ASHEBORO, NC - Two Piedmont businesses have been recognized by the N.C. Zoo Society and Polar Bears International © (PBI) for conservation efforts that help to preserve polar bears in the wild.

Acme-McCrary, an Asheboro textile firm, and Greensboro's
Proximity Hotel will be presented with "Paw of Approval" awards during noon ceremonies at the North Carolina Zoo on Friday, March 25. The award recognizes local businesses for energy conservation efforts that are helping to preserve wild polar bear habitats.

PBI is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the worldwide conservation of polar bears and their habitats through research, stewardship and education. The Zoo Society is the non-profit support organization for the N.C. Zoo.

Acme-McCrary is being recognized for installing a thermal energy system at its Pritchard St. hosiery plant in Asheboro in order to heat water for hosiery and seamless apparel dyeing operations. The system includes 200 solar panels that generate 10,000 gallons of hot water a day at temperatures up to 180 F.

The Proximity Hotel, the first LEED platinum certified hotel, is also being recognized for their accomplishments in energy reduction. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED ) certification covers energy use, lighting, water and material use as well as other sustainable strategies that help preserve the environment. The hotel uses 39 percent less energy and 33 percent less water than similar hotels around the country. Their efforts include 100 solar rooftop panels that heat 60 percent of the hotel and restaurant water.
Presenting the award on behalf of PBI will be its president Robert Buchanan. A resident of Alaska, Buchanan is a former marketing executive with an international beverage company who since the 1980s has devoted more than 30 years to educating the public on the importance of arctic ecosystems and inspiring action to conserve the planet.

The N.C. Zoo has been a PBI "Arctic Ambassador Center" since 2009. The Zoo is committed to the husbandry of the polar bears in its care, supporting PBI research projects, and providing leadership for reducing carbon emissions in the community. PBI has provided zoo staff and local teens with professional development opportunities through Leadership Camps in the polar bear capitol of the world, Churchill, Manitoba, Canada.
Buchanan will present the awards to Acme-McCrary and the Proximity Hotel during ceremonies beginning at noon in the zoo's Stedman Education Center located near the zoo's North America entrance.

During his two-day stay Buchanan will also meet with zoo staff, tour the Acme-McCrary facilities and lead an evening walk to the zoo's polar bear exhibit for guests purchasing a special ticket. Participants in the walk will also receive home energy savings kits provided by Randolph Electric Membership Corporation. For more information visit the Zoo Society's website at

The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Dee A. Freeman, Secretary; Beverly E. Perdue, Governor.