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All Project Updates


  1. Students and Faculty Work Together on Education in Sustainability

    Associated Project(s): 

    F&S worked with the College of Business’ Director of Information Management to provide detailed solar data from the Business Instructional Facility to a graduate student in ECE.

    A team of MBA students in Madhu Viswanathan’s course worked with the Campus Bike Project to make recommendations about how the Campus Bike Project could become financially self-supporting.

    Scholarship of Sustainability 10-part series began.

    The Engineering 315, Learning in the Community UI Bikes (UIB) section submitted their project proposal for what the class will be working on this semester.  The UIB class has divided into three groups which will tackle three different bicycle-related projects this semester: 1.) the continuation of the bike sharing market analysis started last semester, including a campus-wide survey and several targeted focus groups; 2) the development of an online, interactive campus bicycle parking map using Google Maps; and 3) testing out various marketing tactics to encourage bike riders to park their bikes legally at designated bike parking, rather than on trees, signs, ramps, or fences.

  2. Press on U of I Sustainability Efforts

    Associated Project(s): 

    Staff continued working with the Office for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education (MSTE) on the sustainability portal.  The portal will host a database of the iCAP/sustainability projects for campus, with searchable details about the projects, people, funding, and metrics.

    Staff met with Inside Illinois to develop an article about campus sustainability.  The article is online at

    The Alumni Magazine included a story about being a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly University.

  3. Abbott Power granted permit

    Abbott Power Plant was granted an IEPA permit to co-fire biomass with coal until June 30, 2013.  F&S intends to do some test burns this spring with wood chips.  Wood chips have a good track record in stoker boilers, and we are fairly confident we can demonstrate a successful trial.  In addition, wood chips appear to be one of the most cost effective sources of biomass available at this time.

  4. Energy Dashboard Presentation at Behavior Change/ Energy Efficiency Conference

    Associated Project(s): 

    The Energy Dashboard Project will be a highlighted project at the Behavior Change/ Energy Efficiency Conference.

    Illinois Energy Dashboard project, collaboration with the Environmental Change Institute (ECI), Student Sustainability Committee (SSC) and the Department of Facilities and Services (F & S).

    This project has been in the works for over a year, with a commitment to provide clearly visible, usable and understandable information to students and staff of chosen University buildings about energy consumption (electrical, chilled water and steam).  We are working with InStep Software, Inc., the University of Illinois vendor for the management and predictive analytics software for energy use on campus.   We are now in Phase One of implementation, the design of the look and content of our public Energy Dashboard site, testing and the public launching of the first version of the Ilini Energy dashboard (Phase two will support the installation of real time meters in about 10 – 12 builings).

    This is one in many of the continuing efforts across campus to pull together and unify the significant educational (and research) efforts of departments and Colleges in reducing negative human impact and enhancing sustainability locally, nationally and globally. 

    This project is intended to have a threefold effect:

    ·         Provide real time information to develop awareness and cultural/behavioral changes in how energy is used (not only in the buildings featured but in all aspects of life).

    ·         Provide information for faculty and students in research.

    ·         Provide details for building staff to better use resources and energy, and make plans for building adaption in ways that may decrease usage over time.

  5. Jim Sims named as Planner for connection to campus grid

    Associated Project(s): 

    Because the Solar Farm is being managed by Purchasing, through the RFP process and contracts, there is not a Planner assigned to the entire Solar Farm project. However, the portion of the project that does relate to campus infrastructure is the connection to the Campus Electrical Grid. That will be under the responsibility of Jim Sims as the Planner.

  6. F&S and ECI Responsibilities

    Associated Project(s): 

    The Environmental Change Institute (ECI) and Facilities and Services (F&S) are working in conjunction on the Energy Dashboard with funding from the Student Sustainability Committee. The SSC has set for responsibilities for each group to complete the project.


    The Environmental Change Institute is to coordinate meetings with representatives of major stakeholder groups (ECI, SSC, F&S, etc.) for the purpose of development, communication and clarity concerning the scope of the project, funding expenditures, review of phases, and deliverables; coordinate selection of appropriate building for building metering system upgrades that will be providing real-time data to the dashboard display system, assuming that the connections are technically or technologically feasible; develop content for website, including incorporation of new buildings, with input from stakeholders; coordinate marketing, communications with stakeholders, and progress reports; and compose and develop a final project report with input from F&S and other stakeholders as required.


    Facilities and Services responsibilities are implementing and launching the Energy Dashboard module; providing technical support for metering, direct digital connections and dashboard website; purchasing software and installing that software with funds designated in the SSC award letter; determining data connections, server needs, IITAA compliance issues for website; communicating regularly with ECI concerning implementation issues and progress updates; installing and connecting upgraded building metering systems; and determining technical feasibility of connecting building metering systems to Dashboard and supporting systems.


    The SSC report also included a schedule extension.       

