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- suggestions for Clean Energy Planning
suggestions for Clean Energy Planning
Posted by Morgan White on March 18, 2023
Name: Damon McFall, PE, MBA
Affiliation: Mechanical Science & Engineering Department
Subject / Project Name: Creating a Tasked Approach to 2050 Carbon
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
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
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,
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
The results of this submission may be viewed at:
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