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Projects Updates for iCAP Working Group (iWG)


  1. ZW002 Join NERC Government Recycling Demand Champions - Submitted

    The Zero Waste iCAP Team made the following recommendation ZW002 Join Northeastern Recycling Council Government Recycling Demand Champions on 4/2/21: 

    University of Illinois to join the NERC Government Demand Champion Program.

    1. Free technical assistance in training, recognition, and tools to support efforts in the program. This will help us find more Post-consumer recycled (PCR) products by engaging with existing or identifying new vendors, provide training opportunities to department buyers, and/or provide the SWATeam with innovative engagement tools to increase buy-in across campus.
    2. Aligns with State of Illinois Procurement Code (ILCS 500/45-15 & ILCS 500/45-20)
    3. First University to join the program
    4. National recognition for sustainability commitment
    5. Support a circular economy
  2. LW003 Certified Greener Building Certification - Submitted

    The Land and Water iCAP team submitted the following Certified Greener Building Certification recommendation on 4/2/21:

    "The Land and Water iCAP Team recommends the creation of a Certified Greener Building Program to add to the portfolio of Greener Campus Programs under iSEE. The existing Greener Campus Programs target nearly every facet of campus life from University employees to student experiences. A Greener Building Certification would provide an opportunity for collaboration between building liaisons and the people and groups that utilize campus buildings. A set of requirements and voluntary actions must be developed to achieve the certification. Based on the success of the existing Certified Greener Campus programs, students, faculty, and staff alike are very likely to take advantage of the certification opportunity and embed these actions as part of building operations. These actions will also promote life-long sustainable habits. A Greener Building Certification would establish a sustainability standard and increase our culture of sustainability on campus."

  3. LW002 Vet Med Parking Lot Re-Design - Submitted

    The Land and Water iCAP team submitted the following LW002 Vet Med Parking Lot Re-Design recommendation on 4/2/21:

    "This recommendation calls for a redesign of the Vet-Med parking lot F27 to reduce runoff and prevent flooding of the Dairy Farm. Project design recommendations would include adding stormwater infrastructure such as bioswales and raingardens within the redesigned parking lot, as well as to the west of the parking lot where much of the runoff from the asphalt currently flows. A student project, which placed first in the Central States Water Environmental Association Student Design Competition: Environmental Category addresses this issue, but the team recommends hiring a Professional Services Consultant team, consisting of a professional engineer and landscape architect for the design. It is possible that the firm may be willing to donate the design, which would reduce the cost."

    Attached Files: 
  4. Engagement001: General Education Board Sustainability Sub-group - Submitted

    The Engagement iCAP team made the following recommendation on 3/29/21. The Engagement001: General Education Board Sustainability Sub-group recommendation is attached. 

    The Engagement Team proposes that a working sub-group be formed within the General Education Board of the University to address and support the implementation of a sustainability general education requirement proposed by the Illinois Student Government.

  5. Education SWATeam Meeting Minutes 2/8/2021

    Meeting minutes from the February 8th Education SWATeam meeting. 

    At this meeting, the team met with members of the Illinois Student Government to discuss their proposal to the Educational Policy Committee on developing a General Education Requirement in Sustainability. This has been an ongoing goal that builds off of iCAP 2020 Education objectives. 

  6. Energy005 Modeling for Energy Code Compliance - Submitted

    The Energy iCAP team made the following recommendation on 2/11/21. The Energy005 Modeling for Energy Code Compliance recommendation is attached. 

    The aim of this recommendation is to ensure compliance of current and recent projects with State of Illinois Energy Codes and Facilities Standards

    1. F&S will identify a contractor—which may be a student group or include a student group—capable of creating 25 models of building whole energy use in campus buildings. F&S will contract to provide electronic files so they can be run on a common platform such as Trane700, Energyplus, eQuest, DOE-2 or BLAST. Preference will be given to contractors who make maximum use of student effort.
    2. F&S will identify five buildings completed recently but prior to 2019 for which breakdown meter energy use data is available, and five campus buildings currently under construction. F&S may identify buildings for which the required requested model energy files are available, at a cost saving on the project.
    3. The contractor – in collaboration with a student group -- will complete for each of the ten buildings
      1. a model file of the building which follows the Energy Code prescriptive requirements (baseline energy model) in use at the time of construction in order to determine an Energy Cost Budget, (10 files)
      2. a model file of the building as constructed (10 files), and
      3. a determination of the level of compliance with Energy Codes and Facilities Standards in terms of design and construction.
    4. For the five already-completed buildings, the contractor will calibrate the as-constructed model to fit the measured energy consumption data, using historical weather data. The calibrated model (5 files) should replicate actual energy use for a minimum of one year within 5% on a monthly basis and within 20% on a daily basis.
    5. If energy modeling files are available in project files on a common platform listed above, and may be distributed, then this may be considered one of the deliverables, and the work need not be redone, at a cost saving for the project.
    6. The contractor will provide a final report that describes the level of compliance in the ten buildings with the State of Illinois Energy Code (in use at the time of design and construction, as applicable) and Facilities Standards. The energy model files will be made available publicly, and primarily to students and faculty in engineering and architecture for their study.
  7. Res002 Biodiversity Plan - Submitted

    The Resilience team made the following recommendation on 2/3/2021: 

    Lisa Merrifield at U of I Extension should coordinate the development of an urban biodiversity master plan