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Projects Updates for Topic: SWATeams


  1. Update from Ben McCall

    Dear SWATeam Members,

    The iCAP Working Group (iWG) met today, and there are a few items I wanted to transmit to you.

    1) Attached is the approved template that your teams can use to submit formal recommendations for policies, initiatives, or studies, as described in the charge letter you received yesterday.  The iWG meetings this fall are 9/25, 10/30, 11/20, 12/4, and 12/18.  In order for a recommendation to be considered at a particular iWG meeting, it would be best if you could submit it roughly 2 weeks before that meeting.

    2) As a reminder, the charge letter asks that you update the spring reports on our campus progress towards existing iCAP goals to include Fiscal Year 2014 data.  While Evan's charge letter gave you a deadline of September 30, the iWG would be grateful if you might be able to submit these updated reports by September 22, so the iWG can review them at its September 25 meeting.

    3) Also attached is a first rough outline for the 2015 iCAP; please take a look through and consider what we are asking each SWATeam to provide. 

    At the end of the document are some thoughts about the key concepts of goals, objectives, and strategies that the iWG envisions as the core of the document.  Your suggested revisions to the iCAP are due by October 22, Campus Sustainability Day, on which representatives from each of your teams will lead a public discussion about the proposed goals, objectives, and strategies.

    This is going to be a really exciting semester, as we chart the future for campus sustainability!  If you have any questions or concerns about the process, please don't hesitate to ask.

    Thanks so much in advance for your efforts,


    P.S. For ease of use and to keep iSEE staff in the loop, I'd appreciate it if you could use the aliases in this email's header

    (swat-* when communicating with your team.

  2. Fall 2014 Charge Letter

    Dear Colleagues,

    Attached please find the formal charge letter for the SWATeams, along with the campus sustainability procedures approved by the Chancellor earlier this year.  I expect to be able to provide you with additional guidance about the format for the revised Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP) following the next meeting of the iCAP Working Group this Thursday.

    We have very important work ahead of us this semester, and I look forward to working with you as we chart the future for campus sustainability at Illinois!




    Professor Benjamin J. McCall

    Associate Director for Campus Sustainability Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  3. F&S receives Wind PPA recommendation


    We contacted UA. They're supposed to give us a RFP schedule next week. That should give us a better idea of the timeline.

    -Al Stratman

    From: Evan DeLucia []
    Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2014 5:39 PM
    To: McCall, Benjamin
    Cc: Stratman, Allan
    Subject: SWAT report on energy generation


    In the absence of a fully formulated SWAT process - iWG and the Sustainability Council have yet to be formed - I forwarded the May 2014 position paper from the 'energy generation' team directly to Al Stratman for consideration.

    Under the SWAT process, the teams should be... "developing and recommending specific actions or initiatives the campus should under take to meet iCAP targets..." The energy generation SWAT did a nice job of recommending a specific action that would help meet our targets.

    To paraphrase, Al responded...

    • the concept of a PPA is meritorious and has potential
    • F&S is evaluating this plan
    • some of the issues that need to be considered include pricing options, length of agreement constraints, REC pricing alternatives
    • F&S is working to obtain hard data on pricing and other details before moving forward

    I've taken the liberty of copying Al to be sure I didn't misrepresent his response to me.

    Al, do you have any idea of what might be a reasonable time frame would be for completing an analysis of the feasibility, costs, and benefits of purchasing wind power for campus?



  4. Recommendation: Wind PPA

    Here is the first recommendation from the Energy Generation SWATeam.

    "We strongly endorse obtaining Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with one or more Wind Farms as soon as possible.  It is unlikely that a better opportunity to purchase renewable energy will present itself in the foreseeable future."

    Attached Files: 
  5. Earth Week note

    Dear SWATeam Members, A couple of important reminders and points:

    1. Next Monday, starting at 9am is the iCAP Forum, to be held in the Illini Union Rooms A & B. Please join us for whatever time you are available that morning, so you can interact with members of the campus community and get their insights/feedback.
    2. Each team will need to present a <5 minute presentation on their assessment. Hopefully each team has already decided who will be its representative? These presentations will begin around 9:30.
    3. There are a lot of exciting Earth Week events you may wish to attend -- see
    4. I would greatly appreciate it if you could send me at least a draft of your assessment by tomorrow, so that I can begin the process of putting together a poster for Monday afternoon's symposium.
    5. Campus is still finalizing a procedure to handle recommendations from the SWATeams, but we are converging on this.

    Once Earth Week is complete, I look forward to engaging your teams in broader discussions of where the campus should be going, and revising the iCAP itself. I hope that the teams can remain active over the summer (if at a more relaxed pace), using Skype as necessary. Thanks again for all your hard work!



