You are here

All Project Updates


  1. draft charge letter for teams

    see attached first draft

    Also Morgan,
    I forgot to copy you for a couple e-mails with Eva Sweeney. We just met today at 1pm, she had some good input. The most important was probably that the lighting retrofit project has already done lighting assessments for all the buildings on campus, she said she can send them to me once I let her know what buildings we were planning on doing. I guess they are upgrading all flourescents from T-12 to T-8 bulbs. So for the sake of not duplicating information we could remove checklist items: count total number of lights, and note wattage used by each light. But she did suggest looking at exterior lighting: if they are working, if they are bright enough, if there are dark areas that require more lighting (for safety), and what type of lighting it is. She also suggested to think about where occupancy sensors could be used.

    I'm going to meet with Dean at 2:30 today to go over the checklist again as well.

  2. to do list for Tom

    Hi Tom,

    Amy Allen will be our contact with the SSC this year.  She and I are sitting in my office, and sending you this email about first steps. Please do the following, and let us know if you have questions.

    1)      Summarize the history from last year.  DUE 9/12/11

    a.       Ask James Hoffer to give you the contact information from each of the five teams last year.

    b.      Ask James for the documentation of what they were told to accomplish for the $500. - There is a concern that the work completed was not the work requested, and therefore the funding is not approved yet.  If we can get details of what James told the groups they had to do for the funds, then we could compare their final reports with the expectations.

    c.       Ask James for the copies of their final submittals. - The actual reports from the teams may have had additional information, not just what was on the small excel files I have seen.  Please get a copy of those excel files, and any other materials the teams provided to James last spring.  Did they use the sample assessment form from the Training Manual?

    d.      Make a list of all the buildings they did, and note if any of them do not need additional data gathering.

    e.      Write a brief opinion, based on your data gathering: did the teams do what they were supposed to do for the money?

    2)      Finalize the to do items for each team for each building.  Write a charge letter for the teams.  DUE 9/30/11 - but get a draft by 9/19/11

    a.       Take the to-do list you created from James' manual, with Dean's notes about the F&S shop that would handle it.  Remove the items that
    are not on our list of selected items to review.

    b.      This is the list of selected items to review, per our notes this summer: "We're going with electronics, lighting, faucet aerators and running toilets, and weather stripping for student tasks."

    c.       Draft a charge letter for the teams, based on the to do list. We can talk about this more once you are ready to dig in.  Basically, this needs to document what the teams have to do in order to earn the money.  We agreed to give them $150 per building.

    3)      Solicit 4-7 teams. DUE 9/30/11 - for asking them in the first place...

    a.       Take a look at who worked with James last year, and ask them if they want to participate this year.  You can let them know that the process is being revised, and you can try to avoid the question about the funding from last year.

    b.      (If they want more details about last year's money, tell them you will ask me.  Then send me an email and copy them.)

    c.       Reach out to other RSOs that may want to participate this year. For starters there is a huge list of RSOs on the Illini Union's website. You can grab president emails from that site somehow, and send a big email, or you could pick and choose RSO's that you think would be interested.  Amy can also give you suggestions.

    d.      Draft an email explaining this opportunity.  Amy, Dean, and I will review the email before you send it.

    We will have plenty more to do after this part.  We will need to hold a meeting with all the teams, Dean, Amy, you, and me.  We will need to identify which buildings each team will review, and a process for evaluating their reports such that they can be approved for the funding. We will need to get estimates of the costs, so the teams can prioritize the work to do based on the funding from Dean's office.

    It would be good to make a networked folder for all these materials, if James didn't already create one.  We really need more organization this
    time, and I have every confidence that you can take care of that. 

    Please send me and Amy your schedule.  We would also both like to be copied whenever you send any emails about this program.  Let us know if
    you have any questions!!!


