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Project Updates for collection: Renewable Energy Projects


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  1. Digital Sign for Recognition of SSC $375k Contribution

    Part of the $25K fund 1‐304398, “602 SSC‐CIF Geothermal” for the CIF account is recognizing SSC’s $375K contribution to Geothermal in digital signage for a year at CIF.


    The final draft of the digital signage is attached below.


    Attached Files: 
  2. Request for New Project Tabs

    Assistant Director of Student Sustainability, Samuel Yoo reached out to Sarthak Prasad for guidance with iCAP Portal projects. Specifically, Yoo was unable to find existing projects for the following:

    - Diversion of Non-Recyclable Plastic using Pyrolysis Process to Produce Fuels for Campus

    - Preventing Window-strike Bird Fatalities with Energy Efficient Window Decals 

    - Valorized Archived Soils and Long-Term Carbon Budgets

    Sarthak replied explaining that new project tabs will be created for the first two projects and the last project fits under the "Monitor Soil Health" project.


  3. UIC interest

    Associated Project(s): 

    Cynthia Klein-Banai, Assistant Vice-Chancellor and Director of Sustainability at UIC, provided this summary of UIC's interest in Solar Farm 3.0:

    "Rob Roman approached VC Coronado last fall about lending support to their efforts to amend the DUP in order to allow for renewable energy procurement, specifically through a Power Purchase agreement. The evaluation of the project was referred to the Office of Planning, Sustainability and Project Management and to Campus Utilities and Energy Services. It was determined that these groups were not only interested in supporting the amendment but also in participating in the RFP process to procurement 80,000 MWh/yr of renewable electricity through a Power Purchase agreement (aka Solar Farm 3.0) for a project in Illinois. On February 3, 2021, John Coronado, VCAS, Dave Taeyaerts, Associate Director of Planning, Sustainability and Project Management, and Cynthia Klein-Banai, Assistant Vice Chancellor and Director of Sustainability met with Chancellor Amiridis to gain his approval for this. Chancellor Amiridis said he was supportive of both the amendment change and engaging in the RFP process together with UIUC."

  4. Solar Decathlon Project Update

    Associated Project(s): 


    From: Majerus, Elizabeth

    Sent: Thursday, September 16, 2021 12:25 PM

    To: White, Morgan

    Cc: Gharpure, Prajakta Milind; Kovitz, Kyle Paige; Low, Khee; Davis, Peter ; Collins, Halie Jean; Kroencke, Janet Lynn

    Subject: Re: Following up with Solar Decathalon Design Team


    Hi Prajakta, Peter, Khee, and Kyle,

    I really loved the work you did on envisioning an energy efficient retorfit and addtion for Uni High's beautiful historic building. Uni will be moving forward in the next five years with a fundraising plan for an expansion and update of our building, and we'd love to be able to consult with some or all of you as we lay that groundwork. 

    Halie, we'd also love to have any current ISD students/staff involved, if there's interest. I'm also CCing our Director of Advancement, Janet Kroenke, who will be in the lead of the fundraising efforts that will make our future building update possible. 

    Please let me know if you'd like to be part of a conversation about drawing on the Uni High Solar Decathalon Design project for our future planning.

    Take care,





    Elizabeth Majerus, Ph.D. 


    University Laboratory High School

    Provost/VCAA Admin

    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 


    From: White, Morgan

    Sent: Tuesday, August 10, 2021 10:00 AM

    To: Majerus, Elizabeth

    Cc: Gharpure, Prajakta Milind; Kovitz, Kyle Paige; Low, Khee; Davis, Peter; Collins, Halie Jean 

    Subject: RE: Following up with Solar Decathalon Design Team


    Hi Elizabeth!

    This is great to hear.  And congratulations on being named the Director.

    I’m copying all the students you named, and the current ISD lead, Halie Collins.  Please let me know if there is anything else I can help with!







    Associate Director of F&S for Sustainability


    Facilities & Services | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    1501 S Oak Street (MC-800) | Champaign, IL 61820


    From: Majerus, Elizabeth

    Sent: Wednesday, August 04, 2021 12:06 PM

    To: White, Morgan 

    Subject: Following up with Solar Decathalon Design Team


    Hi Morgan,


    I'm interested in following up on the wonderful Solar Decathalon project that the student design team presented on in May 2020. This was something that I had hoped to do during the 2020-21 school year, but the pandemic really shifted my expectations and task list. 

    I wondered if you might have contact information for any of the students who worked on the Uni project. Prajakta Gharpure, Khee Kim Low, Peter Davis, Kyle Kovitz were the students who presented that day.

