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  1. Award Letter - Anaerobic Digester Pilot

    Food waste is the second largest category of municipal solid waste (MSW) sent to landfills in the United States, accounting for approximately 18% of the waste stream. Agricultural and garden wastes comprising of wood and yard trimmings come next in the list, accounting for approximately 15% of the waste stream. At the U of I campus as well, about 100-120 gallons of food waste is generated from one dining hall unit per week. That is roughly 0.5 cubic yards/week currently.
    Anaerobic digestion occurs naturally, in the absence of oxygen, as bacteria break down organic materials and produce biogas. The process reduces the amount of material and produces biogas, which can be used as an energy source. This technology is commonly used throughout the United States to break down sewage sludge at wastewater treatment facilities. In the past few years, there has been a movement to start adding food waste to anaerobic digesters already in place at wastewater treatment facilities.
    This proposal provides setup costs for a pilot test of an anaerobic digestion process to determine if a full-scale digester prototype is feasible.

  2. Arboretum Native Plantings Award Letter

    The University of Illinois Arboretum has historically showcased formal displays of annual ornamental plants and selected trees. There is increased interest in developing plots and displays of native plants, especially those that are beneficial to pollinators. This project will introduce a variety of such native plants into several settings at the Arboretum. The Arboretum intends to use the plantings as an outdoor laboratory that will be used for formal and informal education about the role of native plants in provision of ecosystem services such as pollination adn improving soil quality. The experience gained will lay the ground work for future expansion of the concept including large plantings within selected locations and patches of clearly labeled plants that will allow visitors to learn their names and characteristics.
    The plantings will also provide physical examples of how small plantings can be used in personal and commercial landscapes. The use of perennial native plants will help the Arboretum assess the potential to save money and other resources by using more plants that do not have to be repurchased and replanted annually. The native plants along with improved habitat conditions will support a large number of local pollinators and other insect and bird species that are increasingly threatened by loss of habitat, and provide an instructional resource for university classes and local schools.

  3. Award Letter - Operation Enduring Frigidity - FA2014

    The School of Chemical Sciences houses a data center in Noyes Laboratory which is the home to more than 30 racks of computers. These machines are used by the Chemistry Learning Center, which serves all undergraduate students in General Chemistry courses, the departments of Chemistry and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and are used constantly by faculty and graduate students. The goal of this project is to make the server room more energy efficient so as to reduce both the financial and environmental impact on the university.

    This is a multi-phase project with the plan being each phase will take steps towards energy reduction. (1) Install power monitors in the panels so we can collect data on how much electricity is consumed by the machine room, (2) Contain the cold aisle so that hot and cold air do not mix, (3) install new hardware into the HVAC units so that they can communicate with each other so they will not fight, and (4) install a heat exchanger for use during winter. Steps 3 and 4 are planned for a future date.

  4. Award Letter - Allerton Park Waste Receptacles

    In accordance with the explicit goals of the Allerton Park Climate Action Plan (apCAP), Allerton Park aims to install an augmented park-wide recycling collection system. The project is a critical component of the larger Solid Waste Diversion Plan, currently under development by Urban Planning Masters student, Tony Herhold. The goal of the project is to provide park visitors and staff with the opportunity to dispose waste in an environmentally sound, sustainable manner. By providing receptacles for the multiple waste streams accounted for in the park waste audits performed in the fall of 2014 and spring of 2015 alongside new waste collection protocols, park staff will now be able to recycle or compost waste that would otherwise be directed to the landfill. Allerton seeks funding for nine Super Sorter receptacles form Busch Systems, based in Canada. The four-stream receptacles are built from 66-99% recycled plastic materials and are themselves 100% recyclable. The remaining funding will go toward purchasing indoor receptacles for various office locations throughout the park as well as signage for the receptacles. The goal of the project will be to make it as easy, or easier, to recycle waste than it is to throw it into the landfill waste receptacle. Clear signage signaling what types of waste should be deposited into the specific receptacles as well as deterrent signage (e.g. “LANDFILL WASTE” on trash cans instead of the typical “Waste”) will help to deter improper waste disposal. The goal of this project is to further develop the relationship between the university, the Illini Algae Club and its students, the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department as well as other departments, and the Abbott Power Plant. Using a pre-established waste to algae remediation system used in experimental design, we will apply this system to a real-world use. We will do this through the use of a semester project focused on remediation of university wastewater that can be scaled up into a larger scale project in the future that the club can build off of. Allerton’s goal is to provide the foundation of active student involvement for which our organization can grow.

    The project calls for clear, concise signage and information pamphlets/posters on and around the waste stations. The goal is to make it as easy, or easier, to recycle than to dispose of trash in a landfill waste receptacle (which will still be available), and with access to an array of receptacles for new waste streams, park visitors and staff should have no issues.

