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2015 iCAP Objectives

These are projects that link one-to-one to objectives specifically listed in the 2015 iCAP.

Below this project collection listing is a map showing the projects which have a location. Please scroll to the bottom to see it.

Project Listing

Theme Project Status Description
Education Encourage Course Development or Modification Ongoing

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 10, objective 3 is, "​Add at least five new sustainability-focused courses by FY20." Sustainability is relevant to all departments on campus; the learning outcomes have potential to be adapted across the array of academic programs.

Education Independent Student Projects Ongoing

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 10, objective 2 is, "Provide opportunities for undergraduate students to obtain research and practical experience by participating in independent study projects on sustainability topics." Often students work on sustainability projects as part of a class, for a graduate degree, or as an independent study.

Education Sustainability Minor Ongoing

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 10, objective 1 is, "Offer an undergraduate minor in sustainability, starting with about 20 students in FY16, that will provide in-depth learning about the three dimensions of sustainability and enable students to make connections between the different disciplines to solve problems related to sustainability."

Energy Changing Usage of Individuals In Progress

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 2, objective 4, is "Engage and incentivize the campus community in energy conservation, including a comprehensive energy conservation campaign, with at least 50% of units participating by FY20". As a modern society, we need a change in our every day behavior in order to conserve energy. Doing things like turning off technology for a few hours or shutting off air conditioning or the lights when they aren’t needed are great contributions to conserve energy.

Energy Energy Services Conservation Projects Ongoing

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 2, objective 3 is "Strengthen centralized conservation efforts focusing on building systems to achieve a 30% reduction in total campus building energy use by FY20. This includes meeting LED Campus commitments." The Utilities and Energy Services (UES) division at F&S is responsible for providing campus utilities.

Energy Explore Options for 100 Percent Clean Campus Energy In Progress

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 3, objective 1 is "The Energy Generation, Purchasing, and Distribution SWATeam, in collaboration with Facilities & Services and topical Consultation Groups, will lead an exploration of options for 100% clean campus energy during FY16 and submit recommendations through the formal sustainability process." The campus community has considerable intellectual resources that can be brought to bear on the future of energy generation, purchasing, and distribution.  The

Energy Implement Energy Standards Ongoing

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 2, objective 2 is "Identify the highest achievable energy standards for new buildings and major renovations, and incorporate these into the campus facility standards by the end of FY16."  The Energy Generation and Building Standards SWATeam discussed this objective with Provost

Energy Maintain or Reduce Gross Square Footage Ongoing

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 2, objective 1 is "Maintain or reduce the campus gross square footage relative to the FY10 baseline." The Net Zero Space Growth Policy was enacted to halt the growth in gross square footage of campus buildings; to support the goal of reducing the campus footprint over time through more efficient space utilization; to fulfill the commitment under the 

Energy Methane Capture on Campus Proposed

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 6, objective 3, is "Utilize landfills with methane capture." Methane is one of the worst greenhouse gases, and this university has a number of methane producers on South Farms.  There are beef cows, dairy cows, sheep, pigs, horses, and chickens. One of the strategies listed in the iCAP to reduce agricultural emissions is to install a methane capture process for additional energy generation by 2020, with a pilot project by 2015.

Energy PPA for National Petascale Computing Facility In Progress

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 3, objective 4, is "Offset all emissions from the National Petascale Computing Facility (and other successor facilities) by the conclusion of the current period of National Science Foundation support." Petascale is under the purview of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), reporting to the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Research.

Energy Solar Energy on Campus Ongoing

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 3, objective 2 is "Expand on-campus solar energy production.  By FY20, produce at least 12,500 MWh/year, and by FY25 at least 25,000 MWh/year, from solar installations on campus property."  Commonly used solar technologies are solar photovoltaics for electricity, solar thermal water heating, and passive solar design for space heating and cooling.

Energy Solar Farm 2.0 In Progress

Construction of a new 54-acre, 12.1 megawatt (MWdc) Solar Farm has been approved by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees as the sole member of Prairieland Energy, Inc. Referred to as "Solar Farm 2.0," the new utility-scale array will be located north of Curtis Road, between First Street and Dunlap Avenue in Savoy. Solar Farm 2.0 will produce approximately 20,000 megawatt-hours per year (MWh/year), nearly tripling the university’s existing on-site renewable energy generation.

