iSee Logo
INSTITUTE FOR SUSTAINABILITY, ENERGY, AND ENVIRONMENT
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN
Select Page

Campus Sustainability Menu

Renewable Energy Efforts on Campus

Solar Farms

On Sept. 19, 2019, campus announced Solar Farm 2.0, a 54-acre solar array that will generate the equivalent electricity use of more than 2,000 average American homes. Read the announcement >>>

In November 2015, Campus Facilities & Services officially opened campus’ 20-plus-acre, 5.87-megawatt solar farm on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign south farms. This installation is expected to produce 2 percent of campus’ electrical power demand annually. Read our reaction to the original Solar Farm announcement here. The full story and more can be found on the F&S website here. View a fact sheet about the project here.

Want to know how much energy the solar farm is creating right now? Check out the solar farm’s online, real-time dashboard.

 

Geothermal Foundation

In 2019, SSC, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the Carbon Credit Sales Fund held by campus and jointly administered by F&S and iSEE paid for a $240,000 project to install geothermal energy foundations at the addition to the Ven Te Chow Hydrosystems Laboratory. The project will incorporate conventional geothermal heat exchanger loops in the foundation of a new “smart” suspension pedestrian bridge that will connect the laboratory addition to the Newmark Civil Engineering Laboratory across Main Street in Urbana. Read more about the project >>>

 

Geothermal Profiling

Funded by the Student Sustainability Committee (SSC) in 2016, Illinois State Geological Survey researchers Yu-Feng Forrest Lin and Andrew Stumpf installed a test geothermal well on the campus south farms to study the potential of using ground source heat pumps at a large scale to meet campus heating needs and reduce campus fossil fuel reliance. The results of the study will help identify the costs and possible challenges associated with adding a significant amount of geothermal heating systems to campus. Read more about the project >>>

 

Wind PPA

In December 2016, Facilities & Services announced that campus has entered into a 10-year power purchase agreement to bring more than 25,000 megawatt-hours of electricity from a wind farm in the state.

Read the F&S news release here.

Read an iSEE feature on the PPA here.

View a fact sheet about the wind farm and the purchase here.

 

Energy Farm Biomass Boiler

Faculty from all across campus are involved in energy research. Of special note is the 320-acre Energy Farm on the Urbana-Champaign campus. In addition to providing new knowledge about specialized energy crops for midwest climates, the farm also boasts a 198kW Heizomat biomass boiler, which burns the farm’s own harvest to heat the on-site research greenhouse.

Read more about the new biomass boiler on the farm here.

 

Rooftop Solar Array at Business Instructional Facility

A solar array was built atop the fourth-floor addition of the Business Instructional Facility (BIF) starting in May 2018, and construction is scheduled for completion in Summer 2019. The new 12.5 kW array will be the second rooftop installation at the facility. The current array, on top of Deloitte Auditorium, produces about 41,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) annually, – or about 3.4% of the electricity needed to power BIF for an entire year. The new array will be smaller but will supply enough power to offset the anticipated energy usage of the fourth-floor addition by contributing 15,500 kWh per year.

Read more.

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

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-) Read more about Andrew >>>
  • Faculty: Tugce Baser, Assistant Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering  (2019-) (Email) 
  • Faculty: Yun Kyu Yi, Assistant Professor of Architecture (2016-)
  • Staff: David Boehm, Facilities & Services Associate Director of Operations, Maintenance and Alterations (2017-) Read more about David >>>
  • Staff: Karl Helmink, Facilities & Services Associate Director of Energy Conservation and Retrocommissioning (2014-) Read more about Karl >>>
  • Staff: Mike Larson, Facilities & Services Director of Utility Operations (2014-) Read more about Mike >>>
  • Staff: Tim Mies, Energy Farm Operations Director (2014-) Read more about Tim >>>
  • Student: Keunhyuk “K.J.” Jang, Ph.D. Candidate in Architecture (2019-)
  • Student: Mike Reiter, Ph.D. Candidate in Civil & Environmental Engineering (2019-)
  • Student: David Antonio Rivera-Kohr, Undergraduate in Biochemistry (2019-)
  • SWATeam Clerk: Sowmiya Raju, Undergraduate in Global Studies (2019-) (Email)
View more about the ECBS SWATeam and its work from 2014 to 2019

Energy Conservation and Building Standards

Click for larger view

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. Click to view the Energy Conservation and Building Standards team’s poster from the Oct. 25, 2018, Campus Sustainability Celebration.

 

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

Click for larger view

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. Click to view the Energy Generation, Purchasing, and Distribution team’s poster from the Oct. 25, 2018, Campus Sustainability Celebration.

 

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)
X