    Attached Files: 
  7. Land Assignment for Solar Farm

    Associated Project(s): 

    ACES will transfer assignment of 27.8 acres at Kruse Farm to Facilities & Services to provide property for the solar farm installation. ln exchange, Facilities & Services will provide ACES Crop Sciences with $84,250 to re-establish new organic acres as replacement for their research

    Location of land identified for this purpose is near the southwest corner of Windsor Road and First Street, bounded by the railroad tracks to the west and First Street to the east. A total oÍ 27 .B acres has been identified, including the homestead area, as illustrated on the attached map. lf additional acreage is needed, up to a total of 30 acres, land directly east of the homestead area may be made available.

    NRES is in the process of developing this farmland to meet organic designation/standards and relocation of this activity will be required in order to accommodate making the land available to F&S. The Department of Crop Sciences has agreed to provide similar acreage to NRES for this purpose. The location of the replacement land will be in the southern portion of the Cruse Farm and is reflected in the 27 acres identified as C1000W 14 acres and C100E 13 acres in the attached map.

    To facilitate relocation and to compensate the Department of Crop Sciences, F&S agrees to provide $550/acre for each of 5 years, plus $10,000. Funds would be provided beginning FY12 as outlined below. After the 5-year period, any compensation required by the Department of Crop Sciences will become the responsibility of the Department of NRES.

  8. info from EMC^2

    Associated Project(s): 

    With appropriate controls and monitoring systems this building and all others on campus could be integrated for additional efficiencies and advantages that go far beyond simply reducing electrical loads:

    • All campus power generators and energy storage could be utilized more reliably and efficiently
    • Buying and selling power over the grid could realize additional savings
    • Researchers and students could use data from the campus grid for modeling software systems
    • Researchers could develop proven secure and reliable dynamic load control systems
    • Researchers could beta-test large systems developed elsewhere
    • Researchers and students could explore cyber security technologies in new ways
    • Researchers could further develop trustworthy validating systems

    A partnership of researchers and campus power plant administrators* envision a way to very significantly enhance the role ILLINOIS has on the national stage of grid modernization, by using our own campus grid as a fully functioning and operational beta test site. ILLINOIS is unlike any other university, having an array of key complementary assets that make such an alliance compelling:

    • A very significant financial commitment to improving campus energy infrastructure
    • Diversified power generation capabilities (CHP, renewable energy sources)
    • Significant energy storage capacity
    • A for-profit university related organization that enables buying and selling electricity
    • A microgrid with a single point of contact with the national grid
    • Internationally recognized experts in computer science, electrical engineering, and bio fuels
    • History of cooperation between academic and administrative departments
    • Established institutes like the Information Trust Institute that are dedicated to developing trustworthy systems, validating systems intended to be trustworthy, cyber security, autonomous engineering systems, technical training and knowledge distribution.
    • Established highly-trained support staff with a workload capacity for growth
    • Strong reputation that draws top student talent; commitment to education excellence
  9. Mark Barcus will be F&S point of contact


    My name is Mark Barcus and I am Dean Henson’s new assistant and he has asked me to work on the SSC weatherization project. I would like to set up a meeting with you and Morgan Johnston and myself to see where we are at. When would be a good time to meet?



    Mark A. Barcus

    Assistant Superintendent

    Building Maintenance

    University of Illinois

    Facilities & Services



  10. Continuing Partnerships and Engagement

    Associated Project(s): 

    The Office of Sustainability hosted the first monthly CCNet Sustainability meeting of 2012 on January 19. The meeting had 39 attendees, including faculty, staff, students, local government employees, and members of the community. There was a presentation and discussion led by SEDAC about the organization’s work and national energy trends.  CCNet Meetings will continue throughout 2012, taking place at noon on the third Thursday of each month, at the Natural Resources Building, room 101.

    Sustainability employees from campus, Urbana, Champaign and the Regional Planning Commission (RPC) continue to collaborate. In January, we discussed each agency’s respective greenhouse gas inventories. It was decided that Champaign and Urbana will include any University emissions which fall within their respective jurisdictional boundaries in their city-wide reports. For the purposes of local reporting, the University will be considered a separate entity that overlays both cities, similar to any other business entity, rather than a distinct jurisdiction. It was also decided that a separate meeting will be necessary to specifically address transportation-related emissions and how each entity is tracking and reporting on these.

    The YMCA/YWCA on Wright Street requested a meeting to discuss their sustainability efforts and how the University may be able to assist. They are working on building improvements and changes to their parking and outdoor space. We gave them suggestions of people they may want to contact for input and advice.

    Sustainability staff attended an Illinois Green Business Association (IGBA) networking event and talked with IGBA board members about potential future collaborations.

    The City of Champaign Recycling Coordinator requested information about the impacts of plastic and paper bags on campus facilities and the campus waste stream. She also requested letters of support for a bag ban from student environmental groups.

    Sustainability staff attend monthly conference calls/webinars of the Governor’s Green Universities and Colleges subcommittee.  In January, there was a presentation at ISTC about weatherization of campus buildings, and the disconnect between LEED certification and weatherization practices.

