You are here

Project Updates for collection: 2015 iCAP Objectives


Search tips:

  • This form will search for words in the title OR the description. If you would like to search for the same term(s) across both the title and description, enter the same search term(s) in both fields.
  • This form will search for any of the words you enter in a field, not the exact phrase you enter. If you would like to search for an exact phrase, put double quotes (") around the phrase. For example, if you search for Bike Path you will get results containing either the word Bike OR the word Path, but if you search for "Bike Path" you will get results containing the exact phrase Bike Path.
  1. archived info - previous project description

    The 2015 iCAP, chapter 8, objective 1 is, "By the end of FY16, conduct a Request for Proposals process for verified carbon offsets — and undertake the first campus purchase of offsets." iSEE is developing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for purchasing carbon credits, aka carbon offsets.

    iSEE is developing the technical specifications for a Request for Bids (RFB) for purchasing carbon credits, aka carbon offsets in FY17. These will be used both to replace the carbon credits sold from calendar year 2016, and as a starting inventory for the Virtual Storeroom.

    During this process, iSEE will develop detailed specifications for carbon offsets to ensure that all purchased offsets are additional (in the sense that they enable reductions beyond business-as-usual), measurable, conservative (to ensure reductions are not overstated), permanent, independently verified, trackable, and transparent. The 2015 iCAP intended to have an RFP done by the end of FY16, and the current schedule will have the purchase completed by the end of FY17.


    Because campus sells carbon credits through the Carbon Credit Purchasing Program (C2P2) at Second Nature, we need to replace those boutique carbon credits with carbon offsets.  By the end of FY17, we will buy 103,000 carbon offsets (equivalent to 103,000 tons of greenhouse gasses not being released into the atmosphere) to replace those sold from calendar year 2016.

    Additionally, in the same RFB, we will purchase 10,000 additional carbon offsets which will be used to set up a new virtual storeroom to allow campus units to voluntarily offset their carbon emissions, for example from air travel to scholarly meetings.

  2. Weekly Sustainable Transportation meeting with Hrushikesh and Nathaniel

    On 07/20/2023,  Sarthak, Nathaniel and Hrushikesh had a weekly meeting to discuss on Weekly Progress of the current projects that we are working on.

    Meeting Notes:

    - Campus Bike Plan 2024

    - Abandoned Bikes Project Inventory Documentation Completion

    - Bike Parking Rack Design

    - Research on Permeable Pavers and Bike Shelter

    - Discussion on the Next week's Tasks regarding Bike Audit

    - Bike Census


  3. follow up on potential VRO project

    Dear Madhu,

    Thank you for taking the time to speak with me and here is a follow up email to our zoom conversation. The committee on natural areas at UIUC oversees research on roughly a dozen university-owned properties that include about 1,000 acres of natural lands spanning east-central Illinois. The largest of these, the Vermilion River Observatory, located about 45 miles by road east of campus, was acquired by the Dept of ECE in the 1960s to construct a radio telescope. The ~495 acre property is now managed by the CNA for various environmental research projects and there are ~105 acres of agricultural land that are leased to a tenant farmer by ECE for cash revenue that at its peak generated ~20k/year but the value of the crop has been declining recently. Due to being in the drainage of the Vermilion river, the soils of the VRO are somewhat marginal in their production value and I think there is some chance the tenant farmer will decide to leave the lease. Or it may be possible given a suitable research project to take over the lease and use the lands for research.

    The project I am interested in pursuing is a long-term, large-scale ecological and agricultural experiment evaluating trajectories of agricultural lands following agricultural abandonment. Considering the scale of the agricultural lands on the VRO, I think it could be possible to have large and well-replicated experimental treatments that include comparisons among passive revegetation, bioenergy production, and active reforestation. Potential study outcomes could include carbon sequestration/flow, biodiversity conservation, and economic and energy cost/benefit analyses comparing the costs of these different experimental treatments versus the returns on investment. By east-central Illinois standards, I think the productivity of the agricultural lands on the VRO could be considered marginal, but based on my read of the literature and our conversation, I get the impression that these marginal lands are more likely to experience agricultural abandonment in the coming years.

    Assuming ECE would be open to a change in the management strategy for the agricultural lands on the VRO, which I would be happy to discuss with ECE and the OVCRI if we decide to proceed, the CNA could provide some logistical support for a large-scale research project on the VRO, including through the use of some of our farm equipment and out buildings on the property. We also have two full-time research/management staff whose time can be budgeted into proposals. And I am eager to undertake more long-term experiments on the CNA properties using former agricultural lands, since I see this as one of the most unique and important values of these properties that can be applied to a pressing environmental challenge.

