LINCOLNSHIRE – Governor Pat Quinn today recognized Illinois’ Green Ribbon Schools and urged others to follow in their example of sustainability. The state’s prestigious award honors schools that lead the way in reducing environmental impact and costs; improving the health and wellness of students and staff; and providing effective environmental and sustainability education. Today’s announcement was made at the annual the Illinois Healthy & High Performing Schools Symposium and is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to ensure a clean and healthy environment for future generations.
“This prestigious honor and today’s symposium not only recognize those who are leaders in sustainability, but teaches others how they can do their part,” Governor Quinn said. “Illinois strives to be number one in sustainability and we want to increase awareness and make sure that everyone does their part towards a green, healthy future.”
Next week the U.S. Department of Education will present schools across the country with the national Green Ribbon award. Illinois’ three state Green Ribbon Award winners are competing for the national award. They are: Woodland Primary School in Gages Lake; Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School in Oak Lawn; and Evanston Skokie School District 65 in Evanston. For more information visit isbe.net/green_ribbon.
The Quinn administration honored Illinois’ winners today at the Illinois Healthy & High Performing Schools Symposium, a joint venture between the Green Government Coordinating Council (GGCC) and the United States Green Building Council Illinois Chapter (USGBC-Illinois). The symposium took place at the Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, which is committed to reducing its impact on the environment by recycling more than half of all waste, composting organic materials, installing photovoltaic panels on the roof and other sustainable practices.
The symposium was headlined by Institute for the Built Environment Executive Director Brian Dunbar, an expert in sustainable building, design and construction. It included workshops, exhibits, breakout sessions and more, designed to help students, teachers, parents and their communities learn how to protect the environment. Governor Quinn’s Sustainability Director, Eric Heineman, addressed the symposium and honored the schools.
The GGCC, which is chaired by Governor Quinn, is tasked with integrating long-term sustainable systems into state operations for the purposes of conserving water, enhancing health and safety, reducing waste, minimizing emissions and other creative and cost-efficient solutions.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Green Building Council ranked Illinois number one among all 50 states in the sustainable building design movement. Illinois has more than 29 million square feet of certified green buildings, or 2.29 square feet for every resident. More than 20,000 projects representing 2.9 billion square feet of space have been LEED-certified worldwide, with another 37,000 projects representing 7.6 billion square feet in the pipeline for certification.
“Illinois’ national ranking is due to the robust network of businesses making green buildings a priority,” USGBC-Illinois Executive Director Brian Imus said. “The sustainable schools symposium, with so many businesses, non-profits and educators participating, underscores exactly how Illinois became a national leader in sustainability.”
The U.S. Green Building Council is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. Their LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction, maintenance and operations of green buildings. More than 57,000 commercial and institutional projects are currently participating in LEED, comprising 10.5 billion square feet of construction space in 147 countries and territories. In addition, more than 50,000 residential units have been certified under the LEED for Homes rating system. Learn more at usgbc.org/LEED.
For more information on Earth Month, please visit Illinois.gov/EarthMonth.