You are here

suggestions for Clean Energy Planning

Posted by Morgan White on March 18, 2023

    --Your Information--

      Name: Damon McFall, PE, MBA

      Affiliation: Mechanical Science & Engineering Department



    --Suggestion Details--

      Subject / Project Name: Creating a Tasked Approach to 2050 Carbon

      Neutrality Objective

      Type: New Project


      Project: Act 2050.


      As 2022 concludes, I sense the need to draft up my end of the

      year thoughts on iCAP and our approach. We cannot afford to think

      only of 2050 as our ultimate goal of net-zero carbon achievement.

      We must consider incremental plans, i.e. 2030 and 2040 with our

      stretch goal attaining victory by 2050. Please find my thoughts

      on addressing climate change at the University of Illinois and

      proposal for a new project that will involve a massive effort of

      bringing together respective parties in developing a

      comprehensive Act 2050 schedule to complement and build upon the

      Clean Energy Plan. The tasks below are to stimulate thought.

      However, they lack supporting detail and perhaps other factors

      not yet considered by the author. Such are welcomed to develop a

      framework of measurable action and allow for prudent planning of

      constrained resources. The seven broad concepts currently are: 1)

      source sustainably, 2) build smartly and well, 3) renovate

      strategically, 4) measure the relevant, 5) educate widely, 6)

      monitor and act astutely, and 7) world events. This could be a

      supplement provided to a hired holistically thinking firm that

      can organize the broad and diverse community to plan the entirety

      of a GHG emission zero campus and community.


      1.     Source Sustainably.

      a.     Stay abreast of source utility providers and on-campus

      generation. How will these interplay and complement each other in

      joint master planning efforts?

      b.     Develop relationships with source utility providers and

      maintain awareness and encourage phased master planning documents

      (i.e. 2030, 2040, 2050) to be jointly developed and shared by

      campus and utility providers.


      2.     Build Smartly and WELL.

      a.     By 2023, abandon the net-zero growth policy while requiring

      all new projects and current projects to build/renovate to

      “net-zero ready”, or LEED Platinum (latest version).

      b.     By 2023, attend professional organizational meetings to

      encourage local professionals to educate themselves on "net-zero

      ready" building paradigm.

      c.     By 2023, chart and understand time related metrics (and cost)

      to deliver a capital project, especially with CDB participation

      as is anticipated unless P3 approach receives BOT approval.

      i.      This analysis should include the availability of labor at max

      capacity of union tradespersons to perform installations.

      Recently, at six large campus projects, the labor halls were

      empty. What does the educational and labor pipeline and trends

      forecast for tradespersons over next 30 years?

      ii.     Illinois State and University of Illinois Springfield

      construction projects will also be increasing as time approaches,

      thus perhaps drawing on regional labor pool.

      iii.    If we must address 100 buildings collectively, plus many in

      the surrounding community, we may be looking at 15-20 years of

      continuous construction at 100% labor availability (having all

      labor re-tooled to know latest tech and science of advancing


      d.     Campus level technologies deployable now (2023) are to be

      considered in the proposed Clean Energy Plan and may include:

      steam, chilled water, solar, wind, geothermal, nuclear, methane,

      renewable natural gas, hydrogen, and low temperature hot water,

      and other delivery systems. Appears the solution lies in

      optimizing the various potentials, various use types, and

      external utility provider sources of available technologies for

      the optimal benefit per investment.

      e.     Building level technologies deployable now (2023) are to be

      considered in the proposed Clean Energy Plan and may include:

      energy recovery wheels, heat pump, advanced sequences of

      operation, auto-fault detection and diagnostics, variable speed

      drives, digital controls, occupancy/vacancy sensors, LED

      lighting, heat recovery chillers, high efficiency boilers, low

      temp heating water systems, variable refrigerant technologies,

      and building envelope and comfort system continuous and


      f.      Build so as to be maintainable afterwards with least effort

      and educated resources.

      g.     By 2025, make it mandatory to design to optimally reduce scope

      1 and 2 GHG emissions.

      h.     By 2025 and ongoing, reflect on and enable efficiencies in the

      capital project delivery process to reduce time in each action.

      i.      By 2026, hire only A/E’s and Construction Managers with

      experience in providing “net zero ready” and WELL buildings;

      must demonstrate continuous advancement in net-zero knowledge and


      j.      By 2027, decide what campus utility systems will be used to

      meet 2050 objective.

      k.     By 2027, create “Program Statement” language that includes

      provisions for mandatory meeting “net zero ready”, WELL

      Buildings, LEED Platinum buildings, and neutral GHG emission

      objectives and include as possible International Living Institute

      and Regeneration Design concepts to stretch towards


      l.      By 2027, enable state and local government to require more

      stringent energy and greenhouse gas emissions policies for state

      and non-state funded capital projects.

      m.     By 2030, build to net-zero GHG emission levels while

      optimizing source production, energy use index, and human

      wellness per building use type.


