Registration for the 2018 Illinois Sustainability Awards is now open

Registration for the 32nd Annual Illinois Sustainability Awards is now open. Join us to learn more about cutting-edge sustainable business strategies and celebrate the 2018 award finalists.

Register now!

The event will take place on October 23rd, 2018 at:

Union League Club
65 W. Jackson Street
Chicago, IL

Registration prices are:

  • $60/person – Morning technical symposium only
  • $100/person – Awards luncheon and ceremony only
  • $150/person – Full day event, including morning symposium, luncheon and awards ceremony.
  • $250/person – Exhibit table, includes full day event, with morning symposium, luncheon, and awards ceremony.

Sponsorship opportunities are also available and include a wide array of benefits. Visit our Sponsorship page for more information on the benefits of supporting this signature Illinois event.

Wondering what’s happening at this year’s Awards Ceremony? Find the agenda here. More speakers to be announced soon.

If you have any questions about registration or sponsorships, please contact Irene Zlevor (izlevor@illinois.edu; 630-472-5016)

We hope that you can join us to celebrate this year’s Award winners.

Show impact by adding metrics to your Illinois Sustainability Award application

Adding metrics to your Illinois Sustainability Award application allows evaluators to truly see the quantitative or qualitative impacts that your organization, program or technology have achieved. Plus, metrics are important for your own use—to tell your story to stakeholders, to evaluate next steps in your sustainability efforts, and to determine the effectiveness of what you’ve done thus far.

Without an understanding of resource use before starting a project, how can you truly understand its impact on your bottom line and resource reduction? A major key to understanding project or program impact is to create a baseline for your project, program or initiative. By creating a baseline, you are creating a road map to tracking the success of an initiative and seeing what resource use looks like before implementing a new program, technology, initiative, or strategy. This is important to tracking the success of your efforts and can even help when asking for more money or resources for future environmental projects or initiatives.

There are many tools and calculators that can be used to help create an annual baseline, such as ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager (tracks energy, water, and waste). However, entering use data in a simple Excel spreadsheet can also yield a baseline. Important resources to baseline in your organization or business are energy and water use, waste, chemical use, and purchasing. If you have a fleet, fuel use might also be a good metric to track.

Before you start your project, choose an evaluation timeline – how long are you going to track metrics to see if your project was successful? What information would you need to collect? Remember to keep it simple and hone in on exactly which metrics will show reduction in resource use. Throughout the duration of the project, continue to track those metrics, even after the initiative or project has been implemented. Then, take time to analyze the data and see if a change has been made in the resources used.

Metrics don’t always need to be quantitative – especially if you are tracking impact of outreach or effect of a program on a particular group of people. Data such as number of people reached with information, or number of people participating in the program can be valuable as well. If you’re working with a group of people, get testimonials on impact of the program in their organization or everyday life. Ask whether the initiative, project or program will, or has already, affected their future success, or if connections outside of the project, program or initiative were made that otherwise would not have occurred.

The Sample Application section of the ISTC website can give you an idea of how to enter in data and metrics into our metrics spreadsheet (Microsoft Excel format) and talk to your team about what per-unit measures you might use in your application. If you have further questions, contact Deb Jacobson or Irene Zlevor for more information via e-mail (djacobso@illinois.edu or izlevor@illinois.edu) or by phone (630) 472-5016.

Remember, applications are due May 3. Start your application now!

The Illinois Sustainability Award by the Numbers

adding metrics to a ISA application
Adding metrics to an ISA application makes a stronger case.

 

Adding metrics to your Illinois Sustainability Award application allows evaluators to truly see the quantitative or qualitative impacts that your organization, program or technology have achieved. Plus, metrics are important for your own use—to tell your story to stakeholders, to evaluate next steps in your sustainability efforts, and to determine the effectiveness of what you’ve done thus far.

Without an understanding of resource use before starting a project, how can you truly understand its impact on your bottom line and resource reduction? A major key to understanding project or program impact is to create a baseline for your project, program or initiative. By creating a baseline, you are creating a road map to tracking the success of an initiative and seeing what resource use looks like before implementing a new program, technology, initiative, or strategy. This is important to tracking the success of your efforts and can even help when asking for more money or resources for future environmental projects or initiatives.