  11. Sustainability Portal

    Associated Project(s): 

    The OS is working with MSTE to develop the Illinois Sustainability Portal, an online hub for sustainability-related information on the Urbana-Champaign campus.  We met with MSTE several times in January to develop the site architecture and database structure for the site. A preview of the site will be shared during Earth Week (April 16-20). When complete, the portal will be the go-to place for people to learn about all iCAP projects and goals, to submit ideas for consideration, and to research historical data about emissions and other sustainability metrics.  Additionally, project leaders will be able to report to the OS on their progress and plans. We envision this to be an incredibly useful tool going forward.

  12. Progress on Solar Farm

    Associated Project(s): 

    A fact sheet and frequently asked questions document were developed by F&S for neighbors of the proposed solar farm on South Farms. In February, the documents will be accompanied by a cover letter and sent to the mayors/leadership of surrounding jurisdictions, as well as residents in the immediate vicinity of the proposed location, to inform them of the proposed development.   Once the Request for Proposal (RFP) is complete and the Chancellor’s Capital Review Committee approves the project, the RFP will be published. The installation is tentatively scheduled for this fall.


  13. Lighting Retrofit Gains Further Funding, Smart Grid Under Discussion

    Associated Project(s): 

    The lighting retrofit project continues with funding from the Revolving Loan Fund, and is waiting for a grant anticipation account from OSPRA. The funding commitment from the RLF involves working with Energy Services, OBFS, and the RLF committee.

    F&S met with key faculty to discuss collaboration opportunities related to implementing a smart grid on campus.  Additionally, the Director of Energy Services at F&S worked with the F&S Sustainability Coordinator and the Executive Director to explain the current status of the campus energy system, including data sources, control systems, financial considerations, and forecasting.  F&S will continue to document the status quo and the visionary smart grid concept, dubbed the Energy Management and Control Center (EMC^2).

  14. F&S Makes Progress on Bicycle Projects

    Associated Project(s): 

    F&S continues to work with a number of student groups and individuals on bicycle-related projects:

    • Bicycle Intern and Urban Planning student Grace Kenney has returned from a semester abroad and is now completing the Bike Sharing Feasibility Study this spring, as well as implementing departmental bike sharing with interested departments, using the Departmental Bike Sharing Manual produced by the Fall 2011 LINC class. Grace also helped with the master bike plan in January, and will be working closely with the Bike Sharing Steering Committee in the coming weeks and months.
    • Bicycle Intern and Urban Planning student Holly Nelson is continuing to work on bike lane design recommendations.
    • Bicycle Intern and Urban Planning student Patrick Clark is working on bike parking upgrade designs and recommendations, including SSC-funded improvements at the Illini Union, as well as developing the formal grant proposal for bike parking upgrade funding for SSC.
    • GIS student Marcus Ricci proposed a GIS class project to analyze the location and quantity of bike parking in relationship to building doors and bike pathways.
    • The UI Bikes LINC course, as mentioned above, is working with F&S on several projects related to both bike sharing and bike parking.
    • An MBA class is studying the Campus Bike Project, among other bicycle-related topics, and will make a recommendation to the CBP for developing a self-sustaining funding model.
    • Student Senator David Huang has drafted and will introduce a formal resolution to the Illinois Student Senate proposing the implementation of online bicycle registration through Ride Campus. (

    Members of The Bike Project steering committee met with representatives of F&S and SSC to brainstorm opportunities to help make the Campus Bike Project a financially self-supporting operation.  This is in parallel to the efforts of the MBA class looking into this issue.  The Bike Project will be submitting a Letter of Inquiry to the SSC before their current funding expires in May.

    F&S staff attended the monthly Champaign County Bikes meeting in January, to discuss a potential use of Ride Campus and Varsity Rack in Champaign-Urbana. F&S is also working with CCB member Jeff Yockey to develop a steering committee to explore the possibility of implementing Ride Campus at the University of Illinois.

    F&S staff and Patrick Clark met with the Illini Union to discuss improving bike parking facilities around the Union, and potentially having the Union be a pilot test location for the Varsity Rack. 


  15. Campus Makes Public Transportation Improvements

    Associated Project(s): 

    Funding was approved for several pavement improvements on campus streets.  These improvements will reduce gas consumption and corresponding emissions for vehicle traffic; restripe the bike lanes on a portion of Gregory Drive; extend the bike lanes on Fourth Street south to Kirby Avenue; add pedestrian countdown traffic signals at two signalized intersections; implement traffic calming measures, such as curb bump outs for increased pedestrian safety in key locations; and improve one block of the Illinois Marathon route on First Street, between Peabody Drive and Kirby Avenue.

    Staff are participating in weekly conference calls with Zipcar to encourage the use of car sharing and active transportation on campus. A Zipcar winter welcome special offer was shared in the OS newsletter and through the OS twitter account.