York High School students win big with green building projects at county event

Winners of Sustainable Design Challenge to be recognized May 9

green building
York Community High School sophomores Maddie Wiygul, Patrick Resing, Dylan Pozek and Clay Letourneau speak with County Board member Sean Noonan (from Elmhurst) about their project on display at the 2017 Sustainable Design Challenge. Judging took place at the DuPage County Building on April 3. Winners will be awarded at the May 9th meeting of the DuPage County Board, which begins at 7 p.m. (Photo provided by District 205)

Students from several DuPage County high schools displayed their green building projects to the public April 4 at the 11th annual Sustainable Design Challenge at DuPage County’s Administration Building in Wheaton – and York High School students took home four of the six awards from the challenge.

Sponsored by DuPage County Stormwater Management, SCARCE coordinates the event each year to encourage local schools to explore sustainable building and landscaping topics with students. Participating high schools also included Wheaton Warrenville South, Glenbard East (Lombard), Lake Park (Roselle) and Hinsdale South (Darien).

York’s winners were:

Siva Sreedhar and Cate Ayers (photo provided by SCARCE)

• Honorable Mention for Overall LEED Design to Annalise Soldano, Mollie Grasse, Evan Haug and Nick Soldano

• Best Stormwater Design to Jack Chlystek and Gavin Vandenberg

• Best Energy Efficiency Design to Cate Ayers and Siva Sreedhar

• Honorable Mention for Energy Efficiency Design to Leena Lukose and Abigail Ross

“We look forward to the Sustainable Design Challenge every year at the County,” said County Board Chairman Dan Cronin. “It’s a breath of fresh air to see the building filled with students who have turned their ideas into innovative and advanced building designs. I continue to be impressed year after year.”

Judging the designs

Nearly 30 student groups presented models of their green building designs to a panel of judges, as well as the public, County Board members, local professionals and County and municipal staff.

“It’s a breath of fresh air to see the building filled with students who have turned their ideas into innovative and advanced building designs. I continue to be impressed year after year.”

Students explained the design elements that made their building sustainable, including renewable energy sources such as solar panels and wind turbines, water conservation elements using native plant landscaping and rain barrels and green infrastructure for stormwater management.

The DuPage County Board will recognize the top designs at the May 9 meeting.

“We introduced the element of competition by judging projects last year, and, from what I’ve seen, it has really prompted students to elevate the quality of their designs,” said Stormwater Management Planning Committee Chairman Jim Zay. “They’re bringing professionalism and ingenuity to their projects and I look forward to recognizing the top designs along with the rest of the County Board.”

Real world and STEM
Jack Chlystek and Gavin Vandenberg (photo provided by SCARCE)

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.

“It has been a long time coming, but STEM curriculum has finally become a staple in schools,” said McKeen. “Students can actually take the principles learned in the classroom and apply them to real world scenarios.”

During the event, students also toured 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, visit https://www.scarce.org/event/sustainable-design-challenge2017/.