    This is something I would be excited to pursue through the support of iSEE and I would love it if it gave us a chance to collaborate, Madhu. Attached please find an aerial photo of the VRO and an older site description map. Please let me know if you think this could dovetail with other opportunities currently being pursued by iSEE and CABBI and let me know what I can do to help!




    This is the land that Brian Allan had mentioned to me





  4. Free Native Plants!

    Associated Project(s): 

    Hi all –


    I hope everyone is doing well!  


    I’m reaching out with an opportunity (not related to waste reduction 😊).


    The National Wildlife Federation, alongside our new partner, Garden for Wildlife Inc., have launched an initiative to support our partners (k-12 schools, colleges/universities, churches, etc.) in their efforts to expand quality native habitats for people, pollinators, and wildlifeGarden for Wildlife Inc., sells “direct-to-consumer” native plants to 38 states in the eastern and central United States (western states are coming soon!)


    Your campus can now apply for free native plants for your native plant and habitat projects . These plants will come pre-selected, be native to your area, and include at least one species of milkweed, an essential plant for supporting pollinators and monarch butterflies. These plants are slightly smaller than quart size, with at least 3 inches of new growth. They will begin to bloom within a couple of months of planting, depending on the season. 


    In order to request plants, you must meet the following requirements: 


    • Plant in the approved space within 3 days of receipt (i.e. – a school, community green space, park, etc.). 
    • Maintain the wildlife garden for at least 5 years and share and donate photos of the space or planting. 
    • Display provided signage noting that the plants were donated by Garden for Wildlife by the National Wildlife Federation. 
    • Cover the costs of plant delivery - $38 / 64 plants (i.e. – 192 plants = $114, 768 plants = $456, etc.) 


    To apply, please visit: 


    Please reach out with any questions. This is first come first serve, so if you are interested, please don’t hesitate to fill out the online form! 


    Thanks, take care,


  5. Weekly meeting with Hrushikesh and Nathaniel

    Sarthak met with Hrushikesh and Nathaniel on 7/13/2023 together to discuss the weekly meetings. This was the first Sustainable Transportation weekly intern meeting.

    Sarthak explained the layout for these meetings in the future. Hrushikesh and Nathaniel would lead these meetings going forward. They will report on the progress made in the previous week and go over their to-do list for the current week and the week after. They will send Sarthak their weekly progress report in form of Word or Excel or some other form and share it with the Sustainable Transportation team.

    These meetings will be held weekly until the semester begins.

  6. Weekly Meeting with Nathaniel and Hrushikesh

    On 07/13/2023, Sarthak had a meeting with Nathaniel and Hrushikesh to get a Weekly progress report and to set next week's tasks.

    - Set a structure for Weekly Meetings

    - Discussion on Bike Friendly University (BFU), Bike Racks Locations and their design Plans, Campus Bike Plan 2024, and the Abandoned Bicycles Project.

    - Gave an overview of the i-Cap Portal and Bike Friendly University (BFU) to Nathaniel.

    - Potential Encouragement project on Social Media: Making a Rules of the Road Video.  

  7. Explained the Campus Bike Plan update project to students

    Sarthak met with Hrushikesh Chavan (Master of Architecture student) and Nathaniel Nevins (Bachelors in Landscape Architecture) separately to explain the Campus Bike Plan 2024 update. These students will read up the 2014 Campus Bike Plan, the progress reports, and other documents shared with them to learn more and recommend suggestions for this new Plan.

  8. 4 new EVs and new EV charging stations installed

    F&S has received 4 new Ford F-150 Lightnings all electric trucks, bringing the total to 6 Ford Lightnings and 1 Ford e-Transit cargo van for F&S fleet.

    We have also installed another level-2 Ford dual point smart chargers on the south side of PPSB and we are working on the installation on another one. We have 2 more chargers to install. The Charging Stations installations are being done using the SSC funding.

  9. UIUC student carbon footprint questions

    Associated Project(s): 

    Hi Mr. Helmink,


    My name is Kendall O'Keefe and I am a freshman at UIUC. I am a journalism major, and for one of my final projects for my reporting class we were instructed to write a series of three stories that have to do with a specific category. My category is history, and my final story is about how we preserve historic buildings on campus and what that mainly entails. I am focusing on the differences between Lincoln Hall, Altgeld Hall, the CIF, and the ECE. I emailed Robert Roman with some questions about energy sources in new buildings compared to older buildings, and he copied you on his response saying that you would have more information for me. If you saw that, I would love to email you a couple questions about energy/conservation in new buildings compared to older ones, and what changes are often made to historical buildings in order to make the energy there more preserved/sustainable. Let me know if this is possible, thank you so much!


    Kendall O'Keefe





    Please send your questions in.  Paul, I’ll want your help on this one.







