Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) Program

Recognizing organizations committed to environmental excellence.

Ohio EPA’s Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) Program recognizes an organization’s exceptional achievements in environmental stewardship. The E3 program now consists of three program elements designed to enhance opportunities for recognition. While the traditional E3 program continues to recognize any Ohio business, industry, trade association, professional organization or not-for-profit (including Colleges and Universities) for exceptional environmental stewardship achievements, the new Encouraging Environmental Excellence in Education (E4) program specifically recognizes any Ohio K-12 public or private school for environmental education efforts and achievements, and the new Encouraging Environmental Excellence for Communities (E3C) program has been added to recognize local governments for environmental stewardship commitments and practices.

Each of the E3 award programs features a unique application and evaluation process and uses a multi-level approach to provide recognition to Ohio applicants completing environmentally beneficial activities. The goal of environmental stewardship is to reduce the impact of business or organizational activities on the environment beyond measures required by any permit or rule, producing a better environment, conserving natural resources and resulting in long-term economic benefits. Application must be filled out online at https://ohioepa.custhelp.com/app/apply. For more guidance on how to start an application, please click here.

For more information, explore the information provided below or contact the Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance’s Office of Compliance Assistance and Pollution Prevention at 1-800-329-7518.

The Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) Achievement. Silver, Gold and Platinum Awards recognize an organization’s exceptional achievements in environmental stewardship. Any business, industry, trade association, professional organization or local government of Ohio can be recognized for their commitment to environmental excellence.

The goal of environmental stewardship is to reduce the impact of business or organizational activities on the environment beyond measures required by any permit or rule, producing a better environment, conserving natural resources and resulting in long-term economic benefits.

Applications are reviewed using the following environmental stewardship criteria:

  • Sustainable materials and purchasing
  • Pollution prevention
  • Energy efficiency
  • Recycling programs
  • Organics diversion
  • Green building
  • Renewable energy
  • Management commitment
  • Employee involvement
  • Continuous improvement
  • Innovation
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Green infrastructure and storm water best management practices
  • Economic benefits
  • Promotion and dissemination

E3 Platinum Level applicants also need to provide additional information describing how their overall environmental stewardship program addresses six community and regional sustainability criteria or indicate why one or more of the criteria are not applicable.

  • Product or service design
  • Community education
  • Improving the supply and delivery chain
  • Community and regional environmental priorities
  • Habitat and biodiversity improvements
  • Community support

Additional application instructions and review information for each level is available below. Examples of previous award winners are also available below. Applications must be filled out online at https://ohioepa.custhelp.com/app/apply. Contact Bill Narotski in the Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance at (614) 728-1264, (william.narotski@epa.ohio.gov) or our hotline at (800) 329-7518 if you have any questions.


Achievement

The Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) Achievement Award recognizes any applicants completing environmentally beneficial activities. The Achievement Award is open to any business, industry, trade association, professional organization or local government of Ohio. Applications are evaluated using environmental stewardship criteria developed by Ohio EPA. Applications will be accepted on a continual basis throughout the year. Applicants must be in compliance with environmental laws and regulations. Achievement level participants must describe activities completed in one of the following environmental stewardship criteria:

  • Sustainable materials and purchasing
  • Pollution prevention
  • Energy efficiency
  • Recycling programs or
  • Organics diversion
  • Green building
  • Renewable energy

Achievement level participants must also describe how the applicant has made some level of progress in at least five of the additional criteria below and submit a general statement indicating the applicant is in compliance with environmental laws and regulations:

  • Management commitment
  • Employee involvement
  • Continuous improvement
  • Innovation
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Sustainable materials and purchasing
  • Pollution prevention
  • Energy efficiency
  • Recycling programs
  • Organics diversion
  • Green building
  • Green infrastructure and storm water best management practices
  • Renewable energy
  • Economic benefits
  • Promotion and dissemination

 Achievement Level Benefits

  • A certificate of recognition signed by the Director
  • A listing on the Ohio EPA website and
  • A decal with the E3 logo to display at the applicant’s location

Application and Scoring

Apply Online or Download Achievement Level Application

Applications will be accepted on a continual basis and recognition will be provided through the mail. Exceptional Achievement Level applicants may be asked to apply for Silver, Gold or Platinum Level recognition.

Questions

Contact Mike Kelley in the Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance at (614) 644-2930 (michael.kelley@epa.ohio.gov) or our hotline at (800) 329-7518 if you have any questions.