    We are hoping to stay in our present Uni building, and ideas like those that these students shared are an inspiration for what might be possible in terms of the greater space and updated infrastructure we'll need to sustain our school.

    Thanks for any help you can offer on this.


    Take care,


  5. Internships and Volunteer Opportunities to Protect the Environment

    From: Liv Clafford

    Hi Professor,

    My name is Liv and I’m with the University of Illinois Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) Campus Action club. Illinois PIRG Campus Action is a student activist group working on important issues on campus like environmental protection, college affordability, non-partisan voter registration, and more!

    This semester, we have in-person and virtual, internship and volunteer opportunities for students to learn valuable organizing skills and make a real difference in our community. 

    Can we make a quick 5 minute announcement in your class next week? Please let us know if we are able to do this in person or virtually.

    For the past 40 years we have been working on college campuses to amplify the power of student activism. We know students want to make a difference on important issues like banning single use plastics or making college more affordable. 

    We’re looking for students who are passionate about these issues and want to put their knowledge into action.  We work with student interns and train them to run effective, strategic campaigns.  

    If we are not able to make an announcement, can you send the information below to your students? 

    Thanks so much for the help!

    Liv Clafford

    lclafford at

  6. Updated list of sustainability projects that need YOU!!!

    This is a list of projects that need students to work on.  It will be updated periodically by sustainability staff members, the last update was 8/30/21:

    • The campus MS4 stormwater permit currently has 49 Best Management Practices (BMPs) that have to be completed annually . One of the 49 BMPs is a Public Education and Outreach requirement to broadcast or publish one stormwater Public Service Announcement (PSA) on social media, radio, television and/or internet. We currently have a couple on our website and would like to keep it up to date with new materials whenever possible. Another opportunity is for a Public Participation and Involvement BMP to discuss and provide opportunity for public input on the Storm Water Program (permit BMPs), climate change and environmental justice topics. This could be met by webinars, PSAs, posters, etc. Contact is Betsy Liggett.
    • Develop informational messaging about SmartWay, get more UIUC departments aware of the program, and coordinate a related student event.  Contact Morgan White at mbwhite at
    • Support the Champaign County Design and Conservation Foundation (CCDCF) Board with their county-wide efforts for conservation and design.
    • Conduct a campus poll (fall semester 2021) regarding the Top 10 most iconic/significant/impressive trees on campus (including the arboretum). Develop an online survey tool (i.e., an online poll) whereby students and campus employees can nominate their favorite campus trees. Upon conclusion of the survey, work with Jay Hayek to tabulate and rank the results and create a publicly viewable ArcGIS Online StoryMap showcasing campuses Top Ten Trees. Prepare a presentation of results for the annual Arbor Day Celebration. Contact Jay Hayek at jhayek at
    • Follow through with Facility Liaisons for implementation of recommendations from NRES 285: iCAP Sustainability Ambassadors class: Illini Union.
    • Follow through with Facility Liaisons for implementation of recommendations from NRES 285: iCAP Sustainability Ambassadors class: Huff Hall.
    • Follow through with Facility Liaisons for implementation of recommendations from NRES 285: iCAP Sustainability Ambassadors class: ECE Building.
    • Follow through with Facility Liaisons for implementation of recommendations from NRES 285: iCAP Sustainability Ambassadors class: Armory.
    • Follow through with Facility Liaisons for implementation of recommendations from NRES 285: iCAP Sustainability Ambassadors class: Bevier Hall.
    • CCNet Website: Work with the Champaign County Sustainability Network (CCNet) leadership team to redesign and publish the CCNet website (old version is online at There is a monthly brown bag sustainability networking event on the Third Thursday of each month, but the website hasn't been updated since 2016. Contact Morgan White at mbwhite at
    • We are seeking a student volunteer who can do tree identification for a series of trees in the Arboretum, and work with the University Landscape Architect, Brent Lewis, and the Superintendent of Grounds, Ryan Welch, to compare the tree identification to the draft tree inventory. Contact Morgan White at mbwhite at
    • Work on outlining sustainable initiatives that DIA can take in support of the Green Sports Alliance. Contact Meredith Moore, mkm0078 at
    • Help iSEE develop a Sustainability Literacy Assessment. Contact Meredith Moore, mkm007 at 
    • Help identify and develop opportunities for intersecting sustainability and the arts (sustainability murals, utility box artwork, etc.). Contact Meredith Moore, mkm0078 at 
    • Develop permanent posters for the Solar Farm 2.0, to guide tour participants at the site. Contact Morgan White at mbwhite at
    • Help iSEE work with Student Sustainability Committee grant to expand small scale campus composting. Contact Meredith Moore at mkm0078 at
    • If you have a project idea, please contact us at, or submit it through the iCAP Portal Suggestions page.
  7. Real-time energy dashboards now available

    After discussions with Michael McKelvey at MSTE and Aaron Mason and Ian Bonadeo at Hawkeye Energy Solutions, since Morgan White put them in contact back in April, the ECE building’s energy dashboards are now available without requiring a login and via domain name rather than IP address! Here are the dashboards:

    ECE Building – Energy Dashboard

    ECE Building – Net Zero Energy Dashboard

    You can view the listing of dashboards currently available at the U of I Building Energy Dashboard Home Page.


