Benedictine joins regional initiative to reduce ozone-causing emissions

Benedictine joins regional initiative to reduce ozone-causing emissions
February 8, 2008

Phil Brozynski, Media Relations Manager
(630) 829-6094

Benedictine University has joined Clean Air Counts, a northeastern Illinois regional initiative to reduce ozone-causing emissions. Clean Air Counts is a collaborative effort between the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, the City of Chicago, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. This multi-year initiative seeks to achieve specific and significant reductions in targeted smog-forming pollutants and major reductions in energy consumption. More than 500 businesses and organizations throughout the region participate in the Clean Air Counts campaign. Thus far, their efforts have reduced pollution by 6.12 tons or 2,570,652 pounds per day. “The University is more than 120 years old, and as part of our Benedictine heritage we have always strived to be good neighbors and responsible stewards of the earth,” said Benedictine University Executive Vice President Charles Gregory. “By joining this initiative, we hope to demonstrate Benedictine’s commitment to creating a better environment for our neighbors, our community and the entire metropolitan area,” Gregory said. Clean Air Counts seeks to reduce air pollution throughout the greater Chicago six-county region. Among the strategies members employ to help meet this goal are: the use of energy-efficient lighting, appliances and office equipment; use of non-polluting paints, cleaning products and building materials; natural landscaping; and transportation alternatives. Two projects recently undertaken at Benedictine University have been recognized by Clean Air Counts for their contributions to a cleaner, healthier environment. The Jurica Tallgrass Prairie, a 2,967-square foot native landscaping project undertaken by biology professor Lawrence Kamin, Ph.D. near Lake St. Benedict on the southern edge of campus, was cited for reducing harmful air emissions by eliminating the need to use gasoline-powered maintenance equipment. The native landscaping has reduced emissions of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds by 10 pounds. Benedictine University also used a $40,500 grant from The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation for energy efficient upgrades to indoor lighting systems in three University buildings. The project yielded an approximate 67.5 kilowatt reduction in energy usage with an estimated annual energy cost savings of almost $13,000. The project has reduced emissions of nitrogen oxide by 3,187 pounds and sulfur dioxide by 6,375 pounds. “By replacing the existing fluorescent lighting fixtures with more efficient bulbs, the project reduced energy consumption of the fixtures by more than one-third and cut down on the emission of greenhouse gases,” said Jay L. Stuart, Director of Campus Services at Benedictine University. One estimate equated the project with planting 35 acres of trees or taking approximately 25 cars off the road.


Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 56 undergraduate majors, 16 graduate and four doctorate programs. The Chronicle of Higher Education recently ranked Benedictine University as the seventh fastest-growing campus among private nonprofit master’s universities, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among the top 20 percent of America’s colleges for 2011. Benedictine University’s Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain’s Chicago Business as the fourth largest in the Chicago area in 2011.