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News Releases from Region 05

Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Regional HUD Office in Chicago Receive EPA Federal Green Challenge Awards

Federal agency winners in Illinois save taxpayers’ money, promote efficiency

Contact Information: 
Francisco Arcaute (
312-886-7613, 312-898-2042 cell

For Immediate Release No. 19-OPA062

Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Regional HUD Office in Chicago Receive EPA Federal Green Challenge Awards

Federal agency winners in Illinois save taxpayers’ money, promote efficiency

CHICAGO (August 21, 2019) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 (EPA) announced that that Argonne National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary science and engineering research center located in Lemont, Ill., and the Chicago regional office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have won regional Federal Green Challenge awards for conserving resources and saving taxpayers’ money. EPA’s Federal Green Challenge encourages federal agencies to lead by example in reducing the federal government's environmental impact.

“EPA is recognizing facilities across the federal government for their leadership in improving waste management, conserving water, and other important efforts to improve environmental outcomes,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Their accomplishments not only reduce the federal government’s impact on the environment but also save taxpayers millions of dollars.”

Known for cutting-edge research, Argonne National Laboratory scored high with increases in multiple areas including the amount of stormwater captured, telework usage, and waste recycling. HUD’s Chicago regional office won a Federal Green Challenge Award for reducing the amount of printer and copier paper purchased by 7%.

“Congratulations to Argonne National Laboratory and to HUD’s Chicago office for their stellar efforts to protect both the environment – and taxpayers’ dollars,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Cathy Stepp.

“Argonne has a long history of environmental stewardship and sustainability achievements,” said Catherine N. Hurley, Argonne’s sustainability program manager. “We are pleased to receive recognition from the Federal Green Challenge for our teamwork and everyday actions that have led to measurable impact at the laboratory. Argonne continues providing sustainability leadership by reducing our local environmental impact and continuing world-class research to support sustainable energy, economic health and national security.”

Argonne is being recognized for the following achievements: 

  • Water – a 16% increase in the amount of stormwater captured by converting 3.5 acres from turf grass to prairie grasses and improving the measurement of stormwater capture.
  • Transportation – a 57% increase in miles not traveled due to teleworking (142,020 miles between 2017 and 2018). 
  • Waste – a 285% increase in municipal solid waste recycling by (1,869 tons) due to coordinated “disposal days” and construction and demolition debris diversion.
  • Electronics – a 99% increase (nearly 900 units) in EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) registered electronics purchased. EPEAT is a standard for evaluating the environmental performance of a computer, monitor, multifunction printer or TV.
  • Innovation Award - for “disposal days,” a program used to clean up storage areas and lab spaces. Some of areas were not able to be used for their intended use because of excess storage in these areas.

In fiscal year 2018, Federal Green Challenge participants reduced their environmental impact throughout the waste-stream process, including:

  • Sending more than 235 tons of end-of-life electronics to third-party certified recyclers.
  • Reducing transportation costs by more than $23 million.
  • Using approximately 536 million fewer gallons of potable water.
  • Decreasing paper purchasing by nearly 2,800 pounds.
  • Diverting an estimated 675,000 tons of waste from landfills.

For more information on the Federal Green Challenge and this year’s winners, please visit