  8. ECE energy dashboard refinement in discussion

    Joyce Mast is working with Patricia Franke to refine the ECE energy displays to include the effect of local weather on the solar panels. F&S Utilities and Energy Services is connecting Joyce with the contact people at Hawkeye Energy Solutions, who incorporated real-time energy data in the ECE energy dashboard, using campus data provided by F&S.

  9. Proposed presentation for AASHE

    Sol Systems is looking to present at the AASHE’s Global Conference on Sustainability in Higher Education (GCSHE) sometime from October 12-14 through their request for abstracts on Emerging Issues in the field.

    Sol Systems is looking to present on our work expanding the impact of renewable energy projects that would certainly focus on things we did for the U of I project, namely the inclusion of pollinator habitats, zero waste construction and the work with students for their Sustainability Minor Capstone projects.

  10. Outage Request Form

    Associated Project(s): 

    Allen E. Wilson from Rockwell Financial Group reached out to inform F&S that there has been a complete outage request form filed by Jeff Isaacs to shut down Solar Farm 1.0 on 8/23/2021 at 7:30 AM CDT for preventative maintenance on the site's switchgear. This is a dedicated line going from Solar Farm 1.0 to distribution center 10 directly so costumers will not be affected by this outage.

  11. Kane County Solar PV Concerns

    Associated Project(s): 

    Kane County Department of Environment and Water Resources, Management Coordinator, Ivy Klee reached out to get some information about solar panels. Specifically, they are proposing a solar project that is across some residential homes. The residents of those houses have growing concerns about living across from an eight acre solar field due to potential radiation. Ivy wants to know if this is a legitimate concern and if there is any research on this subject. Professor and Director at the Grainger Center of Electric Machinery and Electromechanics, Philip Klein, explained that any electromagnetic radiation stems from inverters and wiring, not from the panels themselves. Certified residential inverters must meet FCC Class B limits (similarly to air conditioners and other residential appliances). The only potential concern is communications interference which has only been an issue when solar farms have been installed very close to aircraft navigation radars or military radars. For more information visit:

    Other information was shared regarding solar PV by Mechanical Engineering Emeritus Professor, Ty Newell:

    -As homes electrify (heat pumps for comfort conditioning, heat pumps for water heating and heat pumps for clothes drying), along with EVs (Electric Vehicles), all solar energy (including wind) converted to electricity for powering our homes, buildings and vehicles is released back into the environment at exactly the same amount that was temporarily diverted to keep our food preserved, buildings comfortable, and providing transportation....unlike fossil (stored solar energy) that is an additional release of energy to the environment (along with a lot of other stuff)

    -Every dollar removed from fossil fuel related electricity production creates 10 times more jobs in manufacturing and construction for building heat pumps, constructing solar and wind fields, and improving our buildings (~0.2to 0.3jobs per million$ of revenue for fossil fuel industry, similar to investment banks and health insurance companies versus 2-4jobs per million$ of revenue for jobs in manufacturing and construction...Fortune 500 data)

    -Improving home and building efficiency will create a surplus of electric energy for a seamless transition to EV transportation

    -EVs require about 200square feet of solar array (size of a garage car space) for 10-12,000 miles of driving per year

    -The coal industry employs fewer people (less than 8000) in Illinois than the Univ of Illinois graduate each year.....clean energy and sustainable living technologies will provide those jobs



  12. Geothermal Illinois Series: Community Models

    Associated Project(s): 

    On August 12, 2021, the Illinois Geothermal Coalition hosted it's third webinar in the Geothermal Illinois Series.

    The program, Geothermal Illinois: Community Models, discussed (1) decarbonization of the energy sector with a focus on the challenge of decarbonizing commercial and residential heating, (2) geothermal energy at the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District’s Administration Facility and converting a public sector commercial building to geothermal energy, and (3) the process of designing and implementing the community-based education and group purchasing program Geothermal Urbana Champaign. 

