Campus Sustainability Menu

Clean Energy Efforts on Campus

Alternate, clean energy sources are a major push in the Illinois Climate Action Plan, and Illinois researchers are playing a role in studying current — and future — sources to power campus and the world without burning fossil fuels! In 2020, iSEE was thrilled to engage with three new initiatives exploring clean power sources:

 

  • LOW-TEMPERATURE GEOTHERMAL: U of I scientists and engineers intend to work with national and international geothermal practitioners, decision makers, and stakeholders to develop a research program in low-temperature geothermal exchange, direct use heating and cooling, and underground thermal energy storage. The Illinois Geothermal Coalition is working to make Illinois the leading Midwest institution for geothermal energy research. Learn more at geothermal.illinois.edu >>>
  • NUCLEAR MICRO-REACTOR: Researchers from the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering and partners are pursuing a major grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to bring a research micro-reactor to the Illinois campus. Advanced micro-reactors are small (can fit in a truck), go 20 years without refueling, use tiny fuel particles, have new shutdown technology, and could produce nearly 13% of campus energy needs. Learn more at Nuclear Powered UIUC >>>
  • HYDROGEN ENERGY: The Grainger College of Engineering and Argonne National Laboratory have established the Midwestern Hydrogen Partnership to advance and promote the development and adoption of hydrogen technologies for the Midwest, to enable collaborations with industry, academic partners, and stakeholders across the Midwest, and to help create economic development opportunities throughout the region. Learn more at hydrogen energy.illinois.edu >>>

 

Past and current efforts on campus, including solar, wind, and biomass

During the past decade, Facilities & Services (F&S) has led efforts to:

In addition to various faculty experts on alternative energy, faculty in iSEE’s Campus as a Living Laboratory program are exploring new options with solar, wind, geothermal, and other sources.

Read more on our CALL page >>>

 

Energy Conservation Programs

iSEE Levenick Fellows research

 

Illini Lights Out

lightbulb-312459_640 An original effort started by the 2015-16 ECBS SWATeam and taken on by iSEE in the years since, Illini Lights Out is a program to raise awareness of wasted energy from lights left on in unoccupied spaces campus buildings. Since November 2016, brigades of student volunteers have conducted monthly sweeps of buildings surrounding the Main Quad to turn off lights, close windows, and inventory the results. Read more about the program >>>

To volunteer: Grab a friend, and put your names on the volunteer list for an upcoming Illini Lights Out, a program supported by funding from the Student Sustainability Committee (SSC).

 

Greener Campus Portal

iSEE is certifying Green Offices, Green Labs, and more in an effort to promote behavior change in everyday life on campus. Small steps, taken by many, can make a big impact. Visit the Portal for more info >>>

 

Campus and community programs, events and tips related to energy conservation

Energy Conservation Programs

iSEE Levenick Fellows research

 

Illini Lights Out

lightbulb-312459_640 An original effort started by the 2015-16 ECBS SWATeam and taken on by iSEE in the years since, Illini Lights Out is a program to raise awareness of wasted energy from lights left on in unoccupied spaces campus buildings. Since November 2016, brigades of student volunteers have conducted monthly sweeps of buildings surrounding the Main Quad to turn off lights, close windows, and inventory the results. Read more about the program >>>

To volunteer: Grab a friend, and put your names on the volunteer list for an upcoming Illini Lights Out, a program supported by funding from the Student Sustainability Committee (SSC).

 

Greener Campus Portal

iSEE is certifying Green Offices, Green Labs, and more in an effort to promote behavior change in everyday life on campus. Small steps, taken by many, can make a big impact. Visit the Portal for more info >>>

 

Campus and community programs, events and tips related to energy conservation

Energy SWATeam

Poster displaying key points from the iCAP 2020 Energy theme.

“At-a-glance” key points from the iCAP 2020 Energy theme. Click for an enlarged version.

Read iCAP Chapter 2: Energy >>>

The Energy SWATeam examines both energy generation and purchasing as well as conservation and building standards — all with the goal of achieving carbon neutrality per the Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP).

Newly formed in 2019, this team covers the mandates outlined for the former EGEN and ECBS SWATeams (see below).

A major iCAP goal in this area is to reduce emissions from campus energy generation and purchasing by 30% by FY20 on the way to zero emissions by 2050 or sooner. To help meet this goal, campus built a 5.87-megawatt solar farm on the South Farms, which provides approximately 2% of campus’ electricity demand. Additional rooftop solar installations across campus — along with the purchase of wind power — will allow campus to move toward its goal.

