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Projects Updates for Energy Conservation Efforts

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  1. Conservation Budget Recommendation (ECONS003) - Submittal

    The ECBS SWATeam submitted a recommendation to the iWG stating, "We recommend continuing to fund critical projects that are key to energy conservation efforts at UIUC. Given the budgetary constraints of the University of Illinois, the team has developed a prioritized list to guide decision makers about funding priorities. Please see noted references for additional rationale for our recommendations.

    Priority 1 (Top—Most important): RESTORE funding for energy conservation work to FY 15 levels (total of ~$2M) to allow the recommission teams to continue their work. Specifically:

    • Restore $610K in Systems & Controls / Energy Conservation FY 16 cuts (includes $250K Quick Payback.)

    • Provide funding to maintain the $1.15M needed for the 3 existing Recommissioning teams.

    • Protect this initiative from FY 17 budget cuts (including another $ 250K proposed cut in Quick Payback.)

    Priority 2: INCREASE the Recommissioning and Preventive Maintenance (PM) teams. IMPLEMENT systematic upgrades of building control systems.

    • Increase Recommissioning teams from 3 to 4 for FY2017 (increase of $ 350K for FY 17).

    • Provide funding for systematic building control upgrades at $1M/year to allow further conservation.

    Priority 3: MAINTAIN the State Utilities Budget (currently ~$65M/year). This will allow campus to reinvest energy savings in more conservation work while maintaining the ability to cover possible future fuel and power price increases. Future Energy Performance Contracts with ESCOs could be supported by this reinvestment, as well as providing funding support for debt service payments on borrows. We anticipate that another ~$100M will need to be spent on future ESCO/deferred maintenance projects.

    Priority 4: COORDINATE with the Campus Master Plan to retire campus space and reduce overall campus square footage. New capital projects must be optimized for energy conservation. Coordinate campus deferred maintenance estimated at (~$750M) with deferred maintenance projects, campus energy conservation efforts, and campus master plan efforts."

    See attached the SWATeam recommendation ECONS003 Conservation Budget complete with comments from all the ECBS SWATeam members.

    See Supplanted ECONS001 Conservation Budget

  2. Uni High steam conservation project

    Associated Project(s): 

    Dave Hardin submitted a small project to replace about 35 obsolete thermostats and about 55 steam valves. There are several valves that are leaking through and heating the spaces, resulting in increased utility usage, as well as occupant discomfort. While we are doing this work, we will install a main isolation valve on the steam entrance line that is control by outside air temperature. Steam distribution goes around campus and turns the steam on/off twice a year for cooling and heating season, and with our lovely Illinois weather we could have significant temperatures swings that result in simultaneous heating and cooling situations. This isolation valve will eliminate those issues as well as provide a more comfortable building for the occupants while transitioning through season changes.

  3. Illini Lights Out Results

    Energy Conservation and Building Standards SWATeam Recommendation Summary:
    Illini Lights Out – Friday April 15th 6pm – 7pm

    Summary: Student volunteers switched off lights in 8 buildings around the Main Quad, counted the number of lights and the room number on a tally sheet and closed any windows left open. Students were given free rein on how to document lights in rooms (some chose to write the rooms with lights off and on, some just the rooms with lights on) and which (unlocked) rooms to enter – as long as they recorded the number of lights switched off. After returning their tally sheets they filled out a short survey and enjoyed some pizza.

    Buildings and Number of Lights Turned Off:

    • English Building: 100
    • Gregory Hall: 540
    • Lincoln Hall: 60
    • Daniel Kinley Hall: 42
    • Davenport Hall: 191
    • Noyes Laboratory: 75
    • Altgeld Hall: 182
    • Foreign Languages Building: 343

    Total: 1, 533

    Number of windows closed: 71

    Student volunteers: 22 students from 18 different majors, from ALL academic years.

    Student Feedback: Fun & positive environment. Advertise more. Recruit more people. Do it more often. Develop consistent counting metric.

    Suggested Buildings: Armory, NSRC, Illini Union, Psychology Building, South Quad, ALL.


    • Students keen to participate again – more advertising = more participants.
    • Significant room to expand initiative across campus: north/south quad.
    • Not all buildings can be audited due to sensitive information or lack of classrooms.
    • Specific rooms/ numbers and number of lights should be provided in future to simplify volunteer instructions and tally sheets. However, many accessible hallway lights were switched off during this event.
    • Partnership with local restaurant would make this more cost effective to run and maintain.
    • Better education of the importance of keeping windows closed to maintain heating/cooling efficiencies needed – especially when weather transitions from cool to warm. 
    • Directly addresses iCAP Chapter 2. Objective 4: Engage and incentivise the campus community in energy conservation.

    Illini Lights Out is an effective and cost efficient way to help with energy conservation efforts and engages students on campus!!

  4. Levenick Research Fellow to address energy conservation

    Associated Project(s): 

    Behavioral Interventions for Campus Energy Consumption

    According to Levenick Research Fellow Erica Myers:

    “Fuel costs — particularly in a campus setting — are often not well understood or salient for consumers. Students, faculty, and staff do not see billing or consumption information, making it difficult to translate use of particular energy services into costs. As a result, energy consumption is often ‘out of sight, out of mind’ as we go through our busy days on campus.

    “The goal of our research is to identify behavioral interventions that can be used to reduce campus energy consumption. First, in the spring of 2016, we will work with engineers and building managers on campus to identify behavioral energy savings opportunities related to office and classroom heating and cooling, electronics and lighting. Then in the summer and fall of 2016, we will design and test the relative effectiveness of behavioral interventions such as educational campaigns, usage information provision, and social comparisons for taking advantage of savings opportunities and reducing energy consumption.

    “Our findings will be shared with University of Illinois stakeholders, presented at academic conferences, and made publicly available in a University white paper in early 2017. Our results will not only be relevant for the U of I in meeting its campus sustainability goals, but for other campus and commercial settings where energy use is not well understood or salient for consumers.”

  5. Conservation Budget Recommendation - Assessment by the iWG

    ECONS001 Conservation Budget Recommendation was assessed by the iCAP Working Group (iWG) on May 21, 2015. The iWG's official comment was:

    "Facilities & Services doesn’t have decision authority on this matter. Office of the Provost decides on budgets. Kent had proposed ESCOs to take care of some deferred maintenance, and funding was pulled from the State. The State pulled funding allocations for facilities both retroactive and recurring. iWG members support the statement."

    See ECONS001 Conservation Budget Recommendation


  6. ECONS001 Conservation Budget Recommendation - Submittal

    The ECBS SWATeam submitted a recommendation to the iWG stating, "Energy conservation programs should be exempted from any budget cuts or rescissions because of their key sustainability impacts and clear return on investments."

    See attached the SWATeam recommendation ECONS001 Conservation Budget complete with comments from all the ECBS SWATeam members.

  7. "Smart Campus" Goals Set

    Associated Project(s): 

    F&S Executive Director Jack Dempsey is working with the F&S Energy Division to clearly describe the “smart campus” goals for direct digital controls, real-time metering, and optimization of the campus power supply and demand decision making.