Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP)


The Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP) is the campus’s strategic sustainability plan for achieving carbon neutrality, or net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, by 2050 if not sooner.

iCAP 2020, the third update to the Illinois Climate Action Plan since 2010, contains 56 SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based) objectives organized into eight key themes: Energy, Transportation, Land & Water, Zero Waste, Education, Engagement, Resilience, and Implementation.

With the dedication, passion, and hard work of our campus and community, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign can become a model for innovative, progressive environmental stewardship.

Read the iCAP 2020 press release >>>

Read the full iCAP 2020 >>>

View the comprehensive list of iCAP 2020 objectives >>>

Transportation Chapter at a Glance

Land & Water Chapter at a Glance

Zero Waste Chapter at a Glance

Education Chapter at a Glance

Engagement Chapter at a Glance

Resilience Chapter at a Glance

Implementation Chapter at a Glance

On Oct. 20, 2020, Chancellor Robert J. Jones officially signed and approved iCAP 2020, and sustainability leaders shared opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and community members to get more involved with sustainability on campus. View the video on YouTube >>>

“The iCAP 2020 is not just a map for a more environmental and sustainable university,” Chancellor Jones said. “I believe that it is a guide to make sure we are more resilient, adaptable, and more sustainable in every single phase of our mission for decades to come.”

How are we doing on our iCAP goals? Track them here! >>>

iCAP 2020 Chapter Objectives at at Glance

Last year, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign main campus used approximately 3 trillion British Thermal Units (BTU) — or 3.2 quadrillion joules — of energy, enough to sustain 39,000 U.S. homes. Roughly 86% of the campus’s total gross emissions were energy emissions in FY19. In this chapter, you will find our plans to improve campus energy efficiency and transition to cleaner energy sources.

Read iCAP 2020 Chapter 2: Energy >>>

Energy at a Glance >>>

From overseas academic conferences to the daily office commute, members of the Illinois community are always on the move, but constant travel has its consequences. In FY19, approximately 13% of campus greenhouse gas emissions were traced to the following three categories of transportation: campus vehicle usage, commuting, and air travel. In this chapter, you will find our plans to improve the efficiency of campus vehicles, reduce driving on campus, and offset air travel emissions.

Read iCAP 2020 Chapter 3: Transportation >>>

Transportation at a Glance >>> 

Want to get involved? View our Transportation Next Steps >>>

As a micro-urban hub, robust research institute, agricultural living laboratory, and land-grant university, the Urbana campus is a microcosm for land and water management in the Midwest and globally. Our campus has an urgent responsibility to sustainably manage everything from the water we drink to the crops we harvest to the pollinators we rely on for survival. In this chapter, you will find our plans to reduce our water consumption and implement resilient landscape strategies.

Read iCAP 2020 Chapter 4: Land & Water >>>

Land & Water at a Glance >>>

The goods and services we purchase — and how we interact with them — influence everything from the size of landfills to the release of harmful greenhouse gases. By investigating a resource’s life cycle (i.e., a “whole system” approach), we can minimize energy usage across all stages, from raw material extraction to transportation to waste disposal. In this chapter, you will find our plans to reduce our landfill waste and establish a culture of reuse on campus.

Read iCAP 2020 Chapter 5: Zero Waste >>>

Zero Waste at a Glance >>>

Because sustainability is a major worldwide issue, many campus entities and Illinois faculty are driven to implement a sustainability component into their departments and courses. All fields — from engineering to behavioral sciences, economics to the fine arts — can be brought into the 21st century through synthesis with environmental topics. In this chapter, you will find our plans to broaden sustainability education across all disciplines and encourage environmentally-focused programs.

Read iCAP 2020 Chapter 6: Education >>>

Education at a Glance >>>

Want to get involved? View our Education Next Steps >>>

Even the most concerted efforts to implement environmental policy cannot gain traction without support from the entire community — from students, staff, and faculty members to local stakeholders and governing bodies. Our engagement strategy is two-pronged, providing 1) clear and palatable information; and 2) outlets for response. In this chapter, you will find our plans to foster engagement with sustainability throughout the campus community.

