Celebrating movers & shakers in green building

Our Annual Limelight Gala & Emerald Awards Ceremony is the largest annual gathering of sustainability professionals in Illinois. The 2023 event is November 14 at the Old Post Office — don't miss it!

Earn recognition in front of hundreds of sustainability professionals

Start the conversation about event sponsorship today. Contact Maggie Olson - Communications & Development Manager - molson@illinoisgreenalliance.org

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Limelight + Getting to Zero Summit 2022

Illinois Green Alliance Emerald Awards

The Illinois Green Alliance Emerald Awards, launched in 2008, recognizes outstanding individual or organizational achievement helping to put Illinois a path to 100% net zero buildings by 2050.

Each year awardees are determined by the Illinois Green Alliance governing board and honor the industry influencers, advocates, and thought leadership advancing net zero design, technology, and policy.

if you'd like to suggest a potential awardee our Board of Directors should consider, fill out the contact form.

Awardee suggestions can be made at any time of the year. Awardees are selected by September 1 and recognized at our Emerald Awards Ceremony in October.

Have a recommendation for consideration?

Submit the green building leader, company, or organization here:

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2022 Emerald Award Recipient

Park District of Oak Park

The Park District of Oak Park will be honored this year as the Organizational Emerald Award.  Since 2014, the Park District has prioritized investment in a holistic approach to sustainability that involves waste reduction, energy efficiency, clean energy, and water conservation and reuse. The Park District’s sustainability actions are saving over $200,000 by reducing their energy and water.

Most recently, the Park District’s Carroll Center became the second verified net zero facility in all of Illinois. The Carroll Center was constructed using Passive House design principles, which are used to attain a quantifiable and rigorous level of energy efficiency, including superinsulation and airtight construction along with continuous ventilation to achieve a comfortable building temperature year-round. The building not only generates more energy than it uses, but offsets all the energy for the entire park site.

Also, they are currently halfway through construction on a 40,000 sq. ft. community recreation center that is all electric and will be net zero. This leadership demonstrates the feasibility and affordability of building decarbonization and the role Illinois municipalities can play in scaling net zero design and construction.

2022 Emerald Award Recipient

Lesley Showers

Executive Director, Institute of Cultural Affairs

Lesley Showers, this year’s Path to Zero Hero honoree for individual leadership, currently serves as the Executive Director of the Institute of Cultural Affairs and has spent more than a decade leading the restoration of GreenRise, the organization’s headquarters and a historic 1921 Chicago Landmark in the Uptown neighborhood.

The building not only houses 19 nonprofits and social service agencies, making it the largest nonprofit social service center in the Midwest, Ms. Showers has turned the building into a living laboratory to inspire action across the region. Building on lessons learned, she is now working to share her experience to reduce the energy burden of nonprofits and affordable housing buildings. 

Ms. Showers has proven a truly passionate leader for climate action by volunteering her time to educate the broader green building industry, speaking at conferences and serving as a board member of the Phius Alliance Chicago Chapter.

See past Emerald Award Winners: 2022 | 2021

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