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All Project Updates


  1. The Impact of School Buildings on Student Health and Performance: A Call for Research

    Associated Project(s): 

    In "The Impact of School Buildings on Student Health and Performance: A Call for Research" by Lindsay Baker and Harvey Bernstein (2012), authors note research results and needs about green schools.

    What do we know today? In some areas, we have strong evidence to support the notion that school buildings impact student health and their ability to learn, and we know exactly how to ensure that the impacts are positive. For example, we know how to build classrooms that minimize background noise and allow voices to be heard clearly, which will allow students to hear their teachers and protect their aural health. We have clear evidence that certain aspects of school buildings have an impact on student health and learning, such as:

    • When deprived of natural light, studies have shown that children’s melatonin cycles are disrupted, thus likely having an impact on their alertness during school (Figueiro & Rea, 2010).
    • Teachers report higher levels of comfort in their classrooms when they have access to thermal controls like thermostats or operable windows (Heschong, 2003, and Lackney, 2001).
    • According to researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, when ventilation rates are at or below minimum standards (roughly 15 cfm per student), an associated decrease of 5%–10% occurs in certain aspects of student performance tests (LBNL IAQ Resource Bank).
    • In recent studies, when ventilation rates were lowered from 17 cfm/person to 10 cfm/person researchers saw a 15% increase in symptom prevalence for Sick Building Syndrome (ibid).

    What do we need to find out? While there have been studies on the impact of environments on children—and the benefits of green buildings more broadly—more research is needed. Some of the larger research questions are:

    • When prioritization is necessary, which building projects can be expected to have larger impacts on facility quality and student health?
    • What are the impacts of high-performance school buildings, above and beyond an adequate (and potentially new) school building?
    • How do high-performance design features interact with each other? Relationships such as those between daylighting and acoustical design are understood less in terms of how they interact than in isolation.
  2. How to Make Your Campus Green presentations

    Associated Project(s): 

    Morgan Johnston met with a delegation from Mumbai, India, to tell them how we are making our campus more sustainable. 

    Jack Dempsey has been asked to speak to two different delegations this June about the same topic.    The first group is from  a group of private universities in India, sponsored by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), and is coming on a program promoted by Pradeep Khanna and his staff in Corporate Relations.  The second group is from a group of institutions in Pakistan with whom we have had a longstanding relationship:  COMSATS Institutes of Information Technology. 

  3. solar installation quote received

    From: Kevin Wolz []
    Sent: Sunday, May 26, 2013 10:48 AM
    To: Johnston, Morgan B
    Cc: Litchfield, J Bruce; Werpetinski, Valeri A; Beverage, McKenzie; Andrew Gazdziak; Wolz, Kevin James; Branham, Bruce E
    Subject: Fwd: SOLAR QUOTE

    Hi Morgan,

    I've attached the latest and best solar quote we have received for the solar array to be placed on the roof of the fruit farm building (funded by the SSC via the LINC EV SSF class). I am still waiting for (1) the system specs and schematics from this company which I will forward as soon as I get them and (2) a few more conversations with Crop Sci and ACES people once I get back in the country in June 1. However, I wanted to send this to you so you could advise on what else I need to provide and get from F&S to make this a go. 

    Thanks so much! 


  4. NCPD conceptualization mtg

    Associated Project(s): 

    Today’s meeting covered LED fixture questions and concerns:

    They presented data and layout with luminescence patterns for 2 fixtures one costing $400. 00/fixture and another $1000.00/fixture. It was mentioned that we need dimming features but no specifics on how or the criteria for that.

    Also covered were:

    • different configurations for trusses and rows of PV modules, scaffolding, and height and spacing requirements for same.
    • The module size and efficiency requirements needed to create 1600(Mwh) of power annually, along with quantities per different sq/ft
    • Drainage for the snow and rain off of the modules, along with snow removal equipment in the bay areas
    • Shading impact due to elevator towers, and overlapping rays during the winter months effecting production and how to handle these issues
    • Central inverter scheme being the most effective and the optional layouts and wiring for same.
    • DC combiner boxes layout scheme and wiring to reduce the effects of shading on power production
  5. Urbana Green Buildings Showcase June 8, 2013

    Please join the City of Urbana, Champaign County Sustainability Network (CCNet), area facilities, and the U.S. Green Building Council-Illinois Chapter for a green buildings tour to be held Saturday, June 8, 2013. This free tour will showcase energy efficient building strategies and sustainable practices. Homeowners and green building professionals will be available on-site to discuss their projects and answer your questions.
    The program will be presented as a tour. Attendees will spend 45 minutes at each location, and they will have the opportunity to ask questions and view components. The tour circuit is within an approximate 5-mile radius. 15 minutes will be allowed to travel to the next location. Please plan accordingly.


    8:00 AM - Welcome at Market Square

    8:30 AM - Hendrick House (904 W. Green Street)

    9:30 AM - Affordable Dublin Passivhaus (1302 W. Dublin Street)

    10:30 AM - Crystal View Townhomes (102 Stebbins Drive)

    11:30 AM - Vellenga Sustainable Property (704 S. Anderson)

    12:30 PM - Commencement


    Meet at City Information booth at Market at the Square (Lincoln Square Mall, Downtown Urbana).

    The Market opens at 7:00 AM and breakfast food vendors will be available.

