EPA announces over $1 million in grant funding to University of Illinois for pollution prevention

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced over $1 million in pollution prevention, or P2, grants to the University of Illinois System. The University of Illinois Chicago Energy Resources Center will receive $350,000. The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Smart Energy Design Assessment Center will receive $349,999 and the university’s Illinois Sustainable Technology Center will receive $349,197. These P2 grants are among 39 national grants made possible by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s historic $100 million program investment. The grants will allow states and Tribes, or in this instance academic institutions, to provide businesses with technical assistance to help them implement P2 practices to prevent or reduce pollution before it is even created, while also reducing business and liability costs.

“Reducing pollution at the source, before it ever even enters the waste stream, is the best and most cost-effective way to protect the environment,” said EPA Regional Administrator Debra Shore. “Thanks to these grants, and increased funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA is working with organizations like the University of Illinois System to empower communities and businesses to save money and safeguard precious natural resources.”

The University of Illinois Chicago Energy Resources Center will use its grant to provide technical assistance to 20 industrial plants in some of Chicago’s underserved communities. UIC-ERC, in partnership with the city of Chicago, will help facilities find and achieve energy and cost savings, emissions reduction, and waste reduction.

“UIC is excited to engage with the City of Chicago and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to provide technical assistance to manufacturing plants in the City of Chicago, including those areas of the City facing environmental injustice. The technical assistance program will focus efforts on student workforce development, reducing plant energy consumption and source emissions, and increasing plant productivity,” said Patrick Brown, senior research engineer for Energy Resources Center at University of Illinois Chicago.

“The City of Chicago congratulates the UIC Energy Resources Center for this major award from the USEPA dedicated to offering technical guidance to the industrial sector to transition to renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions. This critical support will result in more energy efficient operations as well as reduced pollution and better air quality for our communities. We are thrilled to serve as collaborators in this effort,” said Angela Tovar, chief sustainability officer for the City of Chicago.

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Smart Energy Design Assessment Center will use its grant to provide technical assistance and training for 260 businesses, including 80 businesses located in or adjacent to underserved communities.

“Green business programs are an innovative model for driving voluntary education and engagement in P2 best practices,” said Dr. Brian Deal, executive director of the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center. “They make it easier for businesses to assess and reduce their environmental footprint, while also providing recognition and a competitive platform for their achievements. SEDAC is thrilled to help integrate P2 technical assistance with national green business best practices.”

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Illinois Sustainable Technology Center will use its grant to host two training events, create a pollution prevention guidebook, and offer technical assistance to 15 Illinois manufacturing and processing facilities.

“The support that the ISTC Technical Assistance Program will provide to manufacturing operations and related industries will go a long way in reducing energy costs, water consumption, air emissions, wastewater generation, and hazardous wastes in Illinois,” said Debra Jacobson, associate director of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center. “At the same time, this project will benefit underserved neighborhoods by offering technical assistance to facilities that directly impact local environmental justice communities.”

Selected and awarded grantees will document and share P2 best practices they identify and develop through these grants so that others can replicate the practices and outcomes. Each selected grantee will address at least one of the National Emphasis Areas, which were established to focus resources and to create opportunities for information sharing among P2 grantees and businesses. Each selected grantee will also develop at least one case study during the grant period on P2 practices.

Read more about P2 and the P2 Grant Program.

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