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The County of DuPage
Wheaton, Illinois

Press Release

Contact Information: Mary Mitros (630) 407-6706

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

DuPage County, SCARCE Hold 11th Annual Sustainable Design Challenge

Students from several DuPage County high schools displayed their green building projects to the public at the 11th annual Sustainable Design Challenge on Tuesday, held at DuPage County’s Administration Building in Wheaton.

Sponsored by DuPage County Stormwater Management, SCARCE coordinates the event each year to encourage local schools to explore sustainable building and landscaping topics with students. Participating high schools included Wheaton Warrenville South, York Community (Elmhurst), Glenbard East (Lombard), Lake Park (Roselle) and Hinsdale South (Darien).

“We look forward to the Sustainable Design Challenge every year at the County,” said County Board Chairman Dan Cronin. “It’s a breath of fresh air to see the building filled with students who have turned their ideas into innovative and advanced building designs. I continue to be impressed year after year.”

Nearly 30 student groups presented models of their designs to a panel of judges, as well as the public, County Board members, local professionals and County and municipal staff. Students explained the design elements that made their building sustainable, including renewable energy sources such as solar panels and wind turbines, water conservation elements using native plant landscaping and rain barrels and green infrastructure for stormwater management. The DuPage County Board will award the top designs at the May 9 meeting.

“We introduced the element of competition by judging projects last year, and, from what I’ve seen, it has really prompted students to elevate the quality of their designs,” said Stormwater Management Planning Committee Chairman Jim Zay. “They’re bringing professionalism and ingenuity to their projects and I look forward to recognizing the top designs along with the rest of the County Board.”

Kay McKeen, founder and executive director of SCARCE, credits much of the popularity of this event to schools advancing science, technology, mathematics and engineering (STEM) education.

“It has been a long time coming, but STEM curriculum has finally become a staple in schools,” said McKeen. “Students can actually take the principles learned in the classroom and apply them to real world scenarios.”

During the event, students also toured sustainable practices throughout DuPage County’s campus, including a green roof, rain garden and restored wetland, as well as several sustainable building features at the DuPage Health Department’s Community Center.

For more information about the Sustainable Design Challenge and past projects, please visit