    For additional event information, please contact Scott R. Tess, City of Urbana Sustainability Manager at 217-384-2381 or

  6. Farm Stand on the Quad begins Thursday

    Associated Project(s): 

    The Sustainable Student Farm, a program of the Student Sustainability Committee, and in cooperation with the Illini Union, will begin its weekly Farm Stand on the Quad on Thursday (May 23). The Farm Stand is open every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., selling fresh produce grown on campus. The Farm Stand is located on the south side of the Illini Union.

  7. Urbana hosts rain barrel and compost bin sale

    Associated Project(s): 

    Discounted Rain Barrel and Compost Bin Sale Scheduled for this Saturday

    The Cities of Urbana and Champaign along with the University of Illinois Extension will host a truck sale this Saturday featuring deeply discounted rain barrels and compost bins.  The May 25th sale will be held in the parking lot north of the City Building at the corner of South Vine Street and East Green Street from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

    Rain barrels, available for purchase for $55.00, help residents store water for gardening.  This practice helps reduce demand on aquifer water while reducing runoff to the city stormwater system.  Compost bins, available for purchase for $45.00, help residents turn food scrap and landscape trimmings into nutrient-rich compost for gardening while reducing waste sent to landfills.  Associated compost products including kitchen collection containers, compost aerators, and compost thermometers will also be available for purchase.

    Interested residents should park at the City Building or other designated parking areas and line up to make their purchases on foot.  After making purchases residents can load their vehicles in the alley behind the parking lot.  For faster service on the day of the sale, residents can pre-pay for their products online at

    For more information, please contact Scott Tess at 217-384-2381 or

    Attached Files: 
  8. New Shop Manager Hired for Campus Bicycle Shop

    Associated Project(s): 

    James Roedl has been hired as the new Campus Bicycle Shop Manager, replacing Ken Sutto.  James' first day of work is May 28, 2013. Ken's last day is June 14, 2013, giving the two managers roughly 3 weeks of overlap for training and orientation. The shop will remain open during regular hours, Monday-Thursday, 2-6pm and Friday, 2-5:30pm. The Campus Bicycle Shop Manager reports to the Sustainability Coordinator in Facilities & Services (Morgan Johnston), and is funded jointly by the University and The Bike Project of Urbana-Champaign. James can be contacted at

  9. kick-off meeting

    The USGBC Illinois Chapter Green Schools subcommittee has worked for a few years on greening K-12 schools.  Now they are initiating a Higher-Education subcommittee, focused on supporting Green Universities and Colleges in Illinois.  During the first subcommittee meeting, we went through this agenda:

    1. Introductions of Meeting Participants - All
    2. Overview of Sub-Committee Mission, Vision and Goals – Paul Matthews and John Brophy
    3. Discussion of Sub-Committee Structure and Team Leaders – Ed Choklek
    4. Questions and Answers Concerning Agenda Items 2 & 3 – Sub-committee Leadership Team
    5. Homework Assignments for future Sub-Committee Meetings – All
    6. Next Meeting Dates – June 17, July 15, and August 19 (3rd Monday of each month at 6:00pm)

    The kick-off meeting had the attached files associated with it. 

    Attendees: John Brophy, Paul Matthews, Ed Choklek, Stephenie Presseller, Vuk Vujovic, Candace Small, and Brian Healy in person. Jennifer Fifield, Allessandra Cairo, Morgan Johnston, Tom Shelton, Tim Gibson, Sajid Mian, Ted Renner, Missy Nergard, Craig Anz and Stella Nicolet by phone.

    The following is list of ideas for covering at future meetings:        Net Zero Waste, Greening Small Construction/Renovation Projects, Tree Campus USA, USGBC Student Chapter Support, Recyclemania, USGBC Membership Benefits to Students, Community Green Initiative, Justifying LEED Certification, LEED for Existing Buildings Operation and Maintenance, LEED/Sustainability at Liberal Arts Institutions, Green Career Fairs, Convincing College/University Leadership to adopt LEED NC, LEED ND, and/or LEED EBO&M, 2013 Green Apple Day of Service and the Relevance of LEED and Sustainability for Business and Other Non-Technical Students Across Different Disciplines.

  10. No-Mow Signage

    Associated Project(s): 

    The University campus has designated several different areas as No-Mow Zones. There is signage at these locations that explains that the area is a no-mow zone and the benefits of no-mow zones.

  11. LEED Building Signs

    Associated Project(s): 

    Each LEED certified building on campus has signage that highlights the green features of that building. All new renovation or construction provides signage with information about the green features.

    For example, the Business Instructional Facility (BIF) has a large electronic, interactive monitor that allows visitors to review each of the green features of the building.

  12. University of Illinois award application for continuous improvement

    The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was submitted (and later recognized) in the continuous improvement category for the Illinois Governor's Sustainability Award in 2013.  It is clear that this campus is serious about meeting our commitment to be carbon neutral by 2050.  This was emphasized this year, when “Energy, Environment, and Sustainability” was identified as a top priority for the Urbana-Champaign campus.  Through the many iCAP projects completed and in progress, the campus is becoming a better steward of our financial, human, and natural resources.  Our goal is to be the model of sustainability for campuses across the globe.

  13. Decaying Water Main Infrastructure

    Associated Project(s): 

    According to the EPA, about 30 percent of the pipes the United States water infrastructure are between 40 to 80 years old. The aging water system is dangerous to public health and often causes property loss and inconvenience. The University's pipe survey, which looked at the pipe system on campus property to find leaks, will help to combat this national problem at the university level.