Silver

The Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) Silver Level recognizes an organization’s outstanding achievements in environmental stewardship. The Silver Level is open to any business, industry, trade association, professional organization or local government of Ohio. Applications are evaluated using environmental stewardship criteria developed by Ohio EPA. Applications will be accepted annually and include both written and onsite evaluations. Applicants must be in compliance with environmental laws and regulations for a year prior to submittal of their application and during the application review process.

Silver Level Benefits

  • A certificate of recognition signed by the director;
  • A listing on the Ohio EPA website and program highlights in Ohio EPA publications;
  • An E3 flag to hang at the recipient’s location; and
  • An Ohio EPA news release touting the recipient's environmental accomplishments.

Silver Level Site Visit

Applicants receiving the highest scores based on the evaluation of applications may be asked to host a site visit. The purpose of this site visit is to provide reviewers with a better understanding of the application, to view the activities described in the application in operation and to clarify information provided in the application. A team of two or more reviewers will conduct the site visit. Information collected during the site visit will be used to determine who receives awards. Evaluation criteria for the site visit will be the same as that used for the application. 

Compliance Evaluation

Applicants must be in compliance with environmental laws and regulations for a year prior to submittal of their application and during the application review process. Ohio EPA will perform a compliance evaluation. Additional detail on information used to perform this compliance evaluation is located here

Environmental Stewardship Criteria

Applicants should provide one narrative incorporating the criteria that apply to their environmental stewardship program. Ohio EPA will evaluate applications using 15 environmental stewardship criteria. Each of the applicable criteria will be evaluated using a six-point scale (0 to 5). Points will be awarded to these criteria based on whether the information meets the requirements of five parameters. An explanation and additional detail of this evaluation method is located here.

Application and Scoring

Apply Online or Download E3 Application

E3 Silver recipients must score three or higher on five of the environmental stewardship criteria. The number of nominations receiving Silver Level recognition will vary based on the number of applicants meeting the compliance requirements and evaluation criteria. Exceptional Silver Level applicants may be asked to apply for Gold or Platinum Level recognition.

Applying for Additional Recognition

Organizations receiving E3 program recognition can reapply for the same or different levels of recognition in subsequent years. Applicants need to demonstrate significant improvement if applying for a higher level (for example, E3 Silver to Gold) or complete different or unique activities in their new application (for example, reapplying for E3 Gold in a following year). Applicants interested in receiving additional recognition may only need to submit updated or partial information.

Questions

Contact Bill Narotski in the Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance at (614) 728-1264 (william.narotski@epa.ohio.gov) or our hotline at (800) 329-7518 if you have any questions.

Gold

The Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) Gold Level recognizes organizations that have comprehensive environmental stewardship programs. The Gold Level is open to any business, industry, trade association, professional organization or local government of Ohio. Applications are evaluated using environmental stewardship criteria developed by Ohio EPA. Applications will be accepted annually and include both written and onsite evaluations. Applicants must be in compliance with environmental laws and regulations for a year prior to submittal of their application and during the application review process.

Gold Level Benefits

  • A certificate of recognition signed by the director;
  • A listing on the Ohio EPA website and program highlights in Ohio EPA publications;
  • An E3 flag to hang at the recipient’s location;
  • Ohio EPA news release touting the recipient’s environmental accomplishments; and
  • The opportunity to work with Ohio EPA on benefits that include enhanced environmental assistance, Director’s meeting, reporting flexibility, reduced inspection frequency, reduced time to obtain permit modifications, updates on environmental stewardship information, marketing opportunities to highlight environmental accomplishments and other options.

Gold Level Site Visit

Applicants receiving the highest scores based on the evaluation of applications may be asked to host a site visit. The purpose of this site visit is to provide reviewers with a better understanding of the application, to view the activities described in the application in operation and to clarify information provided in the application. A team of two or more reviewers will conduct the site visit. Information collected during the site visit will be used to determine who receives awards. Evaluation criteria for the site visit will be the same as that used for the application. 

Compliance Evaluation

Applicants must be in compliance with environmental laws and regulations for a year prior to submittal of their application and during the application review process. Ohio EPA will perform a compliance evaluation. Additional detail on information used to perform this compliance evaluation is located here

Environmental Stewardship Criteria

Applicants should provide one narrative incorporating the criteria that apply to their environmental stewardship program. Ohio EPA will evaluate applications using 15 environmental stewardship criteria. Each of the applicable criteria will be evaluated using a six point scale. Points will be awarded to these criteria based on whether the information meets the requirements of five parameters. An explanation and additional detail of this evaluation method is located here.