      3.     Renovate Strategically.

      a.     By 2023, demolish as necessary during renovation to reduce

      release of embodied carbon.

      b.     By 2023, recycle as much as possible when demolishing.

      c.     By 2026 to 2041, design all systems of facilities to "GHG

      neutral or net-zero ready" for buildings campus determines to

      keep for next 30 years (campus needs to create a long-term vision

      and planning document to 2050 that address carbon neutrality).

      d.     By 2029 to 2049, execute phased construction of

      projects/utilities to achieve net-zero carbon metric, using 100%

      of available labor pool and plan on 20 years of continuous

      construction activity.


      4.     Measure the Relevant.

      a.     By 2023, maintain accurate, trended, and normalized energy

      consumption data on all facilities.

      b.     By 2025, create and perform a 5-year rotating plan to perform

      Level 2 Energy Audits on top 100 GHG emitting facilities by


      c.     By 2025, know and track annually Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3

      emissions as developed by the EPA for each facility on campus.


      5.     Educate Widely.

      a.     By 2024, if research is underway that may impact carbon

      neutrality objectives, inform campus with expected year of

      commercially available and UL listed products.

      b.     By 2024, communicate widely the project concept to occupation

      length of time, availability of labor resources, availability of

      vendor resources, etc.

      i.      As an example, the LUMEB facility took 8 years from concept to

      occupancy. This transpired over COVID-19, but before supply chain


      ii.     One can expect supply chain shortages for relevant technology

      and design/installation expertise to increase as we approach 2050

      on a global scale.

      c.     By 2025 to 2040, incentivize education of entire building

      industry on net-zero approaches.

      d.     By 2026 (upon receipt of master plan), share plan with and

      have mandatory workshops for any parties who participate in the

      design, construction, and maintenance of a new facility on

      campus, including many representatives and authorities at campus

      facilities and services. They provide utility provisions, energy

      certifications, and sustainable measures as approved by State of

      Illinois and in harmony with their independently crafted building

      standards, existing infrastructure, and internal master planning


      e.     By 2026, report to campus and others the annual scope

      emissions mentioned above for each facility.

      f.      By 2026, enable all chairs, heads, and business associates to

      understand the fiscal impact expected and provide time to

      allocate/determine funding resources.

      g.     By 2026, enable education of latest technology and

      improvements in a continuous fashion year after year to labor

      pool (update materials minimally once per year), i.e. A2L low

      flammability refrigerant.


      6.     Monitor and Act Astutely.

      a.     Now… be aware of governmental, political and scientific

      organizations programs and effects, educate widely!

      i.      Now... COP, Paris Agreement, etc.

      b.     Now… be aware of global companies and efforts or lack

      thereof to achieve net-zero carbon emissions.

      c.     Now… know dynamic vendor supply chain constraints,

      understand “early bird gets the worm” strategy, and update

      general project timelines.

      d.     Now…plan to abandon steam generation at campus level and

      move to building level as required as efficiently as possible,

      begin migration.

      e.     Now… assess and track dynamic public opinion as we approach

      2030 and each following year successfully, reviewing as to

      impact; calculate loss or gain of tuition and research revenue

      based on progress to net-zero carbon.

      f.      By 2026, be aware of campus scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions

      per EPA on annual basis and act to maintain momentum as



      7.     World Events.

      a.     Plan for and consider probability of effect on timescale

      and perhaps necessity to exert more effort due to war, civil

      unrest, pandemic, or like events.


      Pros / Cons:

      Pros - provides a proposal of actual tasks required to achieve

      carbon neutrality by 2050 by our campus and surrounding

      community, seeking to provide a platform for discussion of a

      comprehensive and holistic view of the complex and dynamic forces

      that will minimally affect the end objective.

      Cons - This suggestion is of one mind. The suggestions above may

      already be in motion, but not broadly communicated in a unified

      fashion. Broader and inclusive discussion with respective parties

      to be affected by this cultural evolution (everyone) need to be

      involved in the discussion and provide their independent thoughts

      towards enabling the community at large and state to achieve the

      2050 objective.





The results of this submission may be viewed at:



This message was sent through the icap mailing list Send email to list at: Manage your list settings or unsubscribe: