The Limelight and the Emerald Awards Reception has been rescheduled to October 7, 2021. By rescheduling, we will be able to ensure an amazing celebration recognizing Illinois’ latest achievements in green building design, technology, and innovation.

More information about the 2021 Awards program is coming soon.

Consider demonstrating your commitment to green buildings by sponsoring Illinois Green Alliance’s work to promote green buildings and sustainable communities for all.

Learn more about how to support this event through sponsorship.

2020 Emerald Award Winners

Samantha Bingham

Emerald Award for Individual Leadership

Samantha Bingham, the City of Chicago’s Clean Transportation Program Director, has been honored with the Emerald Award for Individual Leadership. Sam’s impact in advancing cleaner fuels and new technologies is fact across the region as the Chicago Area Clean Cities Coalition (CACC), a U.S. DOE designated coalition. In her role as the CACC Coordinator, Sam works with vehicle fleets, fuel providers, community leaders, and other stakeholders to save energy and promote the use of domestic fuels and advanced vehicle technologies in transportation across the six-county Chicagoland region. She sought funding and developed the incentive programs that successfully encouraged additional investments and policy changes for further deployments of alternative fuel and electric vehicles and fueling infrastructure throughout the Chicagoland region.


Howard Learner

Emerald Award for Organizational Leadership

Howard Learner, Executive Director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center, has been recognized for the organization’s decades-long achievement in advancing meaningful sustainability policy in Illinois and across the Midwest. Under Howard’s leadership, ELPC has been a leader in the Illinois community ranging from advocating and implementing the first utility energy efficiency programs to passing the first Illinois RPS, driving solar and wind policy in the early acceleration days, to energy efficient green building codes in Cook County, Chicago and the State of Illinois to thought leadership on accelerating and growing Illinois’ green economy.


Chicago Housing Authority Altgeld Resource Center

Emerald Award for Community Impact

The Chicago Housing Authority’s Altgeld Family Resource Center was recognized with the Emerald Award for Community Impact. The KOO designed building targets a LEED Gold rating and provides space for a childcare center, community center, and a full-service Chicago Public Library within a dramatic, undulating brick facade. The building is located in a community where the nearest police station is five miles away, the nearest full-service grocery is four miles away, and the closest full-service public library is about three miles away. Remediation was critical for a development that for years was known as the “toxic doughnut” due to being surrounded by 50 landfills and 382 industrial facilities, including the Acme Steel Plant. The building achieves nearly 70% energy savings over baseline through a combination of passive and active strategies.


Pepper Construction’s Net Zero Trailer

Emerald Award for Green Innovation

With a zero carbon footprint, the trailer is clad in cement fiber panels which reduce heat absorption. To further increase energy efficiency and eliminate temperature swings, the envelope features a robust thermal barrier with double the insulation values in a conventional Class A office building. Atop the structure, 27 photovoltaic panels produce all the electricity needed to power the trailer for a full workday from just four hours of sunlight.