  5. Award Letter - Biomass for Vermicomposting

    The SSC awarded the Sustainable Student Farm a grant in 2013 to build a transplant greenhouse that also housed a vermicomposting pilot porject with Dining Services. This was meant to test the feasability of collecting pre-consumer food waste from the Dining hall facilities and converting it into worm compost for use on the student farm. In its first year of operation the greenhouse has been heated soley from propane, which is the most common and simplest heating system for these types of greenhouses. The nature of the worms used in this type of composting require an ideal temperature range of 40-80F. In order to attain this, the greenhouse needs to be heated during the winter months.

    In 2014 the greenhouse consumed approximately 1600 gallons of propane for heating. At an average price of $2 this equals $3200/year in heating costs. By comparison if the biomass furnace is used and can replace 80% of the heating requirements that would only cost $1664/year in heating costs. The main reaplacement fuel would be #2 Shell Corn @ 15% moisture. This is readily available in the midwest and costs on average about $3.5/bushel. It would take about 366 bushels of corn to replace the BTU’s provided by the propane. The nature of managing the biomass furnace would allow us to replace only 80% of the heating requirements for the greenhouse. Future development of these furnaces could one day replace the requirement completely. However, the propane system will be kept as a back up.

  6. Award Letter - Allerton Toilet

    In keeping with recent sustainability projects currently underway, Allerton Park would like to install a Clivus Multrum compost toilet system at the park’s Schroth Trailhead, providing park volunteers, trail-hikers and other visitors the ability to use the restroom in an environmentally sustainable and convenient manner without needing to travel all the way to the Visitor Center to do so. Allerton would like to install permanent restroom facilities at the Schroth trailhead, replacing the need to rent portable restrooms for every outdoor event or volunteer day. The addition of the Clivus Multrum compost toilet will provide Allerton with a much-needed restroom facility located at the Schroth Trailhead while at the same time providing University of Illinois students and members of the general public the opportunity to learn about the technology available that can help society manage waste sustainably. Additionally, the compost created by the compost toilet may be used directly on park grounds or integrated into the compost system at the Diversified Farm at the park’s northeast edge, augmenting the quality of the present compost system.

  7. Award Letter - IFSI Filtration

    This project is aimed at ensuring that water runoff from firefighter training at the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute is not introducing carbonaceous material into a nearby stream. This project will improve sustainability in that the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute will ensure that water leaving the training ground is clean and non-turbid. Doing so will avoid violating the Illinois Environmental Protection Act, and will allow IFSI to continue to serve the over 60,000 students it reaches annual on the campus in Champaign and throughout Illinois. It will exceed campus standards because this project is a proactive solution, focusing on solving a problem that has not yet resulted in an EPA citation, local complaint, or significant environmental issue. This project addresses improvements necessary to ensure that only clean water is discharged. Other solutions have been investigated, and this solution has the broadest support and is the most complete solution.

  8. Award Letter - Gadget Garage

    ISTC proposes to launch a center, using seed funding from SSC, where UI students and staff will bring their personal electronic devices for assistance with assessment and repair. We call this center the Illini Gadget Garage (hereafter referred to as “Gadget Garage” or “Garage”).
    Using the same “collaborative repair” model employed at the campus bike shop and MakerSpace Urbana (http://makerspaceurbana.org/projects/computer-help-desk/), clients with devices in need of repair/troubleshooting will work together with Gadget Garage student staff and volunteers to perform the necessary device assessment and maintenance activities. Depending upon the situation, activities may range from guidance on how to make your computer/device run faster to actual repair and replacement of components.

    Desired outcomes for students, staff, and the community include:

    1. Hands on experiences for UI students, not only in terms of performing repairs, but also in process documentation and fostering sustainable behavior on a larger scale through the iFixit Technical Writing Project; marketing and business operations; lessons in industrial design for repair and recyclability; and in environmental education and communication.
    2. Increased awareness of electronics laws and recycling options.
    3. Increased awareness of sustainability issues surrounding electronic products throughout their lifecycles.
    4. Decreased misconceptions regarding the disposability of devices and prohibitive complexity of electronics repair and maintenance.
    5. Contribution to the overall efforts to make ours a more sustainable campus with a reduced carbon footprint.
  9. Award Letter - Baseline Waste Characterization

    The primary deliverable of this proposed project is to provide a detailed waste characterization assessment for three facilities located throughout the Urbana-Champaign campus of the University of Illinois. Lincoln Avenue Residence Halls (LAR), Business Instructional Facility (BIF), Roger Adams Laboratory(RAL) are facilities that will be characterized.
    This proposal builds upon the initial waste characterizations conducted in the Spring of 2013 for four buildings: Henry Administration Building, Alice Campbell Alumni Center, Swanlund Administration Building, and Illini Union Bookstore.
    The objective of the assessments is to characterize the waste generated from a Lab building, a classroom building and a housing building. The primary goal of the waste stream characterization study is to provide UIUC with an accurate and precise baseline measurement of the solid waste generated at each facility type. ISTC will assist F&S in identifying and implementing practices and technologies that will reduce waste, increase landfill diversion, increase recycling revenues, and decrease waste disposal costs. These efforts will help UIUC to become an example of a sustainable campus, and will provide new learning and teaching opportunities for the university and community at large. The ancillary deliverables are various direct educational programing opportunities both structured as well as passive.

