Illinois Sustainable Technology Center - University of Illinois

Frequently Asked Questions

Every year, we find our applicants asking a number of questions dealing with everything from the application itself to the actual award ceremony. We've put together a list of those we hear most often, along with our usual answers. Our list is by no means comprehensive, so if you don't see your concerns addressed below, please don't hesitate to call or e-mail us.

The Awards We Present

The Application Process

Getting the Award

ISTC Site Visits and IEPA Reviews


The Awards We Present

What is a Governor's Sustainability Award?

The Governor's Award is given to companies and organizations that implement techniques or technologies that reduce or eliminate pollutants, toxicity and other environmental impacts, including the amount of and/or toxicity of pollutants that would have otherwise been released into the environment. Sustainability includes processes such as raw material and solvent substitution, preventive maintenance programs, beneficial reuse of by-products, waste reduction and recycling, employee engagement efforts, and comprehensive environmental management systems or governing policies. Any sustainable activity, program or technology your organization has implemented prior to December 31, 2013, can be included in your application.

What is the Honorable Mention Awards?

Applicants may be recognized in the Honorable Mention category for significant efforts in sustainability as noted above, based on their final score and ranking of applications in the current year.

Applications are evaluated by technical assistance engineers (evaluation committee) and a scoring mechanism and ranking process takes place based on the Evaluation Criteria. The ranking and scoring metrics are then further reviewed by the evaluation committee to assure that an applicant's scoring value correctly reflects their sustainability achievements. The scoring metrics are a guide for determining the highest ranking applicants who are then considered for the Sustainability Award. A site visit may take place to confirm that an applicant merits recognition.

Applicants who have accomplished significant sustainability efforts but fall below the ranking threshold are then awarded Honorable Mention. The Honorable Mention is still considered a significant achievement, as there may be applicants who are not awarded recognition.

What is a Governor's Continuous Improvement Award?

ISTC is no longer presenting the Continuous Improvement Award. Please visit the Continuous Improvement Award page for more information.

What is the Illinois Sustainable Technology Award?

ISTC is no longer presenting a Sustainable Technology Award. Please visit the Illinois Sustainable Technology Awards page for more information.


The Application Process

When is my application due?

Your application is due May 22, 2014.

We're not a manufacturer, can we still apply?

Yes. Sustainability isn't limited to the world of manufacturing. We have categories for vendors, trade organizations, community groups, schools, service organizations, and media outlets/organizations as well.

I applied months ago, but I haven't heard a word from you since then. What's going on?

If you haven't heard anything from us, that's generally a good thing. We notify those applicants who do not make it to the finalist stage as soon as we can (usually in early July). We try to notify our finalists of their status in late August, at which time we also send detailed information about the awards ceremony. To accommodate all of the steps in our process, it takes us about three months from the due date.

We have some confidential and proprietary processes. Will they remain that way if we apply?

Yes. Applications are kept confidential and reviewed only by our panel of judges. They are not published. However, by applying, you do give ISTC consent to publish a summary of the actions for which you received your award.

Can a company win multiple times?

Yes. We have a number of multiple award winners. Organizations are not limited to the number of times that they are permitted to apply for and receive the Governor’s Sustainability Award.

We've never applied before. Do you have an example of a completed narrative we could see?

Yes we do. You can download it here (Sample Applications ) as a Word document.


Getting the Award

When will we find out if we've won?

Winners are officially announced on the day of the awards ceremony. This year, the ceremony will be held in late fall. However, finalists for the awards, (those that make the first cut during the judging) will be notified of their status in late August.

Will we hear if we are not winners before the day of the event?

Yes. We notify all applicants who do not qualify as finalists. Usually this notification is mailed in late July.

How many awards do you give each year?

We don't really know until we finish the evaluation process. We have no target number of awards to distribute. We evaluate each year's applicants on the basis of their achievements and efforts and decide which are deserving of special recognition. Generally, the number seems to fall between 20 and 25 awards every year, but it is entirely determined by the merits of the applications.

Who from my company is eligible to attend the awards ceremony?

That is entirely up to you and your company management. ISTC covers the food and registration costs for one representative from each award winning group. However, you are welcome to bring as many of your company staff as you wish. Costs vary depending on the year and location.


ISTC Site Visits and IEPA Reviews

Why do you require an ISTC visit to my facility if we're a finalist?

This is a spot-check to verify that what was submitted on your application is being used in practice. This is a fairly informal tour conducted by one or two of our staff engineers. In most cases, the site visits have actually reinforced, or improved the positions of our finalists, as we often find that our applicants are doing significantly more than they included in their application.

Why do you send my company application to the Illinois EPA?

We don't actually send any of your application materials to the Illinois EPA. We do, however, submit a list of our award finalists to the IEPA and the Office of the Governor for a review to ensure that none of our award candidates have current environmental regulatory violations or actions pending. We also conduct a review in U.S. EPA's compliance databases.

My company does have a current issue pending with the IEPA, will this prevent me from receiving an award?

That depends on several factors, including the nature of the violations, the timing and the status of the issues as of the EPA review (usually in August). But, in the short answer, yes, this might remove your company from the running for an award.

Will the IEPA send someone out to inspect my company/facility?

Not that we are aware of. In the 27 years of the Awards, we are not aware of any facility inspections by IEPA personnel that were a result of an Awards review.

My company has had issues with the IEPA in the past, but they are all resolved. Will this prevent us from receiving an award?

No. As long as these issues are considered resolved by both you and IEPA, they should not be a factor in the awards consideration.

If you have any other questions, contact John Mulrow at 630-586-9168 or jmulrow@illinois.edu or Deb Jacobson at 630-472-5019 or djacobso@illinois.edu

Illinois Sustainable Technology Center

One Hazelwood Dr.
Champaign, IL 61820
217-333-8940

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