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Conservation effort wins national recognition

Saves Illinois business, government $6 million

CHAMPAIGN — A conservation and pollution prevention program, which has saved more than $6 million for central and southern Illinois communities and businesses, has been awarded a national MVP2 Award by the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable in Washington, D.C.

The Illinois Conservation of Resources and Energy project is part of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center’s Technical Assistance Program. ISTC, a unit of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, provides expertise for energy and water conservation improvements to all of Illinois’ government and industrial sectors.

ICORE focuses those benefits on populations in small, rural communities in parts of the state which have had little access to such programs.

The MVP2 Award, the third received by ISTC, will be awarded on Sept. 19 at the NPPR headquarters in Washington.

During the program’s first four years, ICORE provided on-site expertise to seven communities and 51 businesses with matching funds from ISTC and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The project is in its fifth year with funding allocated for next year.

In addition to the environmental benefits of improving the efficiency of water usage, wastewater generation, energy consumption and carbon emissions, the ICORE program showed a return on investment of between $6 and $9 per dollar spent over the four years through conserving resources and reducing wastes.

Cost savings were derived from reducing energy by 49 million kilowatt hours, water by 54 million gallons, non-hazardous wastes by almost 7 million pounds and hazardous materials by more than 108,000 pounds.

The project also recorded reductions in carbon dioxide emissions of more than 97 million pounds over the four years.

ISTC environmental engineers Dan Marsch and Mike Springman were credited with the success of the high-performing project by ICORE’s principal investigator Debra Jacobson.

“Mike and Dan are two extremely dedicated professionals who genuinely want to help companies achieve measurable results,” Jacobson said.

The two engineers operate from offices in Peoria and Godfrey, where they have become well known among business owners and local government leaders. With each successful direct contact they build relationships and earn trust in the region, she added.

ISTC partners with clients on a wide range of sustainability issues including pilot testing and evaluation of advanced manufacturing technologies, compliance assistance, supply chain optimization, and by-product re-use.

“We are proud of this project and the benefits it has brought to the people of Illinois,” said David Thomas, ISTC Interim Director. “ICORE is a model of proven value that could work just about anywhere in the U.S. It extends the value of Green Industry to even the smallest business enterprises.”

In 2008, ISTC won a MPV2 Awards for its partnership with the Illinois fabricated machinery and metal products (M&MP) sector to help industries extend the life of metal working fluids to save money and help the environment.

In 2011, ISTC’s  received the honor for its Sustainable Electronic Initiative dedicated to the development and implementation of a more sustainable system for designing, producing, reusing, remanufacturing, and recycling electronic devices.

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