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Projects Updates for Topic: energy conservation


  1. ECBS SWATeam Meeting Minutes

    The SWATeam continued the discussion about its Big Picture Recommendation for energy conservation regarding the Campus Master Plan.  Students reported their findings on what undergraduates want to see on energy displays in campus buildings.  Smaller updates on fume hood efficiency efforts and Illini Lights Out followed.  Green Labs Initiative intern Natalie Pelekh attended this meeting to present her research on Green Labs programs at other schools and to discuss factors that need consideration before launching our own Green Labs program.

    Attached Files: 
  2. ECONS002 Illini Lights Out Recommendation - Submittal

    The ECBS SWATeam submitted a recommendation to the iWG stating, "The ECBS SWATeam recommends conducting a one hour pilot audit of lights left on in select buildings on campus as part of a campus engagement and conservation strategy. Pairs of students accompanied by campus security/other personnel (as necessary) are assigned buildings to audit on the main Quad to turn off non-essential lights in classrooms/bathrooms not in use. Volunteers will meet at a designated location to sign in, review safety protocols and receive their tally sheets and floor plans. Students will use these sheets to indicate any empty rooms where they turned off lights. After the audit is complete, students will return all forms to designated staff and are then eligible for a prize/reward. The ECBS team intends to use the results of this pilot to recommend a more comprehensive year-round campaign called ‘Illini Lights Out’. Details of audit as follows:

    • Buildings to be audited (8): Altgeld Hall, English Building, Lincoln Hall, Gregory Hall, Smith Memorial Hall,Foreign Languages Building, Davenport Hall, and Noyes Laboratory.
    • Given the number of buildings, it is expected that 16 – 24 student volunteers are needed.
    • Recommended date for pilot audit is Friday, April 15th from 6pm7pm.
    • Designated meeting spot required. Table in the Illini Union recommended between 5:45pm7:30pm."

    See attached the SWATeam recommendation ECONS002 Illini Lights Out complete with comments from all the ECBS SWATeam members.

  3. Levenick Research Fellow to address energy conservation

    Associated Project(s): 

    Behavioral Interventions for Campus Energy Consumption

    According to Levenick Research Fellow Erica Myers:

    “Fuel costs — particularly in a campus setting — are often not well understood or salient for consumers. Students, faculty, and staff do not see billing or consumption information, making it difficult to translate use of particular energy services into costs. As a result, energy consumption is often ‘out of sight, out of mind’ as we go through our busy days on campus.

    “The goal of our research is to identify behavioral interventions that can be used to reduce campus energy consumption. First, in the spring of 2016, we will work with engineers and building managers on campus to identify behavioral energy savings opportunities related to office and classroom heating and cooling, electronics and lighting. Then in the summer and fall of 2016, we will design and test the relative effectiveness of behavioral interventions such as educational campaigns, usage information provision, and social comparisons for taking advantage of savings opportunities and reducing energy consumption.

    “Our findings will be shared with University of Illinois stakeholders, presented at academic conferences, and made publicly available in a University white paper in early 2017. Our results will not only be relevant for the U of I in meeting its campus sustainability goals, but for other campus and commercial settings where energy use is not well understood or salient for consumers.”

  4. News Release - RLF update

    Associated Project(s): 

    $1.9M Available for Campus Utility Conservation Projects from the Revolving Loan Fund

    CHAMPAIGN, IL – More than $1.9M will be available for campus projects through the Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) this semester. Departments and units interested in submitting utility conservation work for consideration are encouraged to download and complete the RLF application available at: The RLF Committee will evaluate proposals beginning in mid-April with project selection occurring this summer. 

    The Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) collaborated with Facilities & Services (F&S) to allocate $500K from Chevrolet Bonneville Environmental Foundation funding into the RLF. The amount was matched by an additional $250K from the Office of the Chancellor with the goal of further reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on campus and achieving targets outlined in the Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP).  

    Through the carbon credit agreement with Chevrolet, acquisition of grant funding, and campus commitments the RLF has grown to a record $3.9M.

    Engineer specialist for F&S Josh Whitson said, “Through both centrally-funded programs and user-based initiatives there is a proven track record of significant cost avoidance and energy reduction at the university. The RLF builds on these successful conservation efforts.”

    Chevrolet retired an estimated 150K metric tons of carbon credits from the university on behalf of the environment in May 2014. The carbon credits were earned through the work of the campus to reduce GHG.

    “By increasing the size of the RLF, our campus has reinforced its commitment to conserving energy and resources — a commitment that will allow the excellent work done by F&S to continue and increase,” said Ben McCall, associate director for campus sustainability at iSEE. “Decreasing our carbon footprint through this cost-effective approach will help Illinois remain a leader among green campuses.”

    The RLF was established in 2011 as a financing source for utility conservation projects with a less than 10-year payback period. The savings from steam, electricity, and chilled or potable water costs are paid back annually, based on initially calculated savings.

    To date, more than $2M has been allocated from the RLF for energy-efficient lighting retrofits, including LED upgrades, and the installation of occupancy sensors.

    The RLF is a recognized part of the Billion Dollar Green Challenge where 57 universities have committed more than $116M for energy conservation efforts: The Challenge encourages colleges, universities, and other nonprofit institutions to invest a combined total of $1 Billion in self-managed revolving funds that finance energy efficiency improvements.