  3. SSC and F&S work to develop a conservation fund

    Associated Project(s): 

    During the summer of 2011, the Student Sustainability Committee (SSC) Chair, Suhail Barot, and the F&S Sustainability Coordinator, Morgan Johnston, worked with the Utilities and Energy Services Division of F&S to develop an energy conservation fund.  Discussions included topics such as:

    • source of initial funds
    • qualification requirements for projects
    • selection process for funding
    • resources needed to manage the fund and process

    One comment made by the Director of Utilities and Energy Services, Kent Reifsteck, was that this is a "fund for departments to access to allow them to implement energy conservation measures in order to take advantage of the Energy Incentive Program."  The incentive program was next step#2 from the Utilities Stewarding Excellence report. 

  4. Tom, Suhail, and Morgan met to discuss next steps

    We're going with electronics, lighting, faucet aerators and running toilets, and weather stripping for student tasks.

    Right when I get back on campus, I'll contact you to get me started on getting set up at F&S. Then we'll finalize a plan, and start recruiting people early september. From mid september to mid October, I'll be doing a test run on a house to note how long it takes, and to familiarize myself with what needs to be done by other students. I'll spend a few days training them, and then they'll take from mid october to november to complete their jobs. In the meantime i'll meet with them weekly and give you and Dean updates. We'll have them do 1 house at a time to better track their work quality. Up to the final weeks of the semester they'll write reports and in the spring they'll do a presentation about the whole process and what not. They can earn up to $500 for good work.



  5. Prairie Zone Signs Installed

    Signs have been installed at the prairie plot on the corner of Florida Avenue and Orchard Street. These signs announce the designation of this area as a Prairie Zone. The signs also list the benefits of planting native vegetation-- which increases the habitat for beneficial insects and wildlife, saves energy and reduces CO2 emissions by not using mowers, promotes sustainable landscapes and beautifies the campus, and provides an environment for scientific observation. The signs are funded by the Student Sustainability Committee.

  6. draft checklist for new teams

    On Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 9:03 PM, Johnston, Morgan (Facilities & Services) <> wrote:

    Hi Tom,

    I want it translated into a "to do list."  So, we do not need a summary, or pictures, or an intro.  Just the list of things to do.  You asked if I want a list of what students would be doing, and that is essentially what I want.  The only clarification is that I don't want it evaluated for whether students or someone else would do it, just make a list of everything it says to do.  Put the list in Excel, or make an unformated list in Word (not bulleted) which I can cut and paste into Excel.

    This is a really helpful step, so we can review the list with Dean Henson (over building matinenance) and select which items the student groups should do this fall.

    Looking at it more closely, I think you need to just go through pages 8-14.  The first page's list would be something like this:

    • do the pipes have insulation on them?
    • where are the ducts located (inside or outside)?
    • check the type of heating system used
    • check the fuel type used, if applicable
    • check the location of the heating system
    • check how many space heaters are used in the building
    • check the type of cooling system used
    • check the location of the cooling system
    • check the furnace efficiency label
    • check when the filter was last changed/how dirty is the filter?
    • record the filter size

    Once you get the draft list written, please email it to me.  I'll set a time for us to talk about it and move forward.

    Thanks a ton for your help!


    From: Thomas Ferrarell []
    Sent: Thursday, July 28, 2011 4:58 PM
    To: Johnston, Morgan (Facilities & Services)
    Subject: Weatherization Project

    Hi Morgan,

    I've read it through a few times and I'm wondering how you would like me to summarize this. Have you read it? Even though it is 32 pages, it is a fairly quick read. The first section is a list of the process that already felt like a summary of the following 10 or so pages. The rest is descriptions of the types of windows, doors, etc, and the tools used, as well as some sample forms. I'd rather ask a potentially stupid question than make a potentially stupid stupid summary. Do you want me to pick out tasks that students would be doing and thats it? or summarize the entire manual?

