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GAEE: Award Criteria

Award Categories | Award Criteria | Nomination Process | Past Recipients

A review committee selected by IDEM’s Office of Program Support (OPS) evaluates nominations based on the following award criteria:

Criteria 1: Project Description

  • Provides a comprehensive description of the project, including location where the project was implemented (i.e., location within company, property or community).
  • The project must be fully implemented/finalized in the two years prior to the nomination deadline or for long term projects must be completed by the year prior to the nomination deadline to qualify for this year’s awards.
  • Includes a description of how the project protects the environment or increases the sustainable use of Indiana’s natural resources.
  • Identifies what motivated the facility or organization to undertake the project.

Criteria 2: Innovation, Environmental Stewardship, and Partnerships

  • Identifies what makes the project innovative and/or sustainable, or how creative or unique partnerships were developed.
  • Indicates the partnerships which resulted in constructive solutions to environmental challenges.
  • Describes how the project increased the organization’s capacity to advance environmental stewardship.
  • Describes any new process, equipment, or procedures developed specifically for this project.
  • Discusses any operational, product, or maintenance improvements because of the project.

Environmental Excellence Definitions

Those practices that exemplify outstanding creativity, introduce new approaches, or advance emerging technologies.  Environmentally sound and economically feasible projects that demonstrate successful application of new practices and tools that result in measurable environmental benefit and economic viability. Practices serve as a model for others.

Environmental Stewardship
Those practices that demonstrate a shared responsibility for environmental quality by all whose actions affect the environment.  Organizations putting systems in place that will enable them to:

  • Use resources efficiently.
  • Reduce waste and minimize the negative impacts on the environment.
  • Translate reduced consumption and waste into financial savings.
  • Provide a healthy, more efficient and effective working environment.

Those practices that demonstrate a unique or creative relationship between two or more parties that allow them to:

  • Work together to make better use of natural resources;
  • Develop innovative solutions; or
  • Advance sustainable actions that achieve measurable environmental and economic benefits.

Criteria 3: Measurable Environmental, Economic, and Social Benefits

  • Describes the significant environmental, economic, and social benefits achieved because of the project or program. The list of metrics below has been provided as a starting point. This list is not meant to be all inclusive. Each metric category may not apply to every project or program and there may be relevant metrics that are not listed. It is important to note that presenting all relevant metrics in the manner suggested will add credibility to the nomination.
  • For long-term projects, metrics must focus on measurable benefits achieved in the past three years.
  • To the extent that data is available, presents metrics in absolute terms and includes both a baseline value (with associated date) and an achieved value (with associated date). Providing a percent reduction is optional. However, including absolute data will make for a more competitive nomination. Example: The project resulted in a reduction of total non-transportation energy use from 225,000 KWh in 2018 to 190,000 KWh in 2019, a reduction of more than 15%.

Metrics to Include in Nominations

Supply Chains and Procurement of Materials:

  • Recycled content required (in pounds, tons, or percentage).
  • Hazardous or toxic materials used (in pounds or tons).
  • Information about the suppliers’ environmental performance, such as if suppliers have any environmental certifications or Environmental Management System (EMS).

Materials Reductions:

  • Hazardous materials replaced with non-hazardous materials (in pounds or tons).
  • Ozone depleting substances replaced with non-ozone depleting materials (in pounds or tons).
  • Non-renewable resources reduced (as appropriate).
  • Total packaging used or reduced (in pounds or tons).
  • Total water used and water use reductions (gallons).
  • Total non-transportation energy saved (kWh, MWh, or Btu/MMBtu).
  • Transportation energy reductions (kWh/MWh, gallons, cubic feet).

Air Emissions:

  • Volatile Organic Compounds reduced (in pounds or tons).
  • NOx, SOx, PM2.5, PM10, air toxics reduced (in pounds or tons).
  • Total greenhouse gases reduced.