  10. Award Letter - Union Water Fountains

    Currently, the Illini Union has a variety of water fountains in the facility, totaling 16 units. Select fountains were retrofitted in 2009 with “goose-neck” style bottle filler fixtures, however these are susceptible to damage and not filtered. Ten units in public areas are funded for replacement in this project with Elkay fountains that have built in bottle refill stations. These water fountains will make it much easier to fill water bottles than the current water fountains and provide filtered, cool water to students and guests. These fill stations will also track the number of bottles saved from the land fill and will provide this information on an LED screen at the top of the refill station. The LED screens on each water fountain can be used as an educational resource for all users. These new Elkay water fountains will encourage everyone to refill their water bottles because each unit provides a real time digital display of the number of bottles saved from the landfill.

  11. Award Letter - Japan House Bikes

    Japan House and the University of Illinois Arboretum request funding to provide bike racks on their grounds. There are currently no available bike racks in the 57-acre Arboretum and Japan House grounds. Japan House is the site of University classes and the Arboretum is frequently used as a resource for classes from units such as Landscape Architecture, and Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. In addition, the Arboretum and the Japan House Gardens are a major recreational resource for students, faculty and staff and the general public. The Japan House offices are located at the site and students routinely ask where they should lock up their bikes. Currently, with no bike racks, bikers are forced to lock bikes to benches, lampposts, etc. Funding is supplied for the installation of two six loop bike racks and pavers (to ensure that the surface is permeable), and related biking signage.

  12. Award Letter - KCPA Lighting

    The replacement of incandescent lighting in the audience chambers of each of the three major performance spaces in KCPA has a threefold purpose. Its primary purpose is to remove from service incandescent lighting that has been in place for nearly 50 years and is very energy inefficient. Beyond the energy efficiency issue is the efficiency of personnel who maintain the facility because of 1500 light bulbs in question that have to be changed frequently, plus the safety issues involved in accessing many of the ceilings that are 35 to 56 feet above the floor. With new LED lighting, lamps will require replacement only once every several years. Yet another advantage would be the decrease in cooling load due to the lower operating temperatures of the LED lamps.This is a marked improvement over the current weekly to monthly requirement, not to mention the decrease in energy consumption of the LED lamps over the incandescent lamps which are rated from 25 W to 500 W. The goal and the outcome are to increase energy efficiency, decrease labor requirements, and increase safety conditions.

  13. Award Letter - Makers Bike Seat

    The Makers UIUC Bike Seat Project is a student-centered venture to design, produce, and distribute an environmentally-friendly and economical bike seat cover in order to promote biking on campus. By providing a way of protecting bicycle seats, we are addressing the problems of biking in adverse weather conditions. Our intention is not only to design a product made with environmentally friendly materials, but to encourage the use of eco-friendly transportation as a whole.

  14. Award Letter - Residential Recycling

    This project was developed by Eco-mmunity, a team of students passionate about sustainability, after noticing that students were not recycling within the residence halls. After further research, interviews, and observations of facilities and processes we noticed that it all came down to students’ convenience. After completing a pilot study we recognized that if students had the option to sort their trash and recycling in their room, they were much more likely to participate in recycling. With recycling bins placed in each student’s individual room, alongside their trash bin, students could conveniently dump them into their corresponding bins in the trash rooms at the end of the hallway. The goal of this project is to create positive long lasting habits that residents and students will continue to use after leaving University Housing. We also hope that this larger awareness and convenience of recycling will stimulate and promote more recycling around campus, as well as set a standard for other non-University Housing and private certified residencies to follow.

  15. Award Letter - Solar Car

    This project is to build and test a scaled-down prototype of the electrical system of a solar car. The major parts of this prototype are the solar array, maximum power point trackers (MPPT), rechargeable batteries, and a load. The solar array will be made of flexible silicon crystalline solar cells encapsulated (to protect from debris and enhance performance) and mounted on a contoured composite panel that mimics the surface of our car body. The applicant will design and build our own MPPT which is a variable DC/DC boost converter that raises the voltage of their array. The MPPT has a feedback loop control to ensure maximum output from the array under different insolation and temperatures. The rechargeable batteries will be Li-ion batteries that will act as a buffer energy source when sunlight is not available or is insufficient to power the system. Although Li-ion batteries have a high energy density, they require a battery management system to ensure safe and optimal operation. Thus, they will purchase a battery management system that is suitable for our car. Lastly, the energy generated by the solar array will power a load, which will be a motor planned to be borrowed from another team.