    These topics were covered by the following presenters:

    • Scott R. Tess, Sustainability & Resilience Officer for the City of Urbana, IL
    • Peter Murphy, Solar Program Director, Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA)
    • Jane Sullivan, Grants & Governmental Affairs Director, Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD)

    See the recording of the webinar and slide decks:

    Additionally, the complete materials from all 3 Geothermal Illinois sessions are available for viewing:

    • July 29 - Geothermal Illinois: Research and Technology - Recording | Slides
    • August 10 - Geothermal Illinois: Campus Projects - Recording | Slides
    • August 12 - Geothermal Illinois: Community Models - Recording | Slides
  13. Geothermal Illinois - 7/29 Webinar

    Thank you to those who participated in the Geothermal Illinois webinar on 7/29! Many thanks to our presenters, Dr. Tugce Baser, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; John Freitag, Executive Director, Geothermal Alliance of Illinois; and Dr. Yu-Feng Forrest Lin, Director of Illinois Water Resources Center; Principal Research Hydrogeologist, Prairie Research Institute.

    As promised, slides are available for download here, and a recording can be found here.

    Other helpful links shared during the program:

    Please join us on August 10 and August 12 for geothermal webinars that will give us a closer look at campus projects and community models.

    For more information, please contact: 

    Nancy Esarey Ouedraogo
    Extension State Specialist, Community and Economic Development
    905 S Goodwin Ave
    557 Bevier Hall MC 184
    Urbana, IL 61801

  14. 2021 – ECEB is 100% Solar Powered!

    Associated Project(s): 

    ECEB solar panels have been generating power since April 2020. Building energy use is offset by the ECEB solar panel production and, since February when a contract between F&S and ECE has been in place, the excess energy use not offset by the ECEB solar panels is being replaced through solar renewable energy credits (SRECS) from Solar Farm2. These credits are being paid for by the ECE Power and Energy group.

  15. Upcoming energy-themed events

    YOU are invited to iSEE's monthly TED Talk: Eco-Edition series discussion. Tomorrow (Tuesday), July 27 at 5:30 PM, Paul Foote, F&S Energy Efficiency and Conservation Specialist, will host the event and lead the July discussion on energy conservation. We will view a pre-recorded TED Talk , "The four things you need to know about the energy you use", followed by a guided discussion and roundtable. All are welcome to this (fun!) Zoom event, and I hope to see you there! Register here.

    Additionally on the topic of sustainable energy, this summer the University of Illinois Extension is hosting a series of free and online webinars on the topic of geothermal energy. There are three upcoming sessions at noon on the following dates (click the links to learn more and register): July 29 (Geothermal Energy in Illinois), on August 10 (Campus Case Study, highlighting ten existing campus geothermal projects), and August 12 (Community Case Study).

    There are many events in the coming weeks to keep you energized and engaged!


  16. ECE Building Energy Dashboards

    From: McKelvey, Michael L
    Sent: Tuesday, July 13, 2021 10:10 AM
    To: White, Morgan
    Subject: ECE building energy dashboards


    Hi Morgan,


    You may already be aware of this, but I wanted to let you know that, after corresponding with Aaron Mason and Ian Bonadeo at Hawkeye Energy Solutions since you put us in contact back in April, the ECE building’s energy dashboards are now available without requiring a login and via domain name rather than IP address! Here are the dashboards:


    ECE Building – Energy Dashboard

    ECE Building – Net Zero Energy Dashboard


    You can view the listing of dashboards currently available at the U of I Building Energy Dashboard Home Page.


    They’re now ready to be linked from the appropriate iCAP Portal entries!



    ============== Michael McKelvey ===============

    Office for Mathematics, Science, & Technology Education

    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    (217) 244-7148

    ============ mmckelve at ============

  17. Article Highlights Conversion of Food Waste Into Energy

    To combat the issue of food waste, U of I Housing collaborated with F&S Utilities & Energy Services, Operations, Maintenance & Alterations, and environmental compliance. The committee researched various food waste options, including composting, pulpers, and grinder systems used for anaerobic digestion -- including Grind2Energy systems.

    These operate similarly to an industrial garbage disposal. However, it uses significantly less water than the digester system, up to 90-95 percent less. Additionally, it does not send the waste directly to the sanitary sewer. The food waste is pumped into a 5000-6000 gallon tank located on the outside of the building it serves. A tanker truck empties the waste and takes it to the local sanitary district. The industrial-strength waste is processed in an anaerobic digester, where it undergoes treatment without oxygen. The methane produced is collected and used to generate electricity at the treatment plant.

    Read more about Grind2Energy use on campus through the F&S Website or the PDF in the attached files!