  6. Notes from intro meeting

    Energy generation SWATeam 

    Intros Ben McCall, Tim Mies, Nate Welch, Stephanie Lage, Drew O'Brien, Ben Beeber, Morgan Johnston, Mike Larson, and Scott Willenbrock (chair). Scott did house and wants to work on changing campus.  BJM thanks. All busy people and really great that you are willing to participate in this. ISEE is newest incarnation of sustainability on campus. Have ear of administration. Set up personally by wise. Something she cares about. When I took the job in dec, obvious I can't do it alone. Mission is icap. Commitment we made in 2010 to move to climate neutrality by 2050. Very big challenge. Especially in energy generation. Also one on conservation and bldg standards.  Long term vision is to recommend policy changes to campus for how to move forward with sustainability across the campus. Don't have a mechanism in place for taking these recs and funding streams. At vc level soon to be at chancellor level. So starting with evaluate where we are now. This team can evaluate. And identify actions campus could take to meet 2015 goals. We should use the word could for now.  Once mechanism is set up, then can up charge the teams scope. Team can spawn studies Etc to make progress. Core group of six and ultimately surrounded by consultation group to feed in ideas info feedback. Also public input open sessions for whole campus.  Ben remember about ten hours per week. Org mtgs. Background research. Gather and synthesize info. Also faculty chair of group. BJM here to kick you off and let you go. Mostly won't need him cause he doesn't know enough to be an active participant to the group.  Specific deliverable. Short report or white paper before April 21. Discussions that week about campus sustainability. Prefer to have his talk vetted by a group of people. Also could have public discussions that week.  Larger role of SWATeams. Vision of iSEE will be essentially permanent teams. Annually reevaluate progress. Every five years review targets. Ongoing effort for campus. Really here at the beginning.  Scott. Trying to get mechanical engineering prof to join us.  Ben please set doodle for next week and then three weeks for now. That to be regular meeting time. Not going to meet spring break. Four working weeks to produce this report. Verbatim from icap targets and strategies. Comments non judgemental. Just statements of fact. Here's where we are at. Just factual. Not criticism or applause just fact.  Solar farm. Sentence about timeline should be removed. Solar farm speculating about what's going to happen in the future is not really in our purview. Mike says, The project is in progress with a completion date not yet certain. Nate says this is significant land use. My group is interested in app. Sequestration infrastructure. Going to need a big pond. Rice production and similarities between that and algae. Co2 bubbling sequestration in ground. Have bubble size from a four year old study. From a large perspective there's a 20 acre demand in motion. So that's a feasible technology for rooftop and parking decks etc. Scott you are talking about stage two discussion. That's a later discussion. Are we accurately describing the campus.  By fy15 means what? Start or end. Generation by fy15. During fy15, 5% electricity from renewables. Compared to fy08 during that. If no further action what is destined to happen. Fy 14 is almost done.  So assessing where we are now and using that to see what could be done in fy15. Drew. Talking about renewable energy certificates. Do recs count for the five percent? BJM. My understanding if you were to buy green power from wind farm. Buy recs separately from electrons. Would count per BJM.  UI is pre buying power through hedge program. Reverse auction in April for fy 15-17. Mike 15-25% pricing info and deciding ahead of time. Buying electrons and recs together. Spirit of docs is offsets should be last resort. Do what we can to reduce emissions themselves. And use offsets to meet targets. Recs are dirt cheap right now. drew sticky issue. What percentage would that bring us to? About 2%.  Tim solar projects decathlon houses? Feed into campus. I hotel. Solar charging batteries etc. All over the place. Ask Morgan for arrays on campus. Ask why it doesn't include solar decathlon houses? Two now another in progress. Tim will find out status of one at energy farm. Connected to Ameren. Paid by campus. Mike I hotel. Tim AG.  BJM 4. Cease all investment to increase the lifetime. Abott is doing maintenance and repairs to be able to use the assets. Scott AEI report in progress. BJM showed Scott a prelim draft. ICAP asked for the report to be done by 2012.  Mike can provide the exact dates. Has been going on over a year. He will give the PO info.  KCPA array. Size? Study impact. Want this to have an upside to it. Maybe slower than icap wanted. Should acknowledge the efforts being made. Nate to understand what's in motion currently. Mike can outline what we have tried. Study of biomass available in area. Test burn of wood hips. Tried to figure out how to burn Miscanthus. Have design for a biomass feed. Have coal stoker boilers. Set up for rocks. Try to put in leafy materials. Have a conceptual design. Have gone down a lot of paths none of which have been successful.  

  7. first meeting

    Scott Willenbrock provided the attached file as a starting discussion point for the team.


    Dear committee members,

         Our first task is to evaluate progress towards reaching the iCAP fiscal year 2015 goals.  iCAP specifies various goals to be reached “by fiscal year 2015”, which means by July 1, 2014. 

          I have tried to summarize the progress, as I understand it, in two pages, attached to this email.   Some numbers I do not know, so I wrote XX.   We will discuss this summary at our first meeting on Thursday morning, among other things.



  8. February 2014 meeting notes from first Student Sustainability Leadership Council (SSLC) meeting

    The first formal meeting with the Student Sustainability Leadership Council (SSLC) under iSEE's guidance was an introductory meeting about iSEE and the proposed iCAP SWATeams. 

    The meeting was called by and coordinated by:

    • Ben McCall – Associate Director for Campus Sustainability, iSEE
    • Madhu Khanna – Associate Director for Education and Outreach, iSEE
    • Nishant Makhijani – iSEE Intern, Vice - Chair Student Sustainability Committee

    The key points discussed included an overview of iSEE's goals and structure, education and outreach plans, and an overview of the SWATeams.