The company also installed solar panels.

Silverado Brewing Company, St. Helena

Employees: 34

This full-service restaurant and microbrewery serves local organic and sustainably produced food. The company replaced their lamps with energy-efficient lighting, insulated hot water pipes, increased recycling and purchased less toxic cleaning solvents.

Synergy Solar & Electrical Systems, Inc., Sebastopol

Employees: 6

Synergy designs and installs solar photovoltaic and energy-efficient lighting. The company replaced its water heater with a new on-demand gas water heater and installed dual-pane windows.

Zan Media, Novato

Employees: 3

The digital video production company implemented energy-efficient practices and educates the community on ways to foster sustainability.

Honorable mentionTamalpais NatureWorks, San Rafael