Energy Use Renewable / Low-carbon / Clean Energy In Progress

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 3, objective 3, is "Expand the purchase of clean energy. By FY20, obtain at least 120,000 MWh, and by FY25 at least 140,000 MWh from low-carbon energy sources.

Transportation Appropriately Staff Sustainable Transportation Efforts Ongoing

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 4, objective 6, is "Appropriately staff sustainable transportation efforts, especially through the hiring of an Active Transportation Coordinator." The campus has hired Lily Wilcock as the full-time Active Transportation Coordinator and Jake Benjamin as the full-time  Campus Bike Center Manager since 2016.

Transportation Decrease Emissions from UI Fleet Ongoing

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 4, objective 2, is "Reduce emissions from the Urbana-Champaign campus fleet by 20% for departmentally-owned and carpool vehicles by FY20."  The UI Fleet includes over 1,000 motor vehicles, used for a variety of purposes.  These include large construction vehicles, trucks, sedans, and some individual mobility vehicles.  The UI fleet emissions can be reduced through a reduction in trips, increased gasoline miles per gallon, reduced idling, and the integration of ele

Transportation Develop Scenarios for Converting the UI Fleet to Renewable Fuels In Progress

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 4, objective 3 is "Conduct a detailed study by the end of FY17 to develop scenarios for complete conversion of the campus fleet to renewable fuels." Options to be considered might include sustainably-produced biodiesel, compressed natural gas from anaerobic digestion of organic wastes, and electricity from zero-carbon sources such as solar and wind.  The proposed study would review the types and usage of campus vehicles, evaluate the expectation for vehicle availa

Transportation Increase Bicycle Use Ongoing

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 4, objective 5, is "Implement the Campus Bike Plan on the schedule noted in that plan. Notable deadlines include full implementation of new bikeway facilities by FY25, bike parking within 150 feet of every building in the core of campus by FY20, and bike rentals by FY20." The campus is home to an estimated 10,000 cyclists, including students, staff, and faculty.

Transportation Offset Emissions from Plane Trips In Progress

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 4, objective 1, is "Reduce air travel emissions from a new FY14 baseline by 25% by FY20, 50% by FY25, and 100% by FY30 ." Air travel is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.  In the FY08 baseline carbon emission calculation for campus, 7 percent of the emissions were due to directly-financed air travel.  While some reduction in the air travel can be achieved through increased teleconferencing, the remainder will need to be offset.  There are some airp

Transportation Reduce Cars (Vehicle Miles Traveled) on Campus Ongoing

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 4, objective 4, is "Reduce the percentage of staff trips made using single-occupancy vehicles from 65% to 55% by FY20, 50% by FY25, and 45% by FY30." In order to have a sizable impact on transportation emissions, campus will need a multi-faceted program that encourages and educates the entire University community on active transportation options.  Successful transportation demand management programs incorporate incentives for commuters to switch from Single Occupa

Land Assess and Reduce Agricultural GHG Emissions Proposed

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 7, objective 1 is "Perform a comprehensive assessment of GHG emissions from agricultural operations, and develop a plan to reduce them, by the end of FY16."  This assessment should include the identification or development of an agricultural emissions calculator that can be used on an annual basis to estimate related GHG emissions, along with the identification of the appropriate group of stakeholders in the relevant units who would annually provide the required i

Land Carbon Sequestration Ongoing

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 7, objective 5 is "Increase carbon sequestration in campus soils by determining the sequestration value of existing plantings and identifying locations for additional plantings, with a specific objective of converting at least 50 acres of U of I farmland to agroforestry by FY20." 

Land Incorporate Sustainability Principles into Campus Master Plan Completed

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 7, objective 3 is "Incorporate sustainability principles more fully into the Campus Master Plan." Campus F&S worked with the University Office of Capital Programs and Real Estate Services on updating the Campus Master Plan in 2017 and 2018, putting more emphasize on the Net Zero Growth Policy.

Land Sustainable Landscapes Plan Ongoing

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 7, objective 2 is "Design and maintain campus landscapes in a more sustainable manner; expand the specification of sustainable plantings in campus landscaping standards, and develop and implement a tree care plan by FY16 and an integrated pest management program by FY17."

The campus landscapes are continuously improved and maintained in a more sustainable manner with guidance from the Campus Landscape Architect at F&S.

Water Inventory and Benchmark Existing Landscape Performance In Progress

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 5, objective 4 is "Inventory and benchmark campus’ existing landscape performance by FY17." The entire UIUC campus drains to either Boneyard Creek or the Embarras River.

