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The County of DuPage
Wheaton, Illinois

Press Release

Contact Information: Mary Mitros (630) 407-6706

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

DuPage County, SCARCE Hold 13th Annual Sustainable Design Challenge

Students from several DuPage County high schools displayed their green building projects to the public at the 13th annual Sustainable Design Challenge on Tuesday, held at DuPage County’s Administration Building in Wheaton.

Sponsored by DuPage County Stormwater Management, SCARCE coordinates the annual event, which encourages students to construct building and landscape models using environmentally and water-friendly design practices. Participating high schools included Wheaton Warrenville South, York Community (Elmhurst), Glenbard East (Lombard), Metea Valley (Aurora), Waubonsie Valley (Aurora), Addison Trail, Hinsdale South and Hinsdale Central.

“This year we saw the highest number of high schools register for the Sustainable Design Challenge than any year in the past,” said DuPage County Stormwater Management Committee Chairman Jim Zay. “This proves how important this learning opportunity is for our local high schools and for County staff and elected officials who talk to the student presenters.”

More than 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 discussed the design elements that made their building sustainable, including renewable energy sources such as solar panels and wind turbines and water conservation elements such as native plant landscaping, rain barrels and other green infrastructure for stormwater management. The DuPage County Board will recognize the top designs at an upcoming meeting.

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.

“We have great local teachers who encourage the students to pursue STEM fields, both in and out of the classroom,” said McKeen. “They get the students excited about it, and this event wouldn’t be as successful without them.”

During the event, students also learned about 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