Application and Scoring

Apply Online or Download E3 Application

E3 Gold recipients must score three or higher on 12 of the environmental stewardship criteria. The number of nominations receiving Gold Level recognition will vary based on the number of applicants meeting the compliance requirements and evaluation criteria. Exceptional Gold Level applicants may be asked to apply for Platinum Level recognition.

Applying for Additional Recognition

Organizations receiving E3 program recognition can reapply for the same or different levels of recognition in subsequent years. Applicants need to demonstrate significant improvement if applying for a higher level (for example, E3 Silver to Gold) or complete different or unique activities in their new application (for example, reapplying for E3 Gold in a following year). Applicants interested in receiving additional recognition may only need to submit updated or partial information.

Questions

Contact Bill Narotski in the Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance at (614) 728-1264 (william.narotski@epa.ohio.gov) or our hotline at (800) 329-7518 if you have any questions.

Platinum

The Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) Platinum Level recognizes organizations that demonstrate how their environmental stewardship efforts improve the social well-being of the local community, region and/or a larger geographic area, and how these efforts result in long-term societal benefits. The Platinum Level is open to any business, industry, trade association, professional organization or local government of Ohio. Applications are evaluated using environmental stewardship, and community and regional sustainability criteria developed by Ohio EPA. Applications will be accepted annually and include both written and onsite evaluations. Applicants must be in compliance with environmental laws and regulations for a year prior to submittal of their application and during the application review process.

Platinum Level Benefits

  • A certificate of recognition signed by the director;
  • A listing on the Ohio EPA website and program highlights in Ohio EPA publications;
  • An E3 platinum flag to hang at the recipient’s location;
  • Ohio EPA news release touting the recipient’s environmental accomplishments;
  • Invitation to an awards ceremony and possibly a site visit by the Ohio EPA director or an award presentation at the recipient's location; and
  • The opportunity to work with Ohio EPA on benefits that include enhanced environmental assistance, Director’s meeting, reporting flexibility, reduced inspection frequency, reduced time to obtain permit modifications, updates on environmental stewardship information, marketing opportunities to highlight environmental accomplishments and other options.

Platinum Level Site Visit

Applicants receiving the highest scores based on the evaluation of applications may be asked to host a site visit. The purpose of this site visit is to provide reviewers with a better understanding of the application, to view the activities described in the application in operation and to clarify information provided in the application. A team of two or more reviewers will conduct the site visit. Information collected during the site visit will be used to determine who receives awards. Evaluation criteria for the site visit will be the same as that used for the application. 

Compliance Evaluation

Applicants must be in compliance with environmental laws and regulations for a year prior to submittal of their application and during the application review process. Ohio EPA will perform a compliance evaluation. Additional detail on information used to perform this compliance evaluation is located here

Environmental Stewardship and Community and regional Sustainability Criteria

Applicants need to submit a narrative incorporating the criteria that apply to their environmental stewardship program. They also need to provide additional information describing how their overall environmental stewardship program addresses six community and regional sustainability criteria or indicate why one or more of the criteria are not applicable.

  • Product or service design
  • Community education
  • Improving the supply and delivery chain
  • Community and regional environmental priorities
  • Habitat and biodiversity improvements
  • Community support

Ohio EPA will evaluate applications using 15 environmental stewardship and six community and regional sustainability criteria. Each of the applicable criteria will be evaluated using a six-point scale (0 to 5). Points will be awarded to these criteria based on whether the information meets the requirements of five parameters. An explanation and additional detail of this evaluation method for environmental stewardship criteria is located here. An explanation and additional detail of this evaluation method for community and regional sustainability criteria is located here.

Application and Scoring

Apply Online or Download E3 Application

E3 Platinum recipients must score three or higher on 12 of the environmental stewardship criteria, and address the six community and regional sustainability criteria.

Applying for Additional Recognition

Organizations receiving E3 program recognition can reapply for the same or different levels of recognition in subsequent years. Applicants need to demonstrate significant improvement if applying for a higher level (for example, E3 Silver to Gold) or complete different or unique activities in their new application for example, reapplying for E3 Gold in a following year). Applicants interested in receiving additional recognition may only need to submit updated or partial information.

Questions

Contact Bill Narotski in the Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance at (614) 728-1264 (william.narotski@epa.ohio.gov) or our hotline at (800) 329-7518 if you have any questions.