By FY20, campus also aims to reduce total energy use of existing buildings by 30% from the FY08 baseline. Campus took a large step in July 2015 to curb energy demand by buildings with the implementation of a “Net Zero Growth Space Policy,” which disallows any lease, construction, or renovation project to push total campus square footage past a baseline cap. Energy conservation efforts remain an enormous opportunity to both reduce greenhouse emissions and to save money on campus.

SWATeams report annually on progress made toward Illinois Climate Action Plan objectives in their area of focus. 

 

Current Team Members
  • Faculty: Bill Rose (Co-Chair), Senior Research Architect, Applied Research Institute (2018-) (Email)
  • Faculty: Andrew Stumpf (Co-Chair), Geologist at Illinois State Geological Survey, Prairie Research Institute (2018-) (Email) Read more about Andrew >>>
  • Faculty: Tugce Baser, Assistant Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering  (2019-) (Email) 
  • Faculty: Yun Kyu Yi, Assistant Professor of Architecture (2016-)
  • Faculty: Vacant
  • Staff: Paul Foote, Facilities & Services Energy Efficiency & Conservation Specialist (2020-)
  • Staff: Brad Frantz, Facilities & Services Electrician Foreman (2020-)
  • Staff: Damon McFall, Director of Facilities and Operations, Mechanical Science and Engineering (2021-)
  • Staff: Tim Mies, Energy Farm Operations Director (2014-) Read more about Tim >>>
  • Student: Shannon Anderson, M.S. Student in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (2021-)
  • Student: Ritvik Desai (2021-)
  • Student: Matthew Gold, Undergraduate in Earth, Society, and Environmental Sustainability (2020-)
  • Student: Meghana Pothukuchi (2021-)
  • SWATeam Clerk: Tyler Swanson, Undergraduate (2021-) (Email)
Retired Team Members (see toggles below for fuller list)
  • Faculty: Marcela Vega Munoz, Postdoctoral Researcher in Crop Sciences (2020-21)
  • Staff: Sushanth Girini, Facilities & Services Management Engineer (2020-21)
  • Student: Peter Davis, Undergraduate in Mechanical Engineering (2020-21)
  • Student: Brinn McDowell, Undergraduate in Chemistry (2020-21)
  • SWATeam Clerk: Kimmy Chuang, Undergraduate in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (concentration in Human Dimensions of the Environment) and Political Science (concentration in International Relations) (2020-21) (Email)
  • Student: Meghna Vijayan, Undergraduate in Supply Chain Management and Finance (2020)
  • Staff: Karl Helmink, Facilities & Services Associate Director of Energy Conservation and Retrocommissioning (2014-20) Read more about Karl >>>
  • Staff: Mike Larson, Facilities & Services Director of Utility Operations (2014-20) Read more about Mike >>>
  • Staff: David Boehm, Facilities & Services Associate Director of Operations, Maintenance and Alterations (2017-20) Read more about David >>>
  • Student: Jayce Carlson, Undergraduate in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (2020) Read more about Jayce >>>
  • Student: Keunhyuk “K.J.” Jang, Ph.D. Candidate in Architecture (2019-20) Read more about K.J. >>>
  • Student: Mike Reiter, Ph.D. Candidate in Civil & Environmental Engineering (2019-20) Read more about Mike >>>
  • Student: David Antonio Rivera-Kohr, Undergraduate in Biochemistry (2019-20) Read more about David >>>
  • SWATeam Clerk: Sowmiya Raju, Undergraduate in Global Studies (2019-20) Read more about Sowmiya >>>
View more about the ECBS SWATeam and its work from 2014 to 2019

Energy Conservation and Building Standards

The Energy Conservation and Building Standards SWATeam, which was formed in 2014 and continued through Spring 2019, examined the 2015 Illinois Climate Action Plan goals and accomplishments in this theme.

By FY20, campus aims to reduce total energy use of existing buildings by 30% from the FY08 baseline. Campus took a large step in July 2015 to curb energy demand by buildings with the implementation of a “Net Zero Growth Space Policy,” which disallows any lease, construction, or renovation project to push total campus square footage past a baseline cap. Energy conservation efforts remain an enormous opportunity to both reduce greenhouse emissions and to save money on campus.

SWATeams report annually on progress made toward Illinois Climate Action Plan objectives in their area of focus. 