Read iCAP 2020 Chapter 7: Engagement >>>

Engagement at a Glance >>>

Want to get involved? View our Engagement next steps >>>

As we pursue initiatives to address the consequences of climate change, it is critical to augment our mitigation strategies with innovative resilience measures. These include adaptive actions to strengthen our campus and community in the face of severe weather, extreme temperatures, and other acute effects of atmospheric and climate change. In this chapter, you will find our plans to support urban biodiversity and tackle local environmental justice and sustainability issues.

Read iCAP 2020 Chapter 8: Resilience >>>

Resilience at a Glance >>>

Since the university signed the Climate Leadership Commitments, we have worked to develop robust procedures for evaluating and implementing sustainability projects. The ambitious targets outlined in iCAP 2020 require continuous evaluation and action from units, organizations, and campus leadership. In this chapter, you will find our plans to effectively implement and monitor the objectives outlined in iCAP 2020.

Read iCAP 2020 Chapter 9: Implementation >>>

Implementation at a Glance >>>

Read a 2021 article on the efforts by the U of I System and the U of I Foundation to invest in sustainable companies >>>

iCAP 2015 & iCAP 2010

In 2008, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign signed the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). This action committed the campus to carbon neutrality by the year 2050. The Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP) describes a path toward the fulfillment of this commitment.

As the flagship public university in the state of Illinois, the campus has a moral and ethical responsibility to lead, to set aggressive goals, to work to meet them, and to serve as a model for the community, state, and nation. The Plan represents a roadmap to a new, prosperous, and sustainable future for the University. It outlines strategies, initiatives, and targets toward meeting the stated goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

Full PDF of iCAP 2015 >>>

Read iCAP 2015 online >>>

8-page iCAP 2015 in a nutshell >>>

The university’s inaugural climate action plan was published in 2010. In 2008, we signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), which included a charge to “initiate the development of a comprehensive plan to achieve carbon neutrality as soon as possible.” iCAP 2010 was our first iteration of this plan, and the first climate action plan submitted to Second Nature by a university in the Big Ten Academic Alliance. This strategy set aggressive short- and long-term goals for achieving carbon neutrality, with core commitments ranging from energy conservation to planning and follow-through.

Full PDF of iCAP 2010 >>>

iCAP Portal

The online iCAP Portal was launched in 2012 to provide transparency regarding campus sustainability objectives, successes, and challenges. The Portal contains updates, historical context, metrics, and contact information pertaining to all current and past iCAP projects. Information collected in the Portal is shared with about 17,000 public visitors per year, used for reporting purposes, and serves as an excellent resource for university courses and independent student projects.

Projects in the iCAP Portal are organized into ten themes: Energy, Transportation, Land & Water, Zero Waste, Resilience, Education, Engagement, Reporting Progress, Research Opportunities, and Funding. The project status is proposed (before approval to proceed), in progress (for projects actively being implemented), ongoing (for projects that are running on their own or are a summary/header type of project), and completed (for projects that are finalized). Cancelled projects are also included in the portal for reference.

The Objectives page is a dashboard of primary iCAP objectives from the most recent iCAP update. Each objective includes a unit responsible for leading the implementation of this objective, and an explanation of the objective, as written in the iCAP itself.  When possible, objectives also have associated metrics, showing progress overtime and the specific iCAP goals for each objective.

The Map page can be filtered by associated theme. Any project with an associated location will show up on the map.  Theme pages and project collections include maps of those related projects, and parent projects include the locations of “child projects,” as well.  Also, individual locations have map pages that include an overview of the projects associated with that location.

If you would like to recommend a new project or are aware of an existing project that is not listed on this site, please use the Suggestions tab to let us know.