    More information on the RLF is available on the iCAP Portal:

    RLF Project Application ​

    Attached Files: 
  5. ECBS Objective 4 Subcommittee Meeting Minutes

    Details for the pilot energy audit were further developed in order to finalize the recommendation.  The audit will be called Illini Lights Out and is set to occur on April 15 at 6pm and to target student volunteers.  Details and issues discussed are included in the attached minutes.

  6. Conservation Budget Recommendation - Assessment by the iWG

    ECONS001 Conservation Budget Recommendation was assessed by the iCAP Working Group (iWG) on May 21, 2015. The iWG's official comment was:

    "Facilities & Services doesn’t have decision authority on this matter. Office of the Provost decides on budgets. Kent had proposed ESCOs to take care of some deferred maintenance, and funding was pulled from the State. The State pulled funding allocations for facilities both retroactive and recurring. iWG members support the statement."

    See ECONS001 Conservation Budget Recommendation


  7. ECONS001 Conservation Budget Recommendation - Submittal

    The ECBS SWATeam submitted a recommendation to the iWG stating, "Energy conservation programs should be exempted from any budget cuts or rescissions because of their key sustainability impacts and clear return on investments."

    See attached the SWATeam recommendation ECONS001 Conservation Budget complete with comments from all the ECBS SWATeam members.

  8. notes from meeting

    Dear ECBS SWATeam,

    Below are my notes from today's meeting.  It was a small crowd: Scott, Karl, Claire, and myself.  I hope we have a full crowd next week, because we have a lot of work ahead of us in just a few short weeks!




    Q: Are we starting with a "blank slate" for iCAP 2015?  A: Not really, because we have iCAP 2010 as a historical context, and we have done so much in the intervening years that cannot be ignored. But we are also not bound to the specific commitments of the 2010 iCAP, or even the format.

    Q: Can we simply re-use the 2010 iCAP as is?  A: It's a good foundation, but needs improvement.

    Fume hoods are an important issue to address; potentially big savings.

    Should we recommend again to charge units for energy?  Possible counterargument is that Auxiliaries already bear the cost of energy but are not aggressively reducing energy usage.  Counterargument to that is they have expressed interest, but somehow don't have expertise and/or capital.  RCx cannot go into Auxiliaries; ESCOs can.

    Scott suggested that someone needs to write a first draft of recommendations; he is writing the Energy Generation team's draft. No takers.  But Karl has written a nice document that most had not yet had a chance to read.

    Occupancy sensors for HVAC can lead to big savings ~25%.

    Can we expand ESCO program?  We've done ~7 buildings, why can't we do 100?  What is the financial model?  If campus cannot tolerate that much debt, can we foist the debt onto the ESCOs themselves?  We haven't done this because it doesn't generate as much savings, but maybe we should reconsider that if it would help us expand.  Some issues with quality of contractors, familiarity with campus facility standards.  Two ESCOs have been used so far: ESG for VetMed and Loomis&friends, Siemens for the Oak Street Chiller.  Typically ~5 ESCOs bid on our jobs; most are from Chicago.

    What is in the SAIC report?  Ben will send around (see attachment). Do we need another SAIC study?  Or can we just leave this in the rear view mirror?

    More discussion of energy billing; challenge is to fairly bill units only for the energy use they impact (i.e., lighting and equipment, not steam).  Can this team recommend a high-level study to devise a mechanism for fairly charging units?  External consultant?  Team of faculty, facilities folks, and students with relevant expertise?  If we just parrot the recommendation from 2010 iCAP, probably we'll get the same result.

    Behavioral change is so important, and has not really been tackled on our campus (except very recently with Green Office program). Really need to improve this, and also try to measure it (surveys?).

    Scheduling HVAC systems - when doing so, better to make the change first and then handle complaints, rather than announcing in advance and generating complaints from people who will never notice.

    Can someone compile a list of "bullet-points" to begin the discussion that will lead to our recommendations?  Claire volunteered to do this, but will be asking others for suggestions and input.  Goal is to have a draft set of bullet points before next week's meeting, and then discuss at meeting.

    Karl noted that Big Ten & Friends Energy conference is coming up Oct

    12-15 at U. Iowa.  Should we offer to host the next one on our campus? 

    We have not hosted one since 1999.  Seems like we should. Possible F&S/iSEE collaboration?  Scott volunteered to be on organizing committee.


    Professor Benjamin J. McCall

    Associate Director for Campus Sustainability Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


    Attached Files: 
  9. Big10 Unplugged

    Associated Project(s): 

    Hello Big10 Unplugged! 

    I believe I have everyone on/off the list as requested but we have have any updates or other schools to invite, please let me know. 

    I'm hoping to schedule a phone conference after the AASHE conference for a quick check in on this year's Big10 Unplugged challenge. Please use this link: to indicate your availability. Please convert your time to Central Standard Time. 

    You do not need to create an account. Just type your first name and click sign in. The click and drag to highlight times you are available. Hopefully scheduling this far in advance will give us at least a 30 minute block of time when everyone is available. Be sure to convert your time to Central Standard Time. 

    Sign up for CCN before the deadline on November 7th.  You'll need to be signed up for CCN in order to participate in Big10 Unplugged. 

    Attached is our logo. Feel free to use in your communications and promotions. 

    Thanks and reach out to me at anytime with questions,