The Illinois Student Senate Environmental Sustainability Subcommittee has a vested interest in promoting environmentally responsible campus policies and projects in an effort to encourage responsible and sustainable practices at the University of Illinois. One of the projects which our committee has been discussing since the beginning of the semester has been encouraging the student body to wean off of disposable water bottles and promoting reusable water bottles, with the greater goal of curbing litter and wasteful discarding of recyclable bottling materials.
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The University of Illinois Medicine Take-Back Program is a part of the larger Champaign-Urbana Area Medicine Take-Back Program. The program provides a legal and sustainable way to dispose of medicine, which helps to prevent accidental poisoning of children, the elderly, and pets; reduce drug abuse, misuse, and diversion; and limit the amount of pharmaceutical chemicals entering the environment.
Several other LED replacement projects also took place in 2012. In the Krannert Art Museum Gallery (LINK Gallery) renovation, 62 LED fixtures were installed. Track lighting in the Henry Administration was replaced with LEDs. LEDs were also installed in the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center conference room.
Exterior lighting was installed at multiple locations in 2012, with more locations planned for the future. LED fixtures to increase illumination around doorways are installed at Talbot Lab, the Computer Applications Building, Roger Adams Lab, and the Vivarium. Entry canopy lighting at the Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) and Allen Hall are also upgraded to LED fixtures.
Construction on a state-of-the-art facility for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) began on October 7, 2011. One of the features of the building is the use of LED bulbs in over half of the lighting fixtures. Nick Holonyak, University alumnus and inventor of the first practical visible-spectrum LED, is the John Bardeen Endowed Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Physics.
The 550 lighting fixtures in the lobby of the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts were replaced with energy efficient LED fixtures in 2010. The new fixtures are projected to use 132,000 kilowatt-hours and cost $12,500 annually. This cost is about a fifth of the old system’s cost. The newer fixtures also lower cooling and maintenance costs. Another aspect of the installation is a computerized mixing feature that allows Krannert staff to change of the lighting color of each bulb to create a unique atmosphere in the building.
The Student Sustainability Committee Provided Funding for the purchase and testing the Activeion Ionator EXP Cleaning System, a cleaning system that reduces water usage by using no water to mix chemicals and still effectively kills more than 99.9 percent of harmful germs. The Activeion Ionator Systems also element chemical odor and residue caused by other cleaning systems. Initially, Facilities and Services Building Services will purchase 20 units to evaluate in daily cleaning operations in buildings the University campus.
The Student Sustainability Committee, in conjunction with the Environmental Change Institute, has chosen to solicit proposals for the development of sustainability courses. This will allow the SSC to have a hand in choosing proposals to support, while the ECI will manage the projects and administration. In FY2010 the program received ten course proposals, six of which were chosen for funding.
A maximum of $15,000 in funding was made available, with individual grants of up to $5,000.
The Prairie Project is a faculty development workshop on the University of Illinois campus that is meant to prepare faculty to teach about sustainability and introduce sustainability issues into their existing coursework. Eighteen faculty members who teach thousands of students each year will make up the interdisciplinary group that the project reaches out to. This is a pilot project that is meant to serve as a basis for future workshops.
The Waste Management Research Center (WMRC), now known as the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC), received a grant from the Student Sustainability Committee to replace the lights in offices and laboratories with more energy efficient fixtures. The grant was also used to install occupancy sensors in the facility.
The SSC gave $23,450 to the ISTC to replace 212 fluorescent fixtures. Costs of the project ended up only totaling $22,642.70, and the ISTC returned $807.20 to the SSC. Annual savings from the replacement of these fixtures should amount to about $4,820.