The Illinois Sustainability Awards

Impact of the Awards

Illinois' success as an economic and cultural leader depends upon our responsible management of natural resources for a healthy environment, as well as sustainable development. Every year, there are a group of champions who represent the highest models of sustainable commerce, resource use and governance - the winners of the Illinois Sustainability Awards.

This timeline is a snapshot of the number of Award winners and key milestones in the program since 1987. More than 500 public and private Illinois organizations have won these Awards since 1987, each becoming part of a legacy of excellence and leadership. They have shown the way for outstanding and innovative sustainability practices that reduce our use of raw materials, reuse and recycle what was once refuse, and strive to keep toxic and hazardous materials out of our living ecosystems. Illinois Sustainability Award winners thoroughly demonstrate a commitment to sustaining our environment and contributing to the growth of a more sustainable, profitable Illinois economy.

Sustainability Award Winners, 1987-2013 infographic; for a full description email Beth Meschewski at elm2@illinois.edu

2015 Impact

Each year, we receive an incredible variety of projects, programs, and technologies being implemented from applicants, demonstrating the uniqueness of each individual organization's impact. We encourage applicants to track the metrics associated to demonstrate the environmental and economic outcomes from their efforts. The 2016 Award applicants achieved the following collective environmental and economic impact, based on 2015 activities:

2016 Impact infographic: 112 million gallons of water usage reduced; 36.9 million MWh of electricity reduced; 2,315 tons of non-hazardous solid waste reduced; 80,625 tons of material recycled; 1.4 million equivalent metric tons of CO2 avoided; $7.5 million annual savings

Commonly, applicants submit projects that focus on water, energy, waste, fuel reduction, and hazardous chemical use. Below is a list of the top technologies and projects implemented by 2016 Award winners in 2015.

Top Technologies/Projects

Stakeholder Engagement

  • Supplier engagement
  • Supplier education
  • Community projects
  • Employee training

Waste Reduction

  • Composting projects
  • Packaging reuse
  • Expanded recycling
  • Zero Waste initiatives

Lighting Upgrades & Management

  • LED upgrades
  • Fixture upgrades

Building & Envelope Upgrades

  • Climate controls installed
  • Energy efficient design in new facilities
  • New efficient HVAC systems
  • LEED Certification

Process Upgrades & Optimization

  • Upgraded controls in process
  • Installation of systems to reduce resource use
  • Leak reduction in compressed air systems

Each year, the impact of the Illinois Sustainability Awards applicants continues to grow. We believe it is important to continue recognizing Illinois' leading private and public entities for their sustainability accomplishments. Award winners serve as role models to others, but also significantly contribute to natural resource preservation on this planet we call home.

To learn more about joining this impact and applying for an Illinois Sustainability Award, visit the Apply for the Awards page.