Sustainability

Sustainable DuPage

INCENTIVES, INFORMATION, AND OTHER RESOURCES FOR RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS PRACTICES

When a company makes sustainable choices, it’s a win-win. Not only do these practices help preserve our natural resources and mitigate environmental damage; they also have a positive impact on the business, improving its brand image, increasing productivity, reducing costs, and uplifting the surrounding community. What keeps our environment healthy also keeps our businesses strong.

As the first county in Illinois to win the Governor’s Sustainability Award, DuPage has a rich history of environmental stewardship, with communities and businesses across the region making sustainable choices for our natural world, our economy and our livelihood.

Now, as even more organizations make it part of their mission to practice sustainability, Choose DuPage has partnered with the DuPage County Environmental Division to connect local leaders to resources that promote sustainable practices.

Click or tap an item below to learn more.

 

Resources

In honor of Earth Month 2022 (April), Choose DuPage and the DuPage County Environmental Division have partnered to host a series of sustainability-focused lunch & learns.

Featuring fresh topics and guest speakers every Thursday in April, this series covers topics at the intersection of business, economic development, life, and sustainability, while focusing on the DuPage region. By bringing together local thought-leaders and influential members of the community, we hope to spark new connections and fresh thinking as we all work toward a brighter future—for our planet and for DuPage.

View upcoming events here. 

Download presentations from the April 7th event, The Importance of Sustainability in Business, using the links below: 

View a recording of the April 14th event, Sustainability in Commercial Construction. 

View a recording of the April 21st event, Recognition in Sustainability.

View a recording of the April 28th event, Incentives & Resources for Sustainable Development

DuPage County is committed to reducing its impact on the environment. The DuPage County Environmental Division works to inform the public about environmental issues impacting their health, well-being and safety and provide recycling opportunities to both residents and businesses. Read more information about sustainability in DuPage here

DuPage County invites residents, businesses and government agencies to join the Cool DuPage effort to reduce energy consumption. By working together, we can help DuPage County reduce greenhouse gases through big and small changes.

In 2012, DuPage County approved the Cool Counties Initiative as a way of accepting new environmental challenges. The Cool Counties plan set goals of reducing greenhouse gases from 2007 levels by 10 percent by the year 2020 and by 20 percent by 2030. To move these goals forward, the County brought together the DuPage Green Government Council (GGC). An entity comprised of utility and energy efficiency experts and community members to draft this plan of action. This project will continue to put the County at the forefront of saving energy through the continued pursuit of newer technologies.

Learn more about Cool DuPage

The ComEd Energy Efficiency Program offers incentives to help businesses and facilities reduce energy use by improving the efficiency of their equipment. Click here for a list of all incentives. Click here for a list of ComEd Standard Incentives

Apply online at ComEdportal.anbetrack.com/Standard.

ComEd offers a Distributed Generation (DG) Rebate program to help businesses offset the out-of-pocket costs of installing a qualified renewable energy generating system. The DG Rebate program is available to ComEd commercial and industrial customers that take net metering service as well as community supply projects.

Learn more about the DG Rebate Program.

Nicor Gas provides the education, resources and financial rebates you need to make energy use in your facility more efficient and affordable. Smart businesses have an energy strategy that reduces overhead and boost profits.

Learn about ways to save.

Property Assessed Clean Energy financing is an innovative tool that provides low-cost, long-term funding for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation projects in commercial buildings.

Commercial property owners can obtain 100% upfront financing from private capital providers for up to 30 years for improvements such as HVAC, lighting, and solar photovoltaic systems in both existing building and new construction projects. Funding is secured by a special assessment lien on the property and is repaid as a line item on the property tax bill.

Learn more about PACE.

Programs for renewable energy and energy efficiency exist across the state of Illinois across a range of technology types and are available for utility-scale, commercial, and residential customers. Businesses can use the DSIRE database to find programs available to them.

Visit the DSIRE Database.

The Green Building Incentive Program enables private sector developers or property owners who implement green design standards into their projects to receive the following incentives:

  • Expedited building permit review (25%-time reduction)
  • Expedited storm water review for both incorporated and unincorporated projects (25%-time reduction)
  • Reduction of building permit, zoning and plat application fees (10% fee reduction)
  • Expedited zoning (ZBA) and plat process.

All types of construction and development projects that meet the USGBC criteria for Platinum or Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification would qualify for the incentives.

Learn more about the DuPage County Green Building Incentive Program.

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center’s Technical Assistance Program (TAP) is offering free sustainability assessments for eligible Illinois manufacturers, processing facilities, their direct suppliers and supporting industries.

TAP’s sustainability assessment can reduce your business costs, energy costs, water consumption, wastewater generation, hazardous materials, and emissions.

Learn more about TAP assessments

The 179D commercial buildings energy efficiency tax deduction primarily enables building owners to claim a tax deduction for installing qualifying systems in buildings. Tenants may be eligible if they make construction expenditures. If the system or building is installed on federal, state, or local government property, the 179D tax deduction may be taken by the person primarily responsible for the system’s design. The 179D tax deduction does not apply to other non-tax paying entities, including but not limited to NGOs or churches, unless there exists an energy-as-a-service agreement that is owned by a tax paying company.

Learn more about the 179D Commercial Buildings Energy-Efficiency Tax Deduction.

 

Product Certifications

Products that have achieved GREENGUARD Certification are scientifically proven to meet some of the world’s most rigorous third-party chemical emissions standards, helping to reduce indoor air pollution and the risk of chemical exposure.

The UL GREENGUARD Certification Program has established test methods and emission limits for building materials, furniture and furnishings, electronic equipment, cleaning and maintenance products, and medical devices for breathing gas pathways.

Learn more about UL GREENGUARD Certification.

Green Seal certification is a process that ensures that a product or service meets the rigorous performance, health, and environmental criteria in Green Seal’s environmental leadership standards.

Learn more about Green Seal Certification.

The EPEAT ecolabel is the leading global Type 1 ecolabel covering products and services from the technology sector. It identifies more products from a broader range of manufacturers than any other comparable ecolabel.

Products currently meeting EPEAT criteria, known as “active” EPEAT-registered products, are listed on their Registry. Purchasers can then search for products based on product category, manufacturer, where the product is expected to be used or by EPEAT rating.

Learn more about the EPEAT Ecolabel.

GreenScreen Certified™ products are independent non-profit certified, free of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) and thousands of other chemicals of concern. GreenScreen Certified products promote the use of preferred chemistry by using the globally recognized GreenScreen® for Safer Chemicals suite of tools. 

Learn more about GreenScreen Certification.

 

Certifications & Awards

B Corp Certification is a designation that a business is meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials.

Learn more about B Corp Certification.

ENERGY STAR® is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, providing simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed decisions.

Learn more about ENERGY STAR for Products.

Learn more about ENERGY STAR for Buildings.

Learn more about ENERGY STAR for Industrial Plants.

Green C Certification recognizes organizations for being in compliance with industry and government standards for environmental sustainability, as well as promoting environmentally responsible products and practices and helping to create a “culture of Green” within their industry.

Learn more about Green C Certification.

The purpose of the GRA standards is to provide a transparent way to measure each restaurant’s environmental accomplishments while providing a pathway for the next steps each restaurant can take towards increased environmental sustainability.

Learn more about Green Restaurant Certification.

We Compost is a FREE recognition program that promotes businesses and institutions that participate in a compost program. Our goals are to highlight entities that compost and encourage more people to patronize businesses that are managing their food scraps responsibly.

Learn more about We Compost.

The Illinois Green Business Certification program is a verifiable framework that helps businesses determine best green practice opportunities to save money, reduce waste, and increase efficiency. 

While the Green Business Certification program touches on some building attributes, it focuses on opportunities inside the building – the operations of the business. The program is designed to identify savings, engage staff in green practices, and increase operational efficiency – helping your business keep more money in its pockets every day. 

The UL waste diversion validation program focuses on monitoring and measuring material flows that are not part of an organization’s final product. UL offers four landfill waste diversion claim validations to recognize companies that handle waste in environmentally responsible and innovative ways — from energy production via incineration to reuse, recycling and composting. Materials that are not diverted are considered disposed and go to the landfill or incineration without energy recovery.

UL requires at least 90 percent diversion through methods other than waste to energy to achieve Zero Waste to Landfill (Silver 90-94 percent, Gold 95-99 percent and Platinum 100 platinum) designations.

Learn more about UL Landfill Waste Diversion Validation.

UL 880 is a comprehensive enterprise-level sustainability standard and certification program and helps companies measure their sustainability activities and assess how much their sustainability objectives and performance have become part of their overall enterprise goals, business, and functions.

Learn more about UL 880.

TRUE certified spaces are environmentally responsible, more resource efficient and help turn waste into savings and additional income streams. Certification is available for any physical facility and their operations, including buildings owned by businesses, property managers, schools, government agencies and nonprofits. 

Learn more about TRUE Program for Zero Waste Certification.

LEED is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. LEED provides a framework for healthy, efficient, carbon and cost-saving green buildings. LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement and leadership.

To achieve LEED certification, a project earns points by adhering to prerequisites and credits that address carbon, energy, water, waste, transportation, materials, health, and indoor environmental quality. Projects go through a verification and review process by GBCI and are awarded points that correspond to a level of LEED certification: Certified (40-49 points), Silver (50-59 points), Gold (60-79 points) and Platinum (80+ points).

Learn more about LEED Certification.

Green Shield CertifiedSM offers certification and evaluation services for pest management professionals, services and public buildings that are dedicated to effective pest management practices with the least risk to people and the environment.

Green Shield Certified is an independent, award-winning, third-party certification program.

Learn more about Green Shield Certification.

Show your dedication to protecting the environment by earning a SCARCE Earth Flag, Ecology Flag, and/or Water Quality Flag.

Earth Flag Requirements

  • Host an employee training session
  • Complete a Green Audit
  • Sponsor a waste or energy reduction activity
  • Implement a comprehensive recycling program
  • Participate in a community event that benefits the environment
  • Create a Powerpoint presentation with photos to document your actions
  • Learn more

Ecology Flag Requirements

  • Earn an Earth Flag
  • Create a program that conserves resources or reduces pollution on a large scale
  • Host an employee training session
  • Create a power point with photos to document your actions
  • Learn more

Water Quality Flag Requirements

  • Host an employee training session
  • Install a rain barrel at your building
  • Participate in two activities that improve water quality
  • Create a power point with photos to document your actions
  • Learn More

Learn more about SCARCE here.

SEDAC is recruiting businesses of all sizes and organizations (public sector, NPOs, etc.) to participate in the Illinois Green Business Certification Program. Becoming a green business is easy – there are three key steps to being certified: Assess performance, implement your custom action plan and confirm progress. Businesses who participate in the program reduce operating costs, attract new customers, reduce environmental impact, engage employees and are able to promote themselves as an environmental leader in their community. As part of the green business certification process, SEDAC will help participants measure their impact on the environment and take steps to reduce that impact, providing support to help organizations reach program recognition. Click here for more information.