Illinois Solar Decathlon Marketing (Microgrant)
The SSC approved $700 in funding for this project at Illinois in Fall 2020. This project expires 12/16/2022.
The SSC approved $700 in funding for this project at Illinois in Fall 2020. This project expires 12/16/2022.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is helping to promote and encourage participation in the Solar Urbana-Champaign program.
The successful Solar Urbana-Champaign group purchasing program is available again in 2018. Since 2016, the program led to the installation of over 1 megawatt of solar on 138 properties across Champaign County. The program educated hundreds of individuals about solar and helped people save on solar through volume purchasing.
In 2018 the program expands eligibility to Piatt County residents as well. And, thanks to new state legislation, even more people can get access to solar. To increase awareness across Champaign and Piatt Counties, Midwest Renewable Energy Association partnered with Champaign-based Prairie Rivers Network, which champions clean, healthy rivers and lakes and safe drinking water to benefit the people and wildlife of Illinois.
Discover Magazine released an article highlighting the biodiversity benefits that can stem from pairing solar farms with pollinator-friendly plants. Supporting its claims with initiatives from universities across the country, the article recognizes the University of Illinois' pollinator habitat at Solar Farm 2.0.
Read the article on Discover Magazine. Or, refer to the PDF of the article in the attached files.
The News-Gazette printed this story about the geothermal at the Campus Instructional Facility: https://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/university-illinois/renewable-en...
"URBANA — The University of Illinois’ glossy new building at Springfield Avenue and Wright Street represents the next step in its sustainability goals.
The four-story, 122,000- square-foot, $75 million Campus Instructional Facility is also the biggest geothermal installation on the UI campus.
Its geothermal system can pump 135 tons of hot or cool air into the building. That’s twice as much as the next biggest geothermal system on campus, and about 30 times the amount pumped into an average home.
“The whole world knows about solar and wind power and things like that — hydroelectric power, too — but that’s only the electric side of energy. Energy also includes heating and cooling,” said Morgan White, director of sustainability at UI Facilities & Services. “It’s truly transformative, because it’s moving into the phase of getting us clean thermal energy and not just clean electricity.”
Electricity provides heating and cooling as well, she said, but it’s primarily provided by natural gas, propane and other nonrenewable sources of energy.
The key to the geothermal endeavor? Forty boreholes dug into the Bardeen Quad next to Grainger Library. They’re 20 feet apart, 6 inches wide and drilled 450 feet deep.
Initially, the project required 60 boreholes, but UI researchers reduced that figure — and made the system financially feasible — by checking the thermal conductivity of different rock and soil layers, or the rate that heat passes through them, while considering the depth and flow rate of groundwater.
To keep the building temperate year-round, a mixture of water and glycol circulates from a heat pump in the mechanical room into a pipe that runs up and down the underground field of boreholes.
In winter, the pump pulls heat from the ground into the building. In summer, heat is pumped from the building back into the ground.
“It’s like when you have a bathtub that’s a little too hot or a little too cold, and you pour some water in and stir it up,” White said.
In all, the system reduces the building’s energy consumption by 65 percent compared to a typical heating/cooling installation, saving about $45,000 per year.
Student initiatives helped fund the state-of-the-art thermal system. The 18-member Student Sustainability Committee, funded by the annual “Green Fee” assessed on students, allocated $375,000 — or about 13 percent of the system’s cost — to the facility’s geothermal installation.
The building has a number of other unique features. It contains two dozen new classrooms — one of the highest figures on campus — replete with active-learning and distance-learning spaces. In the fall, engineering courses will occupy most of the space, along with math, statistics and other technical classes.
The facility is also the first UI building funded through a public-private partnership, which allows for tax-exempt financing.
Meanwhile, faculty and graduate students will use temperature information from a 385-foot-deep monitoring well, funded by Facilities & Services and the Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment, for continued research opportunities.
As part of the Illinois Climate Action Plan, the university plans to get to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Currently, around 12 percent of electricity is provided by renewable sources, like the solar and wind farms near campus, White said. But only 4.5 percent of the UI’s total energy use, counting thermal, comes from renewable sources.
“Clean electricity is important, but it’s not enough,” White said.
In the planning stages, the UI wasn’t supposed to start implementing geothermal systems until 2035, but a suggestion by Yu-Feng Forrest Lin of the Prairie Research Institute jump-started that process."
The site was seeded on 6/4/2021.
For June, CCNet has arranged and sponsored a tour at Allerton Park & Retreat Center. This tour will take place on Friday, June 25th at 3:00 PM CDT. As mentioned in their monthly newsletter:
Join us on a tour of Allerton!
We will be meeting near the outside patio of Greenhouse Cafe at Allerton Park & Retreat Center. During this tour, Derek Peterson, the Director of Allerton, will show us clean energy installations at the center and we will visit the compost toilet funded by the Student Sustainability Committee. The Clivus Multrum compost toilet system is installed at the park’s Schroth Trailhead, providing park volunteers, trail-hikers, and other visitors the ability to use the restroom in an environmentally sustainable and convenient manner without needing to travel all the way to the Visitor Center to do so.