Award Winners

Platinum Level

September 30, 2020 (more info)

  • Denison University, Granville (Licking County) (E3 Video)
  • Marathon Petroleum Company LP – Findlay Campus (Hancock)
  • Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, Cincinnati (Hamilton) (E3 Video)

April 22, 2020 (more info)

  • Cleveland Metroparks (Cuyahoga County)

February 11, 2020 (more info)

  • Ford Motor Company - Lima Engine Plant (Allen County)

January 14, 2020 (more info)

  • Honda R&D Americas, Inc. (Union County)

December 17, 2019 (more info)

  • Cleveland Clinic (Cuyahoga County)

October 31, 2018 (more info)

  • American Municipal Power, Inc., Columbus (Franklin County)
  • General Motors LLC – Toledo Plant, Toledo (Lucas County)
  • Washing Systems, Loveland (Hamilton County)

September 20, 2018 (more info)

  • YSI Inc., Yellow Springs (Greene County)

May 9, 2018 (more info)

  • Ohio University, Athens (Athens County)

October 3, 2017 (more info)

  • The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Powell (Delaware County)
  • Washing Systems, Loveland (Hamilton County)

Gold Level

September 30, 2020 (more info)

  • Vallourec Star, LP, Youngstown (Mahoning County)
  • Whirlpool Corporation – Findlay Operations (Hancock County)
  • Timken Steel WTP, Canton (Stark County)

April 22, 2020 (more info)

  • Akron Engineering Bureau - Akron Waterways Renewed! (Summit County)
  • First Solar Inc. - PGT2 (Wood County)
  • Honda Marysville Auto Plant (Union County)
  • Honda East Liberty Auto Plant (Logan County)
  • Honda Anna Engine Plant (Shelby County)
  • Kenworth Truck Company (Ross County)
  • Stirling Ultracold, a Division of Global Cooling, Inc. (Athens County)
  • The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center (Franklin County)

October 31, 2018 (more info)

  • Ford Ohio Assembly Plant, Avon Lake (Lorain County)
  • Honda Transmission Manufacturing of America, Russells Point (Logan County)
  • Kent State University (Portage County)
  • Kenworth Truck Company, Chillicothe (Ross County)
  • Nestle Quality Assurance Center, Dublin (Franklin County)

October 3, 2017 (more info)

  • Cleveland Clinic Main Campus (Cuyahoga County)
  • Crown Minster (Auglaize County)
  • GM Toledo (Lucas County)
  • Ford Cleveland Engine Plant 1 (Cuyahoga County)
  • Frito-Lay, Wooster (Wayne County)
  • Honda Anna Engine Plant (Shelby County)
  • Honda East Liberty Auto Plant (Logan County)
  • Honda Marysville Auto Plant (Union County)
  • Ohio University, Athens (Athens County)

August 24, 2017 (more info)

  • Honda R&D Americas, Raymond (Union County)

May 25, 2017 (more info)

  • MillerCoors, Trenton

August 31, 2016 (more info)

  • ConAgra, Troy
  • Denison University, Granville
  • Great Lakes Brewing Company, Cleveland
  • JLG Industries, Orrville
  • Marathon Petroleum Company’s Findlay Office Complex
  • PPG, Delaware
  • Scotts, Marysville
  • United States Postal Service, Toledo

May 5, 2016 (more info)

March 9, 2016 (more info)

September 18, 2015 (more info)

August 17, 2015 (more info)

August 13, 2015 (more info)

July 29, 2015 (more info)

May 18, 2015 (more info)

April 20, 2015 (more info)

April 22, 2014 (more info)

Silver Level

September 30, 2020 (more info)

  • Charter Steel, Risingsun (Wood County)
  • OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, Columbus (Franklin County)

April 22, 2020 (more info)

  • Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC (Lorain County)
  • Cooper Farms (Mercer County)
  • CSA Group (Cuyahoga County)
  • NASA Glenn Research Center (Cuyahoga County)
  • Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution (Allen County)

October 31, 2018 (more info)

  • Delta Systems, Streetsboro (Portage County)
  • Samuel Packaging Systems Group, Heath (Licking County)

October 3, 2017 (more info)

  • Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, Elyria (Lorain County)
  • Kent State University (Portage County)
  • Kenworth Truck Company, Chillicothe (Ross County)
  • Nestle Quality Assurance Center, Dublin (Franklin County)
  • Oberlin College (Lorain County)
  • Ohio Department of Transportation-District 12 (Cuyahoga, Geauga and Lake counties)
  • Tigerpoly Manufacturing, Grove City (Franklin County)

August 31, 2016 (more info)

  • 3M Elyria

July 1, 2015 (more info)

