Shining a Light on Illini Lights Out

Illini Lights Out (ILO) is back! ILO is a monthly opportunity for anyone and everyone to get involved with energy conservation on campus. During ILO, volunteers gather on the Quad on a Friday evening to turn off the lights in campus buildings for the weekend. 

This event kicked off in 2016 as a project organized by iSEE’s Energy Conservation and Building Standards SWATeam. With a grant provided by the Student Sustainability Committee (SSC), the event became a monthly occurrence. Although ILO had to take more than a yearlong hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the re-launch is back and better than ever! 

The first event of the semester was Sept. 17. A total of 86 students participated, and 2,636 bulbs were switched off. This single event conserved 4,547.1 kilowatt hours of energy, 7.561 metric tons of carbon dioxide, and $382.41 in energy bills. Since the program began, Illini Lights Out has saved 198.4 metric tons of CO2 and $27,640. That’s the equivalent of the greenhouse gas emissions produced by 44 passenger vehicles driven for an entire year!

iSEE’s Jenna Schaefer is the Illini Lights Out intern. She communicates with students and coordinates with faculty members to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Schaefer is also in charge of running the final calculations after every event.

“My favorite aspect of planning and participating in this event is seeing how many students come out to help make a tangible impact,” she said. “It’s incredibly gratifying to see so much student participation.”

The goals of ILO are to save energy and demonstrate the ease of doing so. In the long term, the hope is that the event will spread enough awareness that ILO is no longer needed. Simple tasks like turning the lights off when you’re the last person to leave a room can go a long way.

The next ILO event will be 5:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22 — and this one will be a pre-Halloween special in which students can don costumes if they want.

Show up, bring your friends, and make a difference! Sign up here >>>


— Article by iSEE Communications Intern Kratika Tandon