    Here are my questions:


    How is energy conservation/sustainability in new buildings different from older ones?


    New buildings typically have a much more inclusive portfolio of temperature control systems.  We can see all of the room temperatures and systems remotely from our command center.  Older buildings likely have aged pneumatic control systems with no remote visibility on whether these systems are working or not. We also typically have occupancy sensors in the newer buildings and we can tell how often a room is occupied or not and the HVAC system adjusts accordingly. Data trending is very important on the newer systems so we can see temperature trends over time and as well as airflow rates etc.   Lots of data to manage and store in computer servers.  The newer buildings are built to LEED, ASHRAE, and campus energy standards.  These have not always been around.

    The building infrastructure and systems may be different as Karl pointed out, but energy conservation and sustainability are pursued the same across campus.

    Noteworthy are heating and cooling methods have evolved to include heat recovery systems and chilled-beams for cooling.


    What changes are often made to historical buildings in order to make the energy there more preserved/sustainable?


    I’d  say that typically more insulation needs to be added to the walls and roof areas.  The R values in the wall of old buildings is astounding low. New windows get considered.  Steam systems get retired. More hot water is used.  The mechanical systems of the 1960’s thru 80’s are pretty inefficient.  We typically see energy reductions of 50% plus in these buildings.  We have a billion dollars of deferred maintenance on campus, there probably is not nearly enough money coming in fast enough to make upgrades.  Interestingly some of the older buildings with steam radiators and window air A/C units are some of the most efficient  buildings on campus.  People tend to shut off the window a/c units.

    We are also working to incorporate clean energy systems in new building designs which helps with LEED and leaning toward net-zero such as in the ECE building.


    I also would like to know how energy is managed in places like Altgeld and Lincoln compared to the CIF and ECE.


    Not a lot different.   There is utility metering on each campus building that measures water, chilled water, steam condensate, electricity, and sometimes natural gas and hot water where needed.  The monthly data is reviewed and exceedingly low and high energy usage numbers are checked.  The CIF project is not out of the warranty phase yet I don’t believe. The project is still making adjustments up there, so this one is different, so far.


    As Karl mentioned previously, technology makes it easier to monitor the new/upgraded systems and therefore we have more visibility when part of the system deviates from the setpoints or optimized building parameters. This helps catch maintenance items before they become costly problems or require more resources to resolve.

    Thank you so much, I really appreciate your time!


    Kendall O'Keefe


    FYI  I’ll let Paul add to this as he sees fit.







    Hello Kendall,


    Let me start off by pointing out the obvious, but often overlooked!

    Today’s lifestyle demands peak comfortability, access to the latest and greatest technology, and everyone wanting to be connected to everything worldwide instantly.

    This statement alone drives intense energy consumption and often from antiquated inefficient systems.


    With that understanding at hand, the older buildings were not designed to accommodate the requirements of newer technology and mechanical systems.

    For example, the ductwork and fan sizing have a big impact on proper airflows and efficiency within the buildings spaces.

    From a greenhouse gas perspective, we are looking more toward renovating older structures vs building new structures simply for the advantage of capturing the benefits from embedded carbon, not to mention reuse of natural resources and waste removal and recycling.


    Regardless of the vintage, campus does it’s best to make sure everyone is comfortable, has all of the amenities and technology necessary to perform at university today’s fast pace.

    P.S. See below in green font



    Paul Foote




    Thank you so much for your responses! They were extremely helpful to my story. If possible, I was wondering if you happened to know how much the annual power bill for the university is. I would also like to know what the current carbon footprint of the university is. Let me know if you can help me with these. Thank you again for all of your help!


    Kendall O'Keefe



    Hi Tony,

    Can you share the information with Kendall?

    See the beginning of the thread for who Kendall is and what she is looking to do with the campus utilities information.



    Paul Foote





    When you say power bill do you mean the total cost of generated and purchased electricity for the Urbana-Champaign campus?


    On the carbon footprint question, I will need to check with our sustainability folks.






  10. Campus Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC) spring 2023

  11. Zero Waste iCAP Meeting 4/25/23

    On April 25th, the Zero Waste iCAP team met to discuss the State Farm Center Recycling (ZW011) recommendation and brainstorm on the Zero Waste iCAP summary report for the 22-23 FY. 

    Meeting minutes are attached.

    Attached Files: 
  12. iCAP Resilience Team May Meeting

    iCAP Resilience Team had their last meeting of the academic year on Tuesday, April 25th, at 1PM. The team edited the Carbon Offset Statement. The team will send this this statement as a recommendation format to the iWG. Afterwards, with the approvals of iSEE, iWG, and F&S, the team will send this statement to Chancellor Office. Attached is the meeting recording.