  • GKN Driveline, Bowling Green
  • TimkenSteel’s Water Treatment Plant, Canton
  • University Hospital, Cleveland
  • GOJO Industries, Cuyahoga Falls
  • Melink, Milford
  • CSX Intermodal Terminals, Inc. – Northwest Ohio Trans-Shipment Terminal, North Baltimore
  • Industry Products Company, Piqua
  • Ford Sharonville Transmission Plant, Sharonville

May 14, 2014 (more info)

May 22, 2013 (more info)

Achievement Level

January 13, 2021

  • Bakers Collision Repair Specialists, Inc. – Mansfield (Richland)
  • Cardinal Health – Dublin (Franklin)
  • Clampco Products, Inc. – Wadsworth (Medina)
  • Goodwill Industries EHOS – Bellevue (Huron)
  • Lafarge Marblehead – Marblehead (Ottawa)
  • MadTree Brewing Company – Cincinnati (Hamilton)
  • Midwest Express, Inc. – East Liberty (Logan)
  • MPLX Terminals LLC – Brecksville (Cuyahoga)
  • MPLX Terminals LLC – Columbus (Franklin)
  • RAP Management – Columbus (Franklin)
  • The Cleveland Foundation – Cleveland (Cuyahoga)

December 12, 2018 (more info)

  • Columbus Fair Auto Auction, Inc. – Columbus (Franklin)
  • COX Enterprises, Inc. - Manheim Ohio - Grove City (Franklin)
  • Custom Pultrusions Inc. - Andersen Aurora Manufacturing – Aurora (Geauga)
  • Detroit Diesel – Reman Engine – Byesville (Guernsey)
  • Land-Grant Brewing Company - Columbus (Franklin)

October 16, 2018 (more info)

  • Atrium Medical Center – Middletown (Warren)
  • Henry County Hospital – Napoleon (Henry)
  • Mercy Springfield Regional Medical Center – Springfield (Clark)
  • Mercy St. Rita’s Medical Center – Lima (Allen)
  • Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center – Toledo (Lucas)
  • Mercy St. Elizabeth Youngstown – Youngstown (Mahoning)
  • Premier Health- Miami Valley Hospital – Dayton (Montgomery)
  • Ohio State Wexner Medical Center – Columbus (Franklin)
  • Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Medical Center (Greene)

September 22, 2017

September 5, 2017

August 9, 2017

August 8, 2017

July 27, 2017

June 13, 2017 

June 6, 2017 

April 4, 2017 

March 17, 2017 

February 7, 2017 

October 19, 2016 (more info)

  • City of Athens - Athens (Athens County)
  • Ohio University - Athens (Athens County)

October 17, 2016 (more info)

  • Akron Water Supply Plant - Akron (Summit County)
  • City of Lima Wastewater Treatment Plant - Lima (Allen County)

October 13, 2016 (more info)

  • Kleen Test Products Corporation - Strasburg (Tuscarawas County)
  • Tech II - Springfield (Clark County)
  • Honda R&D Americas - Raymond (Union County)

September 27, 2016 (more info)

  • Kenworth Truck Company - Chillicothe (Ross County)

August 26, 2016 (more info)

  • Dayton Power and Light Company Yankee Solar Array - Washington Township (Montgomery County)
  • North Star BlueScope Steel - Delta (Fulton County)

June 14, 2016 (more info)

  • Mercy Health (Youngstown)
  • Summa Health System (Akron)
  • TriHealth Bethesda North Hospital (Cincinnati)
  • TriHealth Good Samaritan Hospital (Cincinnati)
  • Marymount Hospital (Garfield Heights)
  • Mount Carmel St. Ann's (Westerville)

April 11, 2016 (more info)

  • Maroon Group, LLC - Avon (Lorain County)

January 20, 2016 (more info)

  • The Brewer-Garrett Company - Middleburg Heights (Cuyahoga County)
  • CertainTeed Corporation Roofing Division - Milan (Erie County)
  • ConAgra Foods - Troy (Miami County)

October 15, 2015 (more info)

  • Otterbein University – Westerville (Franklin County)
  • Visual Marking Systems Inc. – Twinsburg (Summit County)
  • PSC - Cousins Waste Control, LLC – Toledo (Lucas County)

June 11, 2015 (more info)

  • Masco Cabinetry’s Plant # 3 – Orwell (Ashtabula County)
  • Kyklos Bearing International, LLC (KBI) – Sandusky (Erie County)

July 25, 2014 (more info)

  • Industry Products Company (IPC) – Piqua (Miami County)

Dec. 20, 2013 (more info)

  • Enginetics Corporation – Huber Heights (Montgomery County)
  • Ohio Dental Association – Columbus (Franklin County) 
  • Pull-A-Part, LLC – Cleveland (Cuyahoga County)