    -Thomas Ferrarell


  7. BLUE Battery Recycling info

    Battery Recycling

    Call2RecycleⓇ provides free collection boxes, pays for shipping, and accepts rechargeable Nickel Metal Hydride, Lithium Ion, and Small Sealed Lead batteries less than 11 lbs in weight. The Physical Plant Service Building began the Call2RecycleⓇ rechargeable battery and cell phone recycling program in October 2005. Rechargeable batteries are considered hazardous waste and must be recycled or disposed of according to EPA regulations. Facilities & Services has saved approximately $7,000 in disposal costs in the last six years.

  8. Batteries Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    SECS recieved funding from SSC for single-use battery recycling at the Union. 

    Reportedly, "The old student program at the Union collected 1600 pounds of batteries from April 2010 to February 2011 before it was suspended."

    Attached Files: 
  9. Campuswide Occupancy Sensors

    In 2008, $50,000 was awarded to Facilities and Services to install occupancy sensors in 272 rooms across 10 highly-visible campus buildings. Where in use, the automatic lighting controls reduce energy usage by 30% (total savings of $11,900/year plus inflation) and greenhouse gas emissions (by 88,000 lbs CO2, 323 lbs of NOx, and 1,079 lbs SOx per year). The sensors are a daily reminder to students, faculty, staff, and visitors of the University of Illinois’ commitment to sustainability.

  10. Energy Displays and Metering Funding Letter

    This proposal seeks to install web-based display system for campus building energy consumption. The initial system will include information from 25 buildings as well as the Abbott power plant. Data will be available in real-time for buildings that have real-time metering, and monthly for other buildings; utilities included will be steam, chilled water and electricity. This project will also leverage funds from other project partners to make upgrades to building metering systems to provide real-time data for display and campus energy management use. Breakdown of funds is as follows: up to $50,000 for software purchase and install, up to $6750 for software maintenance, and up to $100,000 (this last portion in matching funds) for metering upgrades in initial buildings. Once the program is in place, ECI will work with project partners to arrange to display information on new or existing in-building displays as well as add information from other buildings. The Student Sustainability Committee is in favor of funding a grant in the amount of $156,750.

  11. Student Farm 2011 Grant - Funding Letter

    This proposal looks to further the University’s commitment to local food consumption through continued support the Sustainable Student Farm (SSF). The SSF began in 2009 with a grant from the Student Sustainability Committee to begin producing locally grown vegetables for the University of Illinois community. In the first season, the SSF produced nearly 25,000 pounds of produce and generated approximately $25,000 in revenue, primarily through sales to University of Illinois Dining Services for use in the University dining halls. The exceptionally hot summer of 2010, combined with the high time/labor demand of high tunnel construction and farm expansion, led to a disappointing harvest for the second growing season. This year, the SSF has enjoyed its first winter harvest season due to three new high tunnels. Through these season expansion techniques, along with increased mastery of farming practices, the SSF expects to have a bountiful and successful growing season. Funding for this proposal will bridge the gap between last season’s financial shortfalls and the revenue generated in 2011. The SSF will continue to work to increase crop revenue and educational outreach. As the University’s only current capacity for producing local produce for campus, the SSF is an essential component of increasing campus sustainability. Continuation of the SFF is essential to meeting these goals. Thus, the Student Sustainability Committee is in favor of funding a grant in the amount of $10,000.

  12. Sustainability Studies in the Humanities Initiative

    This proposal seeks funding to establish the Sustainable Studies in the Humanities Initiative. This initiative is also being underwritten by the College of LAS and the School of Earth Systems, Society and the Environment, with the primary objectives of creating new courses offered in the humanities related to sustainability and contemporary environmental issues. The Committee feels that the humanities, in particular, are an area underserved by formal coursework options related to sustainability, and is thus supportive of this initiative. The funds provided by the Committee will allow for the creation of three additional courses (beyond the four otherwise possible through this initiative), as well as allow for the creation of a unifying web presence for the initiative. The Student Sustainability Committee is in favor of funding a grant in the amount of $8,500.