Water Discharges:

  • Chemical Oxygen Demand or Biological Oxygen Demand reductions (in pounds or tons).
  • Toxics reduction (in pounds or tons).
  • Total suspended solids reduced (TSS) (in pounds or tons).
  • Nutrient reductions (in pounds, tons, or total nitrogen or phosphorus).
  • Sediment reduction (in pounds or tons).

Waste Reduction:

  • Hazardous or non-hazardous waste reductions (in pounds or tons) and management method used.
  • Materials being reused, recycled, or composted (in pounds or tons).

Land and Habitat Conservation and Protection:

  • Habitat saved, protected, and/or created (in acres).
  • Open space protection or creation (in acres).
  • Sensitive species protected or reintroduced (by name and quantity).
  • Improvements to natural resource stewardship (describe).
  • Soil health best management practices.
  • Implementing soil-based conservation systems within row crop production operations
  • Transitioning marginal agricultural lands into wetlands that improve water quality and wildlife habitat (in acres).
  • Establishing environmental stewardship land use initiatives within corporations that source agricultural products from private farms.

Social Benefits:

  • Improvements to working conditions such as reduced exposures, employee training in sustainable living, implementing sustainability programs for employees, etc. (Identify and provide absolute numbers to the degree possible, such as the number of staff trained.)
  • Benefits to employees for taking sustainable actions, such as taking alternative or public transportation, carpooling, driving a hybrid or electric car, etc. (Identify actions and provide the number of employees taking the actions and benefits received.)
  • Level of employee engagement in “greening” operations or workplace practices. (Provide specific descriptions and level of engagement.)

Outreach, Education or Training Events:

  • Workshops, meetings, conferences, training sessions. (Describe purpose and number of attendees.)
  • Behavior changes. (Describe specifically using absolute numbers if possible.)
  • Increased awareness or understanding of sustainable practices and actions. (Describe specifically using absolute numbers if possible.)

Economic Benefits:

  • Financial savings derived, including materials, labor, energy, machinery, transportation, administrative, waste, management, or other process costs, etc. (in dollars)
  • Ecosystem services such as energy savings, CO2 capture value, air quality improvement value, storm water mitigation value, climate change mitigation value, and aesthetic and property values. (Quantify benefits in terms of dollars saved or value generated.)

Criteria 4: Superior Practices

  • Explains how the project, approach, or technology is superior to similar projects being implemented by others.
  • If applicable, describes how the project achieved an environmental benefit by exceeding the applicant's regulatory requirements.
  • Describes how the project incorporated practices that achieved an environmental benefit beyond what could be achieved using standard techniques.

Criteria 5: Commitment and Leadership:

  • Describes how the project demonstrates the nominee's commitment to sustainability and leadership to achieve and maintain innovative solutions to environmental and economic challenges.
  • Describes written policies or management practices that demonstrate continued commitment and leadership in protecting the environment.
  • Describes employee engagement, education, or training aspects of the program/project.
  • Describes any technical assistance provided or received and its effect on the project.
  • Indicates whether the project self-sustaining and ongoing.

Criteria 6: Transferability

  • Indicates whether the program/project lends itself to replication by other organizations or individuals.
  • Indicates whether any project activities or results are currently being shared with others.
  • Explains how the project serves as a model for other successful projects.

Criteria 7: Funding

  • Describes and provide a breakdown of the organization's financial commitment, including the financial commitment of the parent company or organization to the project beyond any grant or outside sources.
  • Provides information about any creative financing techniques or examples of how additional funds were leveraged (i.e., grants, loans, donations, etc.)
  • Discusses the cost and economic benefits of your program; please be as specific as possible.

Criteria 8: Supporting Documentation

  • Photos are strongly encouraged. Please include at least four photos with descriptions submitted via PowerPoint.
  • Includes links, photos, illustrations, and/or an easily understandable schematic that will assist reviewers in understanding the technical elements of the project.
  • Provides other supporting information: an example of curriculum, presentation, pamphlets, energy logs, emission reports, forestry reports etc.  As appropriate, provide links to additional photos, maps, diagrams, videos, press clips, letters, etc., only if these materials clearly support the nomination.

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