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RNN Solar Day Gilded to Green Live at Belcourt of Newport was a resounding success in every way, as the skies over Newport, RI were bright blue, sunny, and clear, and the teams at Belcourt and Alex and Ani, provided an abundance of positive energy throughout the afternoon celebration of summer, the solstice, and sustainability

The at-capacity crowd was a who’s-who of East Coast sustainability thought leaders and practitioners including Founder, CEO, and Chief Creative

RI Energy Comm., Carol Grant, Peter Arpin, Ken Filarski

Officer of Alex and Ani, Carolyn Rafaelian, architect Shahin Barzin, the Commissioner of the Department of Energy Resources, Carol Grant, and the Mayor of Newport Harry Winthrop. As the event drew closer to the live broadcast and last second details were being worked out on set, one guest commented with a big smile on his face, “you can feel the energy in the air, there’s nothing like live TV.” The two-hour event saw people between commercial breaks rushed on and off set while the Floor Director took control yelling, “everyone, please take your seats, ten seconds to air!” This

Peter Arpin and Newport Mayor Henry F. Winthrop

controlled chaos only helped to build up to the climax, which was the RNN Innovation in Green Awards ceremony, where Carolyn Rafaelian, and architect Shahin Barzin were honored for their innovation and dedication to the advancement of sustainability.

As the live broadcast came to its final act, the room at Belcourt of Newport was now standing room only, as people lined up against the back wall, and couches were added to help accommodate the additional attendees who continued to arrive. The tremendous effort and love that both of these people have put into this project is self-evident. From Shahin’s ability to incorporate clean energy without compromise to the home’s original

Shahin Barzin with the RNN Innovation in Green Award: 2017 Green Architect of the Year

architecture and design – to Carolyn’s love of history, art and desire to educate – they have made this restoration a reality. For RNN, this is the perfect example of the principles of sustainability at work, and one that we showcase as an example of its endless potential.

Presenting Shahin Barzin with the RNN Innovation in Green Award: 2017 Green Architect of the Year, was no stranger to design himself – renowned architect, planner and Chair of the Rhode Island Green Building Council – Kenneth Filarski. Presenting Carolyn Rafaelian with the RNN Innovation in Green Award: 2017 Arts & Culture Humanitarian of the Year was an internationally recognized storyteller, and RNN’s Ambassador to Arts & Culture, Valerie Tutson. Both Ken and Valerie had very special comments for Shahin and Carolyn that helped to put things into perspective, and lend a personal and theatrical touch to the presentation.


At the ceremony’s conclusion, guests in attendance were treated to a private tour of Belcourt of Newport, while enjoying a catered reception co-sponsored by Fastlane Communications, the Donovan Institute’s Bridge of Exchange , and a wine tasting compliments of Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyards, and an Alex and Ani gift bag (made of recycled paper) with an assortment of goodies celebrating art, nature, and sustainability – including a print from artist Lisa Palombo, snacks from Crispy Green, an RNN mouse pad, a copy of the current issue of Forbes Magazine with none other than Carolyn Rafaelian on its cover, and of course – an Alex and Ani bangle! If you didn’t watch live, you can watch the award ceremony on-demand here.

Thank you to all who attended, participated, and supported RNN Solar Day to make it such a tremendous success.

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