  13. Student Weatherization Assessment Program Plan

    This pilot program will take place in the Spring 2011 and Fall 2011 semesters with the objective of creating and sustaining a student weatherization program.  The program will involve assessments of campus buildings, which will be performed and reported by teams of trained University of Illinois students. Facilities & Services will receive these weatherization reports and use them internally for project assessment and discussion with relevant teams. A letter of support from Facilities & Services is attached to this memorandum.

    Students will be trained to complete audits in order to obtain baseline data and make recommendations for weatherization improvements to Facilities & Services. Audit data will be entered into Excel spreadsheets, for example, to allow for of quantitative and qualitative analysis of results.

    Audit areas will include building envelope, lighting, water, and waste. Follow up audits will be conducted to evaluate the program’s success.  Information from these audits will create a valuable body of information to guide future sustainability initiatives.

    Details in this plan are drawn from similar successful programs at the University of California at Berkeley and Colorado University at Boulder.

    • The Student Sustainability Committee (SSC) will provide $20,000 in funding in order to:
    • Provide for a student intern to assist Facilities & Services in running the program.
    • Pay student teams to conduct assessments Meet miscellaneous costs, as needed, including expenses to assess successfulness of implemented recommendations, tools, equipment, etc.

    Facilities & Services will provide:

    •  A member of either the Maintenance or Energy Services division to supervise and provide resources to the intern coordinating the program.
    • Workers and materials necessary to implement improvements.
  14. Solar Feasibility Study

    This proposal seeks to develop a list of campus buildings capable of hosting solar energy systems and conducting a detailed feasibility evaluation of five sites for installation of these systems.  Solar energy systems may be utilized for the generation of electricity or for the production of hot water for domestic use, and this study will examine both possibilities. Factors taken into account will be the building’s energy use profile and applications, the building characteristics, the surrounding environment, and the visibility to the student body. Additionally, the report will specify equipment and budget needs, as appropriate to prepare the projects for bid and implementation. Solar energy systems larger than those at the University of Illinois exist at over 70 institutions and the University has made a commitment to obtain 5% of total energy from renewable sources from 2015 and 25% by 2025, which will require the installation of solar energy systems on campus. Significant benefits to our education, research and outreach missions are also likely from these installations. Finally, the completion of this feasibility study will help enable the actual installation of these arrays as well as secure matching funds from sources such as the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The Student Sustainability Committee is in favor of funding a grant in the amount of $9,900.

  15. Natural Resources Building Prairie Funding Agreement

    This proposal seeks to support a prairie initiative at the Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability. The institute will use its greenhouses to begin growing sustainable, native plants for use on campus. Additionally, INRS will design and plant a prairie landscape on the south side of the Natural Resource Building. This prairie will be maintained as a permanent exhibit for the public and featured during their annual open house, Naturally Illinois. A written and video instructional manual will be produced as a

    learning tool as an important element of this project, which will assist the campus and others in installing and maintaining other sustainable landscaping projects. This project will thus help meet the commitments made by the campus relating to sustainable landscaping, as part of the Climate Action Plan. The Student Sustainability Committee is in favor of funding a grant in the amount of $20,000.

  16. ISTC Campus Water Use Study

    This proposal looks to reduce the usage of water on campus by conducting a study of the “true cost” of water used campus. The project first seeks to determine the quantity of water used and extrapolate the “true cost” of this water. From this point, the project wishes to study the quality of water currently being discharged as “blowdown” with the hope of finding a mechanism of reuse. With this data, pathways of water consumption reduction are expected to be identified. The identification of said pathways will allow for examination of differing methods of water use reduction. Following this, mechanisms of reuse of wastewater in areas such as landscape irrigation will be studied. The project is expected to then result in the ability of water to be reused in whatever locations are most cost-effective. The project itself is not going to result in any tangible change in the short-run, but it is expected to yield data that can be used by campus departments such as F&S for the eventual reduction of campus water-usage. Its goals fall into line with the Climate Action Plan, which outlines a 40% reduction of campus water usage by 2025. Thus, the Student Sustainability Committee is in favor of funding a grant in the amount of $10,000.