Water Obtain and Publicize Water Data Ongoing

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 5, objective 1, is "Obtain and publicize more granular water use data by FY16, including water quantity and quality data where available." The campus should obtain and publicize the usage, costs, and quality of water for campus.

Water Reduce Cooling Tower and Chiller Plant Water Use In Progress

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 5, objective 2 is "Improve the water efficiency of cooling towers by limiting the amount discharged to sewer to less than 20% of water intake for chiller plant towers, and less than 33% for stand-alone building towers, by FY20." The results of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center’s True Cost of Water Study yielded five action items and two pilot studie

Water Reduce Nitrates from Agricultural Stormwater Proposed

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 7, objective 6 is "Reduce nitrates in agricultural runoff and subsurface drainage by 50% from the FY15 baseline by FY22." Nitrogen applications can lead to increased nitrate concentrations in agriculture runoff and subsurface drainage. Under anaerobic conditions, nitrate can be reduced to nitrogen gas and nitrous oxide (a powerful greenhouse gas).

Water Stormwater Management Program Ongoing

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 5, objective 6, is "Investigate the water quality impacts of stormwater runoff and potential ways to reduce stormwater pollutant discharges by FY18." Stormwater can transport pollutants on the ground to storm drains, where they eventually pollute our creeks and rivers. The University has a Storm Water Management Program to minimize such pollution.

Water Use of Non-Potable Water Proposed

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 5, objective 5, is "Through an open solicitation process, implement at least four pilot projects to showcase the potential of water and/or stormwater reuse by FY20, with the objective of implementing a broader program by FY25." The first pilot project was initiated during the engineering design of the upcoming Seibel Center for Design.  The AE for the project worked with campus code compliance staff to specify the water capture and reuse system and to draft a requ

Water Water Audit / Inventory In Progress

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 5, objective 3, is "Perform a water audit to establish water conservation targets — and determine upper limits for water demand by end-use — for incorporation into facilities standards by FY16."

Funding Allocate Existing Resources Ongoing

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 9, objective 1 is, "By the end of FY16, develop criteria and a review process for the iCAP Working Group to allocate funding for feasibility studies of SWATeam-recommended sustainability projects and initiatives, using funds provided by campus administration and other sources." The campus budget could be directly allocated for sustainability projects.

Funding Allocate Savings In Progress

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 9, objective 2 is, "By the end of FY16, increase the size of the Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) to a level commensurate with our aspirational peers, expand the reach of the Fund, and increase the use of Energy Performance Contracting (EPC)." We suggest that the RLF be increased to at least $10 million; this would put us in the company of aspirat

Funding Carbon Credit Purchasing Program with Second Nature Ongoing

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 8, objective 1 is, "By the end of FY16, conduct a Request for Proposals process for verified carbon offsets — and undertake the first campus purchase of offsets." iSEE is developing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for purchasing carbon credits, aka carbon offsets.

Funding Develop Local Carbon Offset Program Proposed

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 8, objective 3 is, "By the end of FY18, develop a program of local or regional mission-linked verified carbon offsets, so that our purchases of offsets will also support our institutional missions."

Funding Identify funding for projects without payback Ongoing

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 9, objective 3 is, "By the end of FY16, identify the amount of funds that are available across campus for projects that do not offer a rapid financial payback, but which are nevertheless important for improving campus sustainability, and identify options to increase that amount annually."

Funding Internal price on carbon Proposed

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 9, objective 4 is, "By the end of FY16, evaluate the feasibility of internally putting a price on carbon emissions." A detailed study by campus experts, drawing on expertise of corporate partners and other universities, could be conducted to determine what implementation would make the most sense for our campus. 


Funding Use Carbon Credits to meet Commitments Proposed

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 8, objective 4 is, "By FY20, utilize offsets to meet all iCAP emissions targets that have not been met by direct emission reductions."

Funding Virtual Storeroom for Carbon Offsets Cancelled

The 2015 iCAP chapter 8, objective 2 is, "By the end of FY17, develop an administrative mechanism to enable campus units to voluntarily purchase carbon offsets."  During FY17 and 18, iSEE investigated options to build a virtual storeroom for carbon offsets. The idea was to pre-purchase verified carbon credits at a bulk rate for campus, keep them in the virtual storeroom at iSEE, and resell them to campus departments upon request.  Issues identified with this plan primarily revolved around the validity of carbon offsets available for purchase.