Sept. 20, 2013 (more info)

  • Pioneer Automotive Technologies, Inc. – Springboro (Warren County)
  • U.S.T. Environmental Contractor, Inc. – Baltimore (Fairfield County)
  • Cincinnati Marathon, Inc. DBA Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon – Cincinnati (Hamilton County)

July 16, 2013 (more info)

  • Agmet, LLC, Oakwood Village and Maple Heights (Cuyahoga County)
  • Bridgestone Americas Center for Research and Technology, Akron (Summit County)
  • USA Lamp & Ballast Recycling, Inc. Cincinnati (Hamilton County)

Nov. 19, 2012 (more info)

  • GOJO Industries Inc. Cuyahoga Falls (Summit County)
  • Washing Systems LLC, Loveland (Hamilton, Clermont and Warren counties)
  • Multibase – A Dow Corning Company, Copley (Summit County)
  • Main Street Gourmet LLC, Cuyahoga Falls (Summit County)
  • Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts at The Lodge At Geneva-On-The-Lake in Geneva State Park, Geneva (Ashtabula County)

 

Historical

The Encouraging Environmental Excellence in Education Program (E4) recognizes any K – 12 public or private school for their achievements in environmental stewardship and their efforts to educate their students on environmental topics.

Recognition Classes

In recognition of their efforts and accomplishments, all three classes will receive a certificate of recognition signed by the Director and recognition on Ohio EPA’s website as well as a window decal and E4 flag.

Root – School demonstrates activities in one of the 3Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle); environmental education and stewardship is included in the curriculum; students have opportunities to participate in environmental activities.

Branch - School demonstrates activities at least two of the 3Rs; environmental education and stewardship is interdisciplinary through all grade levels; students have opportunities to participate in STEM programs or green clubs.

Leaf - School demonstrates activities in all 3Rs; environmental education and stewardship is interdisciplinary and curriculum is progressive; student-led environmental initiatives; the community beyond the school is encouraged to participate in environmental activities.

How to apply

Applicants should submit a completed application which includes a description of the school’s activities related to the three guiding principles: reduce, reuse and recycle. Emphasis will be given to activities that provide students with the opportunity to become environmental leaders through learning and encouraging others around them to participate. Schools graduate from each class by adding additional activities – see examples below. Those with activities in all three principles qualify for Leaf – the highest class available.

E4 applications, which are accepted at any time, are available at https://ohioepa.custhelp.com/app/apply. An individual school, school system or portion of a school system can apply. For more guidance on how to start an application, please click here.

Reduce

  • Energy conservation and reduction efforts.
  • Efforts to reduce water consumption.
  • Efforts to reduce solid waste.
  • Avoiding single-use items in the cafeteria (plastic straws, polystyrene trays/containers).
  • Reducing paper waste by sending emails and printing double-sided. 

Reuse

  • Providing refillable water stations.
  • Use of products made from recycled or bio-based materials.
  • Facilitating reuse opportunities for school supplies, sporting equipment, clothing, etc.
  • Encourage students and staff to pack their lunch in reusable containers. 

Recycle

  • Any type of recycling program in school buildings.
  • Recycling efforts with the local community during school events.
  • Efforts to encourage recycling at home.
  • Establish a food waste composting program.

Submitting your application and questions

Contact Kelsey Heyob at (614) 705-1013 or kelsey.heyob@epa.ohio.gov if you have any questions.

Award Winners

2019-2020

Root Class

  • Timmons Elementary School – Chagrin Falls
  • Bluffton High School – Bluffton

Branch Class

  • Manchester High School – Akron
  • Urban Community School – Cleveland
  • Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School – Broadview Heights
  • Boardman Glenwood Junior High – Youngstown
  • Put-In-Bay School – Put-In-Bay Island