There are many different types of tools and calculators that can be used to help create an annual baseline, such as ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager (tracks energy, water, and waste). However, entering use data in a simple Excel spreadsheet can also yield a baseline. Important resources to baseline in your organization or business are energy and water use, waste, chemical use, and purchasing. If you have a fleet, fuel use might also be a good metric to track.

Before you start your project, choose an evaluation timeline – how long are you going to track metrics to see if your project was successful? What information would you need to collect? Remember to keep it simple and hone in on exactly which metrics will show reduction in resource use. Throughout the duration of the project, continue to track those metrics, even after the initiative or project has been implemented. Then, take time to analyze the data and see if a change has been made in the resources used.

Metrics don’t always need to be quantitative – especially if you are tracking impact of outreach or effect of a program on a particular group of people. Data such as number of people reached with information, or number of people participating in the program can be valuable as well. If you’re working with a group of people, get testimonials on impact of the program in their organization or everyday life. Ask whether the initiative, project or program will, or has already, affected their future success, or if connections outside of the project, program or initiative were made that otherwise would not have occurred.

The Sample Application section of the ISTC website can give you an idea of how to enter in data and metrics into our metrics spreadsheet (Microsoft Excel format) and talk to your team about what per-unit measures you might use in your application. If you have further questions, contact Deb Jacobson or Irene Zlevor for more information via e-mail (djacobso@illinois.edu or izlevor@illinois.edu) or by phone (630) 472-5016.

Remember, applications are due May 3. Start your application now!

Three Tips on the Road to a Great Illinois Sustainability Award Application

illinois sustainability award
Illinois companies, communities, and organizations can apply for the Illinois Sustainability Award before May 3.

If your organization has done a lot in the name of sustainability – from projects that save money and resources, to initiatives that strengthen the people and communities you work for – what are you waiting for? The Illinois Sustainability Award (ISA) provides a great opportunity for you to pull all of your sustainability work together into a single document: Your award application!

 

Because sustainability encompasses the triple bottom line – People, Planet, Profit – it can be tough to wrap one’s brain around all that should be included in your application. Our How To Apply page and FAQ’s will help you in that process, but we know that’s a lot to read! Here are three tips to help you cut to the chase, and get started on your application (due by 5 p.m. Thursday, May 3).

 

1. Start driving. Get key people on board.
ISA Applications are typically a team effort, but there is often a single person or small team that drives the process forward. The application drivers can be anyone – from top management to employees who volunteer time on a Green Team. If you’re reading this, you may be the driver!

 

Send a note out to co-workers letting them know you’re preparing a Illinois Sustainability Award application. Here are some key people to get on board early (positions vary by organization):
• Top Management
• Facilities/Operations Manager
• Plant Manager
• Sustainability Officer/Green Team Lead
• PR Officer

 

2. Read these two guides.
Narrative Guidelines – You have up to six single-spaced pages to describe your sustainability accomplishments. These guidelines tell you how.
Metrics Form Instructions – Download the Metrics Form (Microsoft Excel format) and read the Instructions tab.

 

3. Check out the sample applications.
The sample applications, available HERE, display best practices from past winners’ applications. Note that a good application typically includes a variety of projects touching on multiple impacts or aspects of sustainability. The project descriptions will also include some detail on how they were conceived and who was involved. We want to hear how your organization went from idea to implementation.

 

BONUS TIP: Consider normalizing your data.
Normalized data is reported on a relevant per-unit basis. One of our previous award winners, Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District, tracked their water use in this way before and after implementing water conservation measures in their wash bay. Instead of simply reporting total gallons of water consumed, they reported gallons per vehicle-hour, providing us with a water-use measure that can be compared across years, regardless of how many trips the buses make. This type of measurement, a normalized metric, is extremely helpful for evaluating your progress – the true impact of a sustainability project.

 

Check out the Illinois Manufacturer Inc. sample application (Microsoft Excel format) for more normalization examples and talk to your team about what per-unit measures you might use in your application.