 

2018-19 Team Members
  • Faculty: Bill Rose (Chair), Senior Research Architect, Applied Research Institute (2018-19) (Email)
  • Faculty: Yun Kyu Yi, Assistant Professor of Architecture (2016-19)
  • Staff: David Boehm, Facilities & Services Associate Director of Operations, Maintenance and Alterations (2017-19) Read more about David >>>
  • Staff: Karl Helmink, Facilities & Services Associate Director of Energy Conservation and Retrocommissioning (2014-19) Read more about Karl >>>
  • Student: Andrea Martinez Gonzalez, Ph.D. Candidate in Communication (2017-19) Read more about Andrea >>>
  • Student: Jamie Wiberg, Undergraduate in Architectural Studies (2018-19)
  • SWATeam Clerk: Taylor Holin, Undergraduate in Earth, Society, and Environmental Sustainability (2018-19) (Email)

Retired Members

  • Jonah Messinger, Undergraduate in Agricultural and Biological Engineering (Fall 2018; moved to EGEN team) Read more about Jonah >>>
  • Marian Huhman, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Communication (2015-18) Read more about Marian >>>
  • Swarnali Sandal, Ph.D. Candidate in Atmospheric Sciences (2018)
  • Carol Lin, clerk, Undergraduate in Materials Science and Engineering (2017-18)
  • Ashwini Shetty, M.S. candidate in Civil Engineering (2017)
  • Fred Hahn,  Facilities & Services Associate Director of Engineering Services (2014-17) Read more about Fred >>>
  • Dhara Patel, undergraduate student in Civil and Environmental Engineering (2015-17)
  • Alex Dzurick, graduate student in Communication (2015-17) Read more about Alex >>>
  • Diliya Murtazina, student clerk in Mechanical Engineering (2016-17) Read more about Diliya >>>
  • Claudia Szczepaniak, student clerk (2014-2016)
  • Brian Deal, Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning (2014-15)
  • Scott Willenbrock, Professor of Physics (2014-15)
  • Claire McConnell, student member (2014-15) Read more about Claire >>>
  • Monica Chhatwani, graduate student in Civil and Environmental Engineering (2014-15)
View more about the EGEN SWATeam and its work from 2014 to 2019

Energy Generation, Purchasing, and Distribution

The Energy Generation, Purchasing, and Distribution SWATeam, which was formed in 2014 and continued through Spring 2019, examined the Illinois Climate Action Plan goals and accomplishments in this theme.

The primary iCAP goal in this area is to reduce emissions from campus energy generation and purchasing by 30% by FY20 on the way to zero emissions by 2050 or sooner. To help meet this goal, campus built a 5.87-megawatt solar farm on the South Farms, which provides approximately 2% of campus’ electricity demand.

Additional rooftop solar installations across campus — along with the purchase of wind power — will allow campus to move toward its goal.

SWATeams report annually on progress made toward Illinois Climate Action Plan objectives in their area of focus. 

 

2018-19 Team Members
  • Faculty: Yu-Feng Forrest Lin (Chair), Adjunct Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences (2016-19) (Email) Read more about Forrest >>>
  • Faculty: Andrew Stumpf, Geologist at Illinois State Geological Survey, Prairie Research Institute (2018-19) Read more about Andrew >>>
  • Staff: Mike Larson, Facilities & Services Director of Utility Operations (2014-19) Read more about Mike >>>
  • Staff: Tim Mies, Energy Farm Operations Director (2014-19) Read more about Tim >>>
  • Student: Jonah Messinger, Undergraduate in Agricultural and Biological Engineering (2018-19) Read more about Jonah >>>
  • Student: Gabriel Mishaan, M.S. Candidate in Civil Engineering (2018-19) Read more about Gabriel >>>
  • SWATeam Clerk: Taylor Holin, Undergraduate in Earth, Society, and Environmental Sustainability (2018-19) (Email)

 

Retired Members

  • Christopher Hillebrand, M.S. Candidate in Engineering Systems (2017-18) Read more about Chris >>>
  • Krish Saxena, M.S. Candidate in Civil & Environmental Engineering (2017-18)
  • Xinlei Wang, Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (2015-18)
  • Carol Lin, clerk, Undergraduate in Materials Science and Engineering (2017-18)
  • Yogesh Bhandari, M.S. Candidate in Engineering Systems (2017)
  • Jack Morrissey, student in Civil and Environmental Engineering (2015-17) Read more about Jack >>>
  • Catherine Yee, student in Earth, Society, and Environmental Sustainability (2015-17) Read more about Catherine >>>
  • John Flanagan, student clerk in Mechanical Engineering (2016-17)
  • Scott Willenbrock, Professor of Physics (2014-16)
  • Ben Reeber, student clerk (2015-16)
  • Angus Rockett, former Professor of Materials Science and Engineering (2014-15) Read more about Angus >>>
  • Drew O’Bryan, student (2014-15)
  • Allison Steffens, student (2014-15)
  • Nathan Wells, student (2014-15)
  • Rob Klein, student clerk (2014-15)
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