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Local students show resilience in virtual Sustainable Design Challenge

May 14 2020

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In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Sustainable Design Challenge went virtual. Typically taking place in-person each April, the Sustainable Design Challenge asks students to construct building and landscape models using environmentally friendly design practices. Local professionals in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields serve as judges during the event, evaluating the students’ designs, presentations and innovation. Students also get to learn about sustainable infrastructure on the DuPage County Campus and tour a LEED-spec building. 

This year, student teams submitted video presentations of their designs and all judging took place remotely online. Our partners at DuPage County Stormwater Management created video content to share of the sustainable features that students would typically see in person at the event. Wight & Company, a longtime active sponsor, hosted a live webinar so that students could get a virtual tour of a local sustainable building. 

In the end, ten teams from five different high schools submitted entries. All of the participants this year share a sustainable design principle in common: resilience. The ability to adapt to challenging circumstances and thrive. We are excited to share this year’s winners and would like to extend congratulations to all the teams that submitted projects.

Winners are awarded cash prizes of up to $500 thanks to our business sponsors: Wight & Company, Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Hey and Associates Inc, and the AIA Northeast Illinois.

Overall LEED Design winner: Helios
Adrian Zhuang, Rose Menichini, Serena Jobi, and Stephanie Yang
York Community High School, Elmhurst
Sponsoring teacher: Bob Blaus

The Helios Concert Hall is constructed on previously developed land next to a park in Elmhurst. The building features a concentrated solar power system and solar thermal tiles, among many other energy conserving features. The facility incentivizes sustainable transportation with a point system for visitors if they bike or take public transit. The property features native plants to absorb and filter rainwater all around including in the two green roofs and a large bioswale that serves as a buffer between the parking lot and the adjacent Salt Creek.

Helios Concert Hall. Submitted by Adrian Zhuang, Rose Menichini, Serena Jobi, and Stephanie Yang of York Community High School.
Helios Concert Hall. Submitted by Adrian Zhuang, Rose Menichini, Serena Jobi, and Stephanie Yang of York Community High School.
Helios Concert Hall. Submitted by Adrian Zhuang, Rose Menichini, Serena Jobi, and Stephanie Yang of York Community High School.
Helios Concert Hall. Submitted by Adrian Zhuang, Rose Menichini, Serena Jobi, and Stephanie Yang of York Community High School.

Best Stormwater Design: Mean Green Designing Team
Liam Felice, Paul Nicoli, and Avi Clancy
York Community High School, Elmhurst
Sponsoring teacher: Bob Blaus

The Eco-Oasis is a rest stop constructed on previously excavated land along Interstate 80. A large portion of the building is a bridge across the highway to reduce the amount of land disturbed. Much of the paved area is covered with permeable pavers. The roof is angled just enough to direct stormwater to the two large green roof segments. Excess water is directed to rain barrels and bioswales planted with native plants.

The Eco-Oasis. Submitted by Liam Felice, Paul Nicoli, and Avi Clancy, York Community High School.
The Eco-Oasis. Submitted by Liam Felice, Paul Nicoli, Avi Clancy, York Community High School.
The Eco-Oasis. Submitted by Liam Felice, Paul Nicoli, Avi Clancy, York Community High School.
The Eco-Oasis. Submitted by Liam Felice, Paul Nicoli, Avi Clancy, York Community High School.
The Eco-Oasis. Submitted by Liam Felice, Paul Nicoli, Avi Clancy, York Community High School.

Best Energy Efficiency Design: Masreyrod
Tanya Masnyk, Maggie Breyne, and Brigette Penrod
St. Francis High School, Wheaton
Sponsoring teacher: independent

Masreyrod Apartments feature solar panels, a rainwater cooling system, energy generating exercise equipment, and a points program with a smart phone tracking app to incentivize residents to save energy. The building’s large windows take advantage of natural light while reflecting the heat of the sun and keeping heat inside in the winter.

Masreyrod Apartments. Submitted by Tanya Masnyk, Maggie Breyne, and Brigette Penrod, St. Francis High School.

Masreyrod Apartments feature solar panels, a rainwater cooling system and a points program to incentivize residents to save energy.
Masreyrod Apartments feature solar panels, a rainwater cooling system and a points program to incentivize residents to save energy.
Masreyrod Apartments feature solar panels, a rainwater cooling system and a points program to incentivize residents to save energy.
Masreyrod Apartments feature solar panels, a rainwater cooling system and a points program to incentivize residents to save energy.

Browse the gallery of all project entries below.

Thank you to our 2020 business sponsors:

The Sustainable Design Challenge is a program of:

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