Zero Waste Appropriately Staff Zero Waste Efforts In Progress

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 6, objective 4 is "Appropriately staff Zero Waste efforts through the hiring of a full-time Zero Waste Coordinator."  The Purchasing, Waste, and Recycling SWATeam submitted a recommendation to the iCAP Working Group (iWG) in support of this position, and the iWG requested they divide the position into two half-time roles.  One half-time Zero Waste Coordinator at Facilities & Services (F&S), and one Zero Waste Coordinator in the Office of Business and Finan

Zero Waste Develop Sustainable Purchasing Policies Ongoing

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 6, objective 1, is "By FY17, environmental standards will be applied to purchases of office paper, cleaning products, computers, other electronics, and freight/package delivery services. At least 50% of purchases in these categories will meet campus standards by FY20, and 75% by FY25."

Zero Waste Increase Recycling Rates Ongoing

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 6, objective 2, is "Reduce municipal solid waste (MSW) going to landfills. This involves reducing nondurable goods purchases, effectively reusing materials, and recycling. In the latter category, campus will increase the diversion rate of MSW to 45% by FY20, 60% by FY25, and 80% by FY35, while also increasing the total diversion rate to 90% by FY20 and 95% by FY25.

Zero Waste Sustainable Food Practices Ongoing

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 7, objective 4 is "Implement a project that examines the food service carbon footprint for Dining and other on-campus food vendors, while increasing local food procurement to 40% by FY25." Although increasing local food purchases were the primary food procurement initiative outlined in the Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP), there are several other sustainable aspects the University has tried to increase in their food purchases.

Zero Waste Use Landfills with Methane-capture Technology Ongoing

The 2015 iCAP chapter 6, objective 3 is "Utilize landfills with methane capture."

Reporting Progress 2015 Illinois Climate Action Plan (2015 iCAP) In Progress

In 2008, our campus signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, formally committing to become carbon neutral as soon as possible, and no later than 2050. The first Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP) was developed in 2010 as a comprehensive roadmap towards a sustainable campus environment. The present 2015 iCAP was developed using the Procedure for Formulating and Evaluating Campus Sustainability Policies & Initiatives, with many 2010 iCAP targets restated or revised and new targets added.

Outreach Advance Student Sustainability Outreach Efforts Ongoing

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 11, objective 1 is, "Support and communicate about co-curricular student sustainability programs." Illinois is home to more than 20 sustainability student organizations. These student organizations meet monthly under the umbrella of the Student Sustainability Leadership Council (SSLC).

Outreach Build a Culture of Sustainability In Progress

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 11, objective 2 is, "Strengthen and communicate about sustainability outreach programs. Specifically, at least half of the full-time campus staff will be participating in the Certified Green Office Program (CGOP) by FY20."  Although the University's activities are a major focus of the Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP), activities in the surrounding community are also of importance.

Outreach Major Annual Events Ongoing

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 11, objective 3 is, "Organize and promote three major sustainability events on campus each year: Earth Week, Campus Sustainability Week, and the iSEE Congress."

Research Opportunities Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) Ongoing

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 12, objective 1 is, "Create a hub for the sustainability community: to develop a comprehensive online gateway for faculty, staff, students, potential donors, and all interested parties to find information about sustainability research, education, outreach, initiatives, and operations." In the quest to become a pre-eminent research university with a land-grant mission and global impact, integrating sustainable practices in our research, classes, and buildings – ev

Research Opportunities iSEE Scholars Ongoing

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 12, objective 2 is, "Build connections: to bring together scholars from across campus to encourage collaboration, and to enhance research endeavors."

The Energy Scholars and Water Scholars have been identified and introduced to each other, through the iSEE website.

Research Opportunities iSEE Thematic research Ongoing

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 12, objective 3 is, "Foster “actionable” research: to encourage and support research that provides real-world solutions to society’s grand challenges in sustainability, energy, and the environment. iSEE research themes are broken into five categories: Climate Solutions, Energy Transitions, Secure and Sustainable Agriculture, Sustainable Infrastructure, and Water and Land Stewardship."

Map of projects

Project Updates

  • 8/12/2020

    Construction of a new 54-acre, 12.1 megawatt (MWdc) Solar Farm has been approved by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees as the sole member of Prairieland Energy, Inc.

  • 8/10/2020

    Leah Courtney and Parima Michareune, two GFX Scholars in the Women in Engineering program, worked with Meredith Moore in spring 2020 to develop a carbon offset manual for University of Illinois study abroad programs (manual attached).