County hosting sustainable design challenge for schools

DuPage County and SCARCE have been hosting the Sustainable Design Challenge for 16 years. This was a Solis Eco-Market designed by a team from York Community High School in 2021. (Photo courtesy of SCARCE)

DuPage County and SCARCE are now accepting project registrations from local high school students for the 16th annual Sustainable Design Challenge. Scheduled for April 5, the Sustainable Design Challenge encourages students to construct building and landscape models using environmental and water-friendly design practices.

“For the first time in two years, I am excited to safely welcome students back to the County to present their green building designs,” said DuPage County Stormwater Management Committee Chairman Jim Zay. “The Sustainable Design Challenge is one of our favorite annual events here at the county, and something that I personally look forward to each year. It’s always interesting to learn about new technology that preserves our water and protects our natural resources.”

In addition to inspiring students to explore careers in urban planning, architecture and engineering, the competition promotes environmental and stormwater education within Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curricula in local high schools.

SCARCE founder and Executive Director Kay McKeen emphasizes the importance of STEM education both in the classroom and in real-life scenarios.

“The Sustainable Design Challenge provides students with STEM experience not only through the development of their sustainable projects, but also through interactions at the event itself,” said McKeen. “During the Challenge, students are able to speak with professionals and view real-life application of green practices on the County’s campus, providing great experience for the students as they’re deciding on colleges and majors.”

All DuPage County high schools are encouraged to participate. Past competitors include students from Wheaton Warrenville South (Wheaton), Wheaton North, Naperville North, Glenbard South (Glen Ellyn), Glenbard East (Lombard), Addison Trail, College Preparatory School of America (Lombard), Neuqua Valley (Naperville), York Community (Elmhurst), Willowbrook (Villa Park), Downers Grove North, Downers Grove South, Hinsdale Central, Hinsdale South (Darien), Metea Valley (Aurora), Waubonsie Valley (Aurora), Montini Catholic (Lombard), St. Francis (Wheaton) and Lake Park (Roselle) high schools.

Registration will be open through March 25. Schools may opt to participate in person or virtually. For in person participation, safety measures will be enforced, and judging will be held in shifts. For information on participating in this year’s challenge, visit