Leaf Class

  • Hathaway Brown School – Shaker Heights: Hathaway Brown School’s science curriculum engages students in environmental thinking at every grade level. The school has outdoor gardens and a greenhouse that they use as a teaching aid for students in kindergarten to fourth grade. They also use other subjects such as Spanish and Art to learn about the environment and use recycled or repurposed materials. Students participate in activities with all three Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) and take initiative to make environmentally friendly changes within their school. A Green Team was created at the school by two third graders who recruited their classmates to join them. The Green Team participated in activities such as a litter cleanup, stream sampling, creating a “how-to” video on sorting compostable material in the cafeteria and creating environmental education posters.
  • Magnificat High School – Rocky River: Magnificat High School has had a student driven; student led recycling/sustainability club for over 20 years. The club has progressed from the Earth Club to Student Sustainability which, in the last 10 years, has chosen one area in which to advance the sustainability of the school each year while educating, supporting, and encouraging the changes in behavior so that it becomes a habit for students and staff over the school year. This school goal for 2019-2020 was to decrease the contamination in the school’s compost. The student idea to help this outcome occur is to have a “Race to Zero” competition with another school that uses the same compost facility.
    The school has been able to incorporate environmental education throughout the curriculum which gives students numerous opportunities to get involved. Examples include: Student Sustainability, Theology, Marine Science Club, Environmental Science, Summer Science enrichment, Chemistry, Visual Arts, AP History, Geography, US Government, Chinese, Spanish, French, Economics, and STEM. Students learn about all three Rs through lessons in these classes and can apply their knowledge through projects and other environmental activities.

2018-2019

Ohio EPA Director Laurie Stevenson introduced the Encouraging Environmental Excellence in Education program on Earth Day 2019 by recognizing four different schools for their efforts in environmental stewardship. “We want to provide an opportunity for schools to receive recognition for incorporating environmental principles into their curriculum or as part of extra activities, and we wanted to make it easy for schools to apply,” said Ohio EPA Director Laurie A. Stevenson. “We have taken the success of our Encouraging Environmental Excellence program and adapted it to schools.”

Leaf Class

  • Newark High School, Heritage Middle School, Carson Elementary – Newark: Together We Grow, Inc. (City of Newark’s community garden non-profit) applied for an OEEF General Grant for $35,473 in 2018. They partnered with Newark City Schools and created the in-vessel composting program. This program is a large-scale composting program using their equipment and labor; Newark City School teachers aligning it with their science content standards. They purchased three Earth Cube In-Vessel Composting Systems (from Green Mountain Technologies). One is in place at the Newark High School and the second one is at Heritage Middle School. The plan is to install the third in-vessel composter at the Boys & Girls Club after it’s renovated.

    The Earth Cube will break down the hundreds of pounds of cafeteria food waste at both the Newark High School and Heritage Middle School, and then the rest of the 11 schools in the district. This will affect almost 7,000 students as they learn why and how to sort their food waste and the impact it will have on the environment.

    On Earth Day, students from each of the three schools presented topics that they had learned about the environment to Director Stevenson. These topics included the in-vessel composting system, organic gardens, and STEM projects.

  • Graham Local Schools – St. Paris: Graham Local Schools is in Champaign County, Ohio. Graham a member of the League of Innovative Schools and have been named one of the nation’s most innovative schools by the AASA School Superintendents Association. Graham has a student-centered culture focusing on innovative ways to include students in leadership and having voice and choice in learning.

    Graham began their “Green” journey more than 15 years ago with the implementation of multiple energy savings projects. They were one of the first districts in the region to install light sensors in restrooms and implement district wide HVAC policies for energy efficiency and financial stability. Over the past 15 years Graham has partnered with Energy Optimizers USA and Waibel Energy Systems to implement projects that have gained actual savings of more than $550,000 in energy costs. Some of the projects have included lamp replacement, variable speed drives for HVAC motors and for well pumps, standardized HVAC controls across the district and skylights. They have continued this quest for “Green Excellence” with the implementation of green teams lead by students across the district.

    One of their greatest accomplishments to date has been the implementation and sustainability of their Graham Middle School all-female “Energy Team”. This team was created due to the overwhelming vocational need of females in STEM careers. This energy team has won multiple awards for their leadership and project implementations of green energy practices across the state and region.

    They have received grants from the Ohio Energy Project where they attended a week-long conference and built an energy bike to be used for education. This team of sixth, seventh and eighth grade girls took their learning and developed lessons for their peers and for elementary students. They travel to the elementary and teach on energy conservation, green practices, and STEM careers to Kindergarten through 5th grade. This team also plans and leads an energy education fair for their peers and the community yearly to demonstrate and educate about green practices.

    This past year the team participated in the Dayton Area “Bring Your Green” Challenge. A yearlong challenge to earn points by participating in “Green” challenges, energy monitoring and education. Graham Middle School won this competition for 2017 and collected more points than any other school or business in the region beating out more than 600 other facilities. The Students won a prize of $3000.00 and have used this money to purchase recycling containers, a television and presentation materials to be used in promoting “Green” culture, and other items to continue educating peers about “Green” practices. This team is led by teacher Tracy Merica – mericat@grahamlocalschools.org.