  16. Award Letter - Bike Share

    In Spring 2011, SSC funded a bike sharing feasibility study, and it established a three-tier approach to bike sharing. However, it was found that no improvements to developing a bike sharing could begin until the bike infrastructure was significantly improved. In the last 4 years, there have been vast improvements and new infrastructure plans are continuing to be implemented.

    The UIUC Pilot Bike Share program is a proposal for a two year pilot bike share program. This pilot program will be a 50 bike fleet. It will be using a new approach to bike sharing through smart locks. Smart locks contain all the technology for the bike-sharing program linked to a smart phone. The smart locks will allow for versatility in the type of bikes to use within the system and where the bikes could be located. iSEE is exploring a collaboration with BitLock for the smart locks and Neutral Cycle for the bikes.

    This two-year pilot bike-sharing program is in with collaboration with CUMTD, City of Urbana, City of Champaign, and CUPHD (CU Bike Share Task Force) in creating a bike share program on campus that can be scalable into the community. The desired outcome is to design a bike share program that is equitable and gives students the best access to traveling around campus, while reducing our carbon footprint.

  17. Award Letter - Sonified Sustainability Festival

    Global Arts Performance Initiatives is pleased to present a final proposal for a series of sustainability-themed arts programs in the 2015-16 academic year that serve the educational mission of the Student Sustainability Committee. The principal event of the proposal is Sonified Sustainability Fest – a celebration of ecological music and arts, presented in the lobby, Stage 5 and amphitheater of Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

    This all ages event, offered admission free to campus and community audiences, will feature live music and interactive art making focused on sustainable practices in the arts, accompanied by an information fair that will provide greater visibility of local projects, programs and organizations working towards a sustainable future. National and local musicians performing on original instruments made from recycled and repurposed materials will be showcased at the fest, as well as in two preceding concerts of the Sudden Sound Concert Series at Krannert Art Museum, all scheduled as part, or promotion of Sustainability Week 2015 and EarthWeek 2016.

  18. Award Letter - Demo Cargo Bike

    The idea for the project came after noticing most trucks on campus are only hauling small loads compared to the capacity they were made for. We believe we could switch many transportation tasks over to human powered vehicles. We are hoping we can use a demonstration cargo bike to show different departments how they can use sustainable transportation rather than large fossil fuel powered trucks. We want the departments to see how useful cargo bikes can be and then buy their own. This would not only save money, reduce pollution and congestion, but open up opportunities for student workers who do not have driver’s licenses to do these tasks. This would open up more jobs for students on campus as well as let them participate in sustainable transportation which they could then take and implement after they graduate.

  19. Award Letter and Report - Styrofoam Densifier

    This project is intended to permanently set up styrofoam (expanded polystyrene, or EPS) recycling on the UIUC campus for the first time. This project aims to emulate a very successful program at the University of Wisconsin at Madison; some funding has already been secured for student support and supplies from UW as part of an EPA grant that students and postdocs there have received. The key difference between UIUC and UW is that UW had the benefit of a local styrofoam recycler, and UIUC does not have that benefit: the closest recycler is in Indianapolis and the cost of transporting undensified EPS is too high for this to be viable. This project will establish a partnership with Community Resource, Inc. in Urbana, who have agreed to handle all of the logistics of picking up styrofoam from large containers (“gaylords”) in campus buildings, transporting it to their site, feeding it into a machine called a “densifier”, and selling the densified material to a company in Chicago. Community Resource, Inc. will in return pay back a portion of the proceeds from the sales in order to support student interns on campus who will promote and support the program. The goal of this project is to establish a self-supporting program that will ultimately capture most of the styrofoam waste from our campus and recycle it, while supporting student interns to oversee and continually improve the program.

  20. Award Letter - VDL Recycling

    The Veterinary Diagnostic Lab (VDL) at the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) functions similar to a human medical institution, in that it generates waste that is not recyclable due to biosafety considerations. This is an unfortunate waste. This project seeks to begin recycling some of VDL’s plastics. This project’s goal is to capture the waste from their work that involves single use sterile pipette tip boxes, which are safe to be recycled. The VDL typically disposes of 12lbs a week of clean plastics in the form of pipette tip boxes; VDL operates 52 weeks a year, generating over 600lbs a year of recyclable plastics. With funding from the SSC, VDL can take 600lbs of plastic out of the waste stream using a clean pipette tip recycling program.

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