In the News


10th Annual Emerald Award Winners Announced

USGBC-Illinois will acknowledge several outstanding leaders and stand-out buildings that have helped to position Illinois as a national leader in sustainability. The annual Emerald Awards ceremony will be held May 14th at the Museum of Broadcast Communications at USGBC-Illinois' annual event, Limelight.  

The Emerald Awards program is a showcase of the best and brightest contributors to a more sustainable built environment by recognizing outstanding individuals, organizations, projects, and technologies implemented across Illinois.

The 10th annual Emerald Award winners include:

Colin Rohlfing, Vice President and Sustainable Design Leader in HOK's Chicago office, will be honored with the Intent to Matter: Individual Leadership award for his outstanding career to promote unique industry collaborations that move sustainable practices forward and transform our built environment.

Niles Township High School District 219 will be recognized with the Intent to Matter: Outstanding Organization award for their comprehensive plan to leverage green infrastructure to supercharge the achievement of every student and ensure the next generation of eco-conscious citizens. The district works to reduce its environmental footprint, and inspires its students, staff, and community to become active participants in doing so.

Method will receive a Green Building Innovation award for the industry's first LEED Platinum manufacturing facility in the historic Pullman community. The facility exudes the company's core mission and its commitment to the environment and sustainability.

University of Chicago's Child Development Center in Stony Island will be recognized with a Green Building Innovation award. The Center beautifully immerses the children with the natural world providing exciting opportunities for discovery and sensory development while emphasizing the natural landscape over the built one.

Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy will be acknowledged with a Green Building Innovation award for the design team's remarkable efforts to bring the first LEED Platinum rating to Chicago Public Schools. The project's innovative water use and management, passive solar systems and health-focused student environment set a high sustainability bar for K-12 schools.

Space to Grow: Greening Chicago's Schoolyards will receive the Chapter Mission award recognizing the impact collaborations can have in building better, brighter and healthier spaces to live, learn and work. This diverse coalition of organizations is transforming Chicago schoolyards into spaces that provide students and their community with opportunities for active play, outdoor learning, environmental literacy and engagement with art, while addressing neighborhood flooding issues.

Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy

Earlier this year, Illinois was recently recognized as the state with the most LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) square footage per capita for the second year in a row. The distinction places Illinois at the forefront in the movement for sustainable building design, construction and operation.

"This year, the outstanding achievements in sustainable leadership being recognized underscore why Illinois is leading the nation in green building innovation," said Brian Imus, USGBC-Illinois Executive Director. "We applaud their efforts to help make our buildings and communities more sustainable, prosperous and healthy."
The public is invited to celebrate these sustainability leaders at Limelight on May 14, 2015 at the Museum of Broadcast Communications at 360 North State Street, Chicago. Tickets to the event and presentation of the Emerald Awards are available online. For more information regarding Limelight, contact Joan Martin at (312) 245-8300 x205 or visit

OCTOBER 11, 2014
On Saturday, October 11, 2014, 47 volunteers from District 219 performed a combined 140 hours of natural areas restoration work at three sites throughout the North Branch of the Chicago River. The sites were Linne Woods, Somme Prairie Nature Preserve, and Watersmeet Prairie Grove. Work included brush-cutting, seed collecting, and seed dispersal. All three are important to improving the quality of our natural areas. Thank you to all who made this event possible!



Water Bottle Filling Stations update October 17, 2013
Buildings & Grounds is pleased to share with you that over the past three years, thanks to GCSI's investment in the bottle filling stations, Niles West High School has saved 670,000 plastic water bottles from going to landfills

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In October, 2011, the Niles North Recycling Club recycled 8,871.77 pounds of paper (4.44 tons) & saved 13.85 cubic yards of landfill space! Way to go!

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