    In 2018 Graham Middle School and Elementary earned designations as STEM schools by the Ohio Department of Education. This rigorous process requires that schools demonstrate a culture of STEM education and results. In earning this designation Graham joined a group of 33 public school buildings in the state of Ohio to earn such a designation. STEM education is part of their culture K-12. With the implementation of Project Lead the Way curriculum at the Middle School, they’ve been able to develop unique opportunities for their students such as their active Jr. Bee Keepers who manage and care for hives as part of their curriculum, and a working poultry learning space for students to learn about care and support of poultry for sustainability.

    The A.B. Graham Ohio Hi-Point FFA lead by instructor Dawn Wallace manages 30 acres of farm ground owned by the district and has a working greenhouse that often will grow produce to be used in their school cafeterias. Graham Local Schools utilizes partnerships across the region for the betterment of their students learning, from strategic partnerships with Colleges and Universities, to partnerships with local businesses. Across the district Graham has aligned their curriculum and actions with their strategic plan. Through this plan, “Career Gears” was developed and implemented across the district. Focusing on what they call the three “E’s” - Enlistment, Enrollment and Employment. From Kindergarten through the 12th grade their students are exposed to career pathways giving them opportunities to explore careers throughout their educational experience. Through these strategic partnerships, their students have on campus and off campus connections to local business and partners, giving them a leg up on identifying their pathway after they leave Graham.

    Districtwide, Graham participates in a yearly “United Service Day” which is student planned, student led, and student organized. This united service day is a K-12 initiative where all students and staff are engaged in community service across the district for an entire school day. Students design projects in the district from mulching around flower beds and on paths in their land labs, to visiting local cemeteries and assisting with cleanup. A first-grade group of students planned and oversaw a project to make dog chew toys out of used t-shirts for the local animal shelter, some middle school students secured funding and materials to build picnic benches to be used for outdoor learning, and a group of high school students worked to clean out the pond in the high school land lab.

    The most current initiative has been the development by their students of a solar array to power the middle school and elementary. This solar array will be installed later in 2019 after a yearlong study with their partners at Energy Optimizers USA and the work of their students, most notably the energy team at the Middle School. The students worked with their partners to design and develop this solar plan that will provide 75% of their electrical needs at both buildings through a Power Purchase Agreement giving Graham the very first solar powered schools in Champaign County.

    Graham Local Schools is also a 2019 U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon School.

The Encouraging Environmental Excellence for Communities (E3C) recognizes a community’s exceptional achievements in environmental stewardship. Any local government of Ohio can be recognized for its commitment to environmental excellence. Applications are evaluated using environmental stewardship and related activities developed by Ohio EPA. The goal of environmental stewardship is to reduce the impact of business or organizational activities on the environment beyond measures required by any permit or rule, producing a better environment, conserving natural resources and resulting in long-term economic benefits. Applicants must be in compliance with environmental laws and regulations. Applications use a checklist and narrative format and are accepted at any time. Once a community has met the requirements for a level of recognition, they can submit the information for review.

RECOGNITION LEVELS

The E3C Program has three levels of recognition that recognize communities in different stages of implementing environmental stewardship initiatives through environmental, economic and social programs and activities:

Implementation Level: Completes one activity in the environmental category.

Stewardship Level: Completes one activity in the economic category, one activity in the social category, and two activities in the environmental category.

Sustainable Level: Completes two activities in the economic category, two activities in the social category, and four activities in the environmental category.

E3C BENEFITS

Each level of the E3C Program has the following benefits:

Implementation Level

  • Receives a certificate of recognition signed by the Director, and
  • a listing on the Ohio EPA website.

Stewardship Level

  • Receives a certificate of recognition signed by the Director,
  • a listing on the Ohio EPA website,
  • program highlights in Ohio EPA publications, and
  • a decal with the E3C logo to display at the applicant’s location.

Sustainable Level

  • Receives a certificate of recognition signed by the Director,
  • a listing on the Ohio EPA website,
  • program highlights in Ohio EPA publications, and
  • an E3C flag to hang at the recipient’s location.

HOW TO APPLY

Application instructions are available in both Word and PDF formats. Applicants need to submit the information below using the application form in Word and PDF. A review team will then request additional information as needed to complete summaries of activities completed. Communities are encouraged to reapply for further recognition when they have completed activities for the next level.

  • Contact information including the applicant’s name, job title and e-mail.
  • Estimated population, type of community and county.
  • Mailing address of applicant.
  • Identify the items completed by your community.

QUESTIONS

Contact Bill Narotski in the Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance at (614) 728-1264 (william.narotski@epa.ohio.gov) or our hotline at (800) 329-7518 if you have any questions.

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