Afterward, all are more than welcome to continue your visit to Allerton or join us for a quick bite at 3 Ravens in Monticello, IL!
Please note that coordinated transportation will not be provided for this event. If you would like to drive to the event, parking is available at multiple locations around the park.
Learn More About Planning Your Visit (Parking & Accessibility)
Last week, an IGSHPA Town Hall event was held to discuss district geothermal.
Perhaps there should be a standard developed for solar on buildings with monitoring and connectivity requirements. trouble shooting issues could go to a service contract to handle or there could be a work order for the F&S electricians. We should certainly train the campus electricians on everything that needs to happen for maintaining solar systems, or get a standing service contract.
F&S submitted the Spring 2021 Semesterly Report to the SSC for the Solar Farm 2.0 Landscape Buffer project!
Read the report in the attached files below.
F&S provided the attached files to Kerry Shanebrook, the Grounds Superintendent at Taylor University, in regards to pollinator plants under solar arrays.
RailSplitter Wind Farm provided the May 2021 Buyer's Share amounts by hour, totaling 2053.1 Megawatt hours. See attached file.
RailSplitter Wind Farm provided the April 2021 Buyer's Share amounts by hour, totaling 2357.6 Megawatt hours. See attached file.
Entomology Today released an article highlighting the strategy and benefits behind pairing solar energy with pollinator habitats. Supporting its claims with UIUC and Iowa State initiatives, the article discusses content such as the scorecard approach, efficiency of the positioning of planted vegetation, and restrictions from geographic locations.
Read the article on Entomology Today. Or, refer to the PDF of the article in the attached files.
The final stage of the Solar Farm 2.0 project is wrapping up this month with the planting of a native pollinator habitat. The farm will serve as a major demonstration and research site for pollinator-friendly solar arrays, with more than 6.5 million flowering plants and native grasses around the 54 acres of panels creating a natural habitat for birds and beneficial insects. With this second solar farm, the campus has achieved clean energy goals outlined in the Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP) nearly four years ahead of schedule. Clean energy production will now support roughly 12 percent of annual campus electricity demand. Congratulations to Facilities & Services for all of the hard work on this important project; iSEE and its SWATeam members were proud to provide key support for Solar Farm 2.0 by pushing for an increased renewable portfolio in the iCAP. Students in iSEE's sustainability minor also helped assess the new array's carbon footprint!
The Spring 2021 iSEE Quarterly Update (iQ) highlighted a diverse array of campus initiatives that made this year's Earth Month one to remember. Ranging from hosted events to sustainable energy, the article discusses the launch of the "TED Talk: Eco Edition" series, Solar Farm 2.0, community trash pickup, and more!
Read the article in the attached files below.
The Spring 2021 iSEE Quarterly Update (iQ) was released with the following message from Madhu Khanna, the Interim Director of iSEE:
Attached, please find the Spring 2021 “iQ” – the quarterly update from the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE).
It has remained a busy time here on our campus, as we bolstered our outstanding Congress and Critical Conversation events with the addition of two experts — activist Catherine Coleman Flowers and nuclear expert Denia Djokić — who are serving as Levenick iSEE virtual resident scholars.
Thanks to the support of experts Eban Goodstein, Tami Craig Schilling, and Harriet Hentges, our new Environmental Leadership Program workshops for undergraduates were a rousing success.
And we were so pleased to have a mix of virtual and in-person Earth Month events to engage students, faculty, and staff from across our campus!
Please take a quick look at those updates and more in this six-page “iQ.” For more regular news, please sign up for our E-newsletter at https://illinois.edu/fb/sec/5031776.
Best wishes for the summer,
Halie Collins is the officially the next President of the Illinois Solar Decathlon (ISD) team! In her new position, she will be leading the efforts to form the next Build Team and Design Team.
The outgoing president, Shashikiran Duraisamy, shared this note of thanks with Morgan White at F&S: "The Illinois Solar Decathlon team is extremely grateful for all the support that you have provided in the last two years. Your support was extremely valuable for our success and to support and contribute towards University’s sustainability initiatives. We are so much grateful for the Facilities and Services’ decision to allow ISD to store our construction materials in the Physical Plant Services Building and the constant support that the Receiving team (Dave Boehm & Jim McGuire) provided us to access the materials with ease. This was a lifesaver for our project. I look forward to the continued relationship between Illinois Solar Decathlon and Facilities & Services."
Chancellor Jones highlighted the Solar Farm 2.0 "Noteworthy at Illinois" Newsletter. In its final stage, this project makes the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign the third-largest producer of onsite clean power among U.S. universities.
A document of ideas brainstormed for the displays and kiosks in the ECE lobby was sent to Joyce Mast by F&S contacts. These ideas were created with the goal of having students actively engage with the display through physical interaction, as well as passive engagement while students look at the stations in passing.