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GAEE: Past Recipients

Award Categories | Award Criteria | Nomination Process | Past Recipients

For more than 25 years, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) has managed the Indiana Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence to recognize exemplary environmental practices. The award is open to all Indiana facilities, state and local units of government, individuals, and technical assistance organizations that implement outstanding environmental projects with measurable results. Nominations and applications submitted to IDEM are reviewed by a selection committee comprised of representatives from industries, environmental organizations, educational organizations, and government officials.

2023 Award Recipients

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Resources

  • GM Fort Wayne Assembly: Fort Wayne Assembly has invested into a facility wide energy savings improvement project. This monumental project was focused on the goal of eliminating steam from the facility to dramatically improve the efficiency of the central utility plant which heats and cools this over 5 million sq. ft. facility.

    The central focus of the project revolves around a new waste heat recovery system that captures otherwise wasted heat from four 1.6 mega-wats onsite generators. This in turn reduces the consumption of natural gas that would otherwise be necessary to heat the plant. This waste heat is transformed into usable heat via 8 large heat recovery units (exhaust and water) and is utilized by the main central utility building to provide heating and cooling to the main assembly buildings through it's Hot/Chilled Water Seasonal Loop.

Environmental Education and Outreach

  • Red-tail Land Conservancy: Growing Home™ is a community-driven conservation program that brings birds, bees, and butterflies to east central Indiana. This program educates, encourages, and empowers community members to transform their yard or garden into a habitat that attracts and supports wildlife.

    Requirements for a Growing Home Certification include having 2 sources of food, 1 source of water, 1 source of cover, 1 place for wildlife to raise young  , 3 species of native plants, 2 conservation practices, none of Indiana’s banned plants, and at least 50 square feet of garden area. Since Growing Home’s inception, 76 habitats have been certified in twelve cities across seven counties.

    Through the certification of homegrown habitats, Growing Home™ is creating a network of pocket nature preserves that beautify our urban spaces and provide vibrant places for people and wildlife to thrive.

Greening the Government

  • VA Northern Indiana Health Care System: VA Northern Indiana Health Care System launched the Nutrition and Food Service Green Environmental Management System, Greening the VA Initiative to proactively approach and provide mitigation to several significant aspects facing the population today.

    VA Northern Indiana was able to create a state-of-the-art food sustainability program with far-reaching results. The efforts involved mitigation of food waste, diversion of universal waste aerosols, utilization of Indiana natural resources through harvesting maple syrup and replacing procurement costs, reduction in community hunger, complete elimination of polystyrene, procurement of compostable containers, garden to table sustainable produce production, implementing new tools such as bio-digestion and composting, and the offset of harmful greenhouse gasses.

Land Use and Conservation

  • Michigan City Sanitary District and Delta Institute: Michigan City Sanitary District partnered with Delta Institute, the Alliance for the Great Lakes and V3 Companies to make stormwater, ecological restoration, and recreation improvements at Michigan City’s Cheney Run. A 40-acre site surrounded by wetlands, Cheney Run was a primary source of stormwater-related pollution that ended up in the Trail Creek, a major tributary that feeds into Lake Michigan. The partnership implemented improvements that reduced the amount of pollution transferred from Cheney Run to Trail Creek, restored the wetlands, and created trails on site for residents.

    The restoration and sustainable use of Indiana’s natural wetlands not only improves water and habitat quality in the area but also allows for more recreational activities like fishing, boating, birdwatching, swimming, and hiking. The new trails will connect nearby neighborhoods with existing trails, as well as a new fishing access point and kayak launch. Additionally, the project protects salmon and trout runs which support the city’s tourism industry.

Pollution Prevention

  • DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc.: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. voluntarily modified existing equipment with an integral carbon adsorption unit (CAU) system to enhance air emission controls. Stack testing results prove the CAU system is 95.21% effective in removing Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from the air stream, thus reducing the annual VOC emissions to approximately a half ton.

    The CAU system is interlocked with all the spray booths so that that the power is contingent upon the CAUs operation within the designated temperature, pressure and flow parameters. The CAU's filter bed uses granular activated carbon to remove VOCs via adsorption. The spent carbon is returned to the carbon supplier for thermal reactivation that restores the carbon's adsorptive capacity so that it can be reused, and the VOCs destroyed.

Recycling and Reuse

  • Carroll Elementary School – Flora: Carroll Elementary participated in the Plastic Film Recycling Project, which is strategically timed to coincide with America Recycles Day (November 15th) and Earth Day (April 22nd). The Carroll Elementary 2nd grade student body challenged all K-6 students to collect and recycle as much polyethylene plastic film as possible over this five-month period. They entered a competition with TREX for the project and went head-to-head with like sized schools in 11 states in the Great Plains-Midwest.

    In 2021-22, Carroll Elementary won with the most pounds collected at 1,574 lbs. Plastic was diverted from Indiana Landfills and recycled into plastic decking for TREX. This project not only diverted waste from landfills but also served as an educational resource and provided a sense of duty to the environment.

Information on both the most recent and previous award recipients may be found below. Each link will have one or more files containing a summary of each project. High resolution photographs are available for each of this year's recipients.

Previous Year Award Recipients

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