 

If you still have questions about the process, contact Irene Zlevor for more information via e-mail at izlevor@illinois.edu, or call her at 630.472.5016.

Recycling in America Goes Home, But Can it Go BIG?

2017 Illinois Sustainable Award winners recycle
Recycling was the number one achievement of 2017 Illinois Sustainability Award Winners.

Happy America Recycles Day!

This annual upbeat reminder that “we use too much, buy too much, and toss too much” shines a light on a society that more and more gets it.

At our homes and schools, the interest and the opportunities for recycling keep growing, slowly. Here in Champaign, IL, two collection events this year gathered 146 tons of electronics for recycling.

But as much as we waste at home — over-consuming our disposable goods — that is a small fraction of the estimated volume of non-household waste (i.e. industrial, manufacturing, commercial, construction, mining, etc.).

A new analysis of winners of the 2017 Illinois Sustainability Award suggests many of those big players get it too. The number one sustainability initiatives by ISA winners was for waste reduction. When AbbVie took down three buildings on its North Chicago campus they wasted nothing. All of the metal was recycled and all of the masonry and concrete was crushed for current and future use.

illinois sustainability award winnerCaterpillar, Inc. knows big. When its Surface Mining and Technology site in Decatur committed to a Zero Landfill goal, they created a by-product catalog, devising a “plan for every waste.” The result has been an average recycling rate in the 90s.

Dynamic Manufacturing Inc. in Melrose Park is in a recycling business of sorts. They restore used automotive transmissions and torque converters for reuse “as-new.” By installing a solvent recovery system, they now recycle 35,000 gallons for reuse on-site rather than transporting it for disposal.

What was number two? Maybe better news – process upgrades, optimization, and planning. These achievements eliminate waste before it exists. Here is where sustainable supply chains, sustainable product design, and better packaging open doors to easier recycling and hopes of a circular economy.

The third most prevalent achievement leading to a 2017 Illinois Sustainability Award was community involvement. That brings us back home. These companies value recycling and that is reinforced by employees and their communities. Marion automotive parts maker Aisin Manufacturing Illinois purchased four collection trailers for the Recycle Williamson County program. Caterpillar in Decatur encourages its employees to reduce waste and recycle by donating all recycling proceeds to local charities and agencies, also nominated by those workers.

That’s a Happy America Recycles Day.

Registration Open for Illinois Sustainability Awards Ceremony and Symposium, 10/24/17

Join us in celebrating the recipients of the 2017 Illinois Sustainability Award!  Register now for the Illinois Sustainability Awards Ceremony and Technical Symposium!  Don’t miss the event, held on October 24th at the Union League Club of Chicago, for an excellent opportunity to learn new trends in sustainability and connect with organizations who are on the cutting edge of implementing environmental change.  The morning Technical Symposium will feature keynote Rich Berger, Vice President of Engineering, Food Supply for Clif Bar & Company.  Luncheon keynote is Nancy Liaboe, Director, Global EHS Governance & Product Stewardship, Abbott.  Opportunities for sponsorship and exhibiting may be found at www.istc.illinois.edu/istcawards.

 

View the full agenda at https://www.istc.illinois.edu/cms/One.aspx?portalId=427487&pageId=751338.

 

Registration starts at $50 for the morning session only, $95 for the luncheon only and $130 for all-day admission.  Additional registration opportunities are available for exhibitors and sponsors. Note that the symposium begins at 8:30 AM and the luncheon and awards ceremony begin at 12:00 PM (noon).

 

2017 ISA awards ceremony, 10.24.17, Union League Club of Chicago

Illinois Sustainability Award keynote shows power of green business

With one week left to submit entries for the 2017 Illinois Sustainability Award, ISTC has released the video of one of the 2016 Awards Ceremony’s Keynote Speakers — John Bradburn, Global Waste Reduction Manager at General Motors Corporation.

 

Speakers John Bradburn and Kim Frankovich.
2016 ISA keynote speakers were Kim Frankovich, global sustainability director at Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company (left) and John Bradburn, global waste reduction manager at General Motors Corporation.

Bradburn’s address, “Stuff, Things and People Working to Grow Economies and Communities,” formed a powerful complement to the second keynote by Kim Frankovich, global sustainability director at Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, a subsidiary of Mars, Inc.

 

In her address, “Sustainability within Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company,” Frankovich described the effectiveness of a privately held company to partner with non-governmental and international expert agencies to promote environmental responsibility and social justice for suppliers, workers, and customers.

 

In a more than 30-year career, Bradburn has spearheaded efforts to recycle, upcycle, reduce pollution hazards, and create fundamentally impactful opportunities to advance the prospects for the environment, communities, and his company.

 

Both addresses were inspiring as models for how very different companies can excel in business and in society with creativity and bold action embodied by the Illinois Sustainability Awards. Frankovich’s address will also be made available online as a later date.

 

REMEMBER: Online applications for this year’s Illinois Sustainability Awards are due at ISTC by 5 p.m. Thursday, May 4.

 

2017 ISA awards ceremony, 10.24.17, Union League Club of Chicago

Adding Metrics to your Illinois Sustainability Award Application

graphs and charts with a magnifying glass over the charts to look at metrics and data closerAdding metrics to your Illinois Sustainability Award application allows evaluators to truly see the quantitative or qualitative impacts that your organization, program or technology have achieved. Plus, metrics are important for your own use—to tell your story to stakeholders, to evaluate next steps in your sustainability efforts, and to determine the effectiveness of what you’ve done thus far.

 

Without an understanding of resource use before starting a project, how can you truly understand its impact on your bottom line and resource reduction? A major key to understanding project or program impact is to create a baseline for your project, program or initiative. By creating a baseline, you are creating a road map to tracking the success of an initiative and seeing what resource use looks like before implementing a new program, technology, initiative, or strategy. This is important to tracking the success of your efforts and can even help when asking for more money or resources for future environmental projects or initiatives.

 

There are many different types of tools and calculators that can be used to help create an annual baseline, such as ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager (tracks energy, water, and waste). However, entering use data in a simple Excel spreadsheet can also yield a baseline. Important resources to baseline in your organization or business are energy and water use, waste, chemical use, and purchasing. If you have a fleet, fuel use might also be a good metric to track.

 

Before you start your project, choose an evaluation timeline – how long are you going to track metrics to see if your project was successful? What information would you need to collect? Remember to keep it simple and hone in on exactly which metrics will show reduction in resource use. Throughout the duration of the project, continue to track those metrics, even after the initiative or project has been implemented. Then, take time to analyze the data and see if a change has been made in the resources used.

 

Metrics don’t always need to be quantitative – especially if you are tracking impact of outreach or effect of a program on a particular group of people. Data such as number of people reached with information, or number of people participating in the program can be valuable as well. If you’re working with a group of people, get testimonials on impact of the program in their organization or everyday life. Ask whether the initiative, project or program will, or has already, affected their future success, or if connections outside of the project, program or initiative were made that otherwise would not have occurred.

 

The Sample Application section of the ISTC website can give you an idea of how to enter in data and metrics into our metrics spreadsheet and talk to your team about what per-unit measures you might use in your application. If you have further questions, contact Deb Jacobson or Irene Zlevor for more information via e-mail (at djacobso@illinois.edu or izlevor@illinois.edu) or by phone (630) 472-5016.

 

Remember, applications are due May 4. Start your application now!

 

The Road to a Great Illinois Sustainability Award Application

ground plants like grass and ivery in the shape of a winding path and an image of the gov. sustainability awards plackIf your organization has done a lot in the name of sustainability – from projects that save money and resources to initiatives that strengthen the people and communities you work for – what are you waiting for? The Illinois Sustainability Award provides a great opportunity for you to pull your sustainability work together into a single document: your award application!

 

Because sustainability encompasses the triple bottom line – People, Planet, Profit – it can be tough to wrap one’s brain around all that should be included in your application. Our Apply for the Award page and FAQ’s will help you in that process, but we know that’s a lot to read! Here are three tips to help you cut to the chase, and get started on your application (due May 4).

 

1. Start driving. Get key people on board.

Illinois Sustainability Award applications are typically a team effort, but there is often a single person or small team that drives the process forward. The application drivers can be anyone – from top management to employees who volunteer time on a Green Team. If you’re reading this, you may be the driver!

 

Send a note out to co-workers letting them know you’re preparing an Illinois Sustainability Award application. Here are some key people to get on board early (positions vary by organization):

  • Top Management
  • Facilities/Operations Manager
  • Plant Manager
  • Sustainability Officer/Green Team Lead
  • PR Officer

2. Read these two things. These are your “how to” guides to help you best relay your sustainability successes in your application. Remember, quantifying your actions are just as important as clearly describing them.

 

Narrative Guidelines – You have up to six single-spaced pages to describe your sustainability accomplishments. These guidelines tell you how.

 

Metrics Form Instructions – Download the Metrics Form (Microsoft Excel format) and read the Instructions tab.

 

3. Check out the sample applications.

The sample applications, available on our web site, display best practices from past winners’ applications. Note that a good application typically includes a variety of projects touching on multiple impacts or aspects of sustainability. The project descriptions will also include some detail on how they were conceived and who was involved. We want to hear how your organization went from idea to implementation.

 

4. Check out the Evaluation Criteria

Make sure you’re aware of how your application will be reviewed and include all the points/details from your efforts to address the key attributes we’re seeking. You can find the Evaluation Criteria here: http://www.istc.illinois.edu/info/evaluation.cfm.

 

Even if you are not applying for an Award, you can still be involved at the Awards Ceremony through supporting the event or being an exhibitor. Information on sponsorship levels and benefits can be found on our “Support the Awards” page. We hope you consider supporting this 31-year legacy of environmental excellence!

 

Ready to apply? APPLY NOW!

 

If you still have questions about the process, contact Deb Jacobson or Irene Zlevor for more information via e-mail at djacobso@illinois.edu or izlevor@illinois.edu or by phone (630) 472-5016.

Call for Applications for 2017 Illinois Sustainability Awards Program

The Illinois Sustainability Awards program is the longest running environmental award program in both the state of Illinois and the US as a whole. Since 1987, the Award, administered by the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC), has recognized private and public Illinois organizations which have implemented outstanding and innovative sustainable techniques or technologies, demonstrating a commitment to contributing to our environmental, social and economic health. Applications are currently being accepted for the 2017 awards, and may be submitted online at http://www.istc.illinois.edu/info/howtoapply.cfm. Email and paper submissions will not be accepted. All Illinois businesses and organizations which have implemented sustainable techniques or technologies that reduce or eliminate pollutants, toxicity and other environmental impacts, are encouraged to apply.

 

The deadline to submit applications is close of business (5 PM) on May 4th, 2017.

 

See www.istc.illinois.edu/istcawards for complete submission and eligibility requirements, as well as sample applications and judging criteria. Activities covered in your application must have been completed or have shown substantial progress by December 31, 2016 for consideration for the 2017 awards.

 

Applicant facilities may be visited for verification of reported activities. An organization must be in good standing with environmental laws and regulations to be eligible for an award. Applicants with current or pending violations of environmental laws and regulations from the U.S. EPA or Illinois EPA are not eligible to receive an award.

 

Applications are reviewed by ISTC staff and/or a panel of outside experts beginning in June. In July 2017, semi-finalists will be notified and on-site reviews will begin. Compliance checks occur in July and August, and in September, applicants that have been designated as finalists will be notified.

 

Mark your calendar for October 24, 2017!  Winning organizations will be honored in a ceremony at the Union League Club in Chicago, IL. The program includes a morning technical session, industry-leading keynotes, luncheon and Awards trophy ceremony. Registration for the ceremony will be open in early August.  We hope you can join us for this prestigious event.

 

Information on previous award winners, case studies on award-winning projects, and information on the impacts of the awards are available on the award program web pages. Questions regarding application requirements, general information about the program, or sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities for the ceremony, may be addressed to Debra Jacobson (djacobso@illinois.edu; 630-472-5019) or Irene Zlevor (izlevor@illinois.edu; 630-472-5016).

 

Logo for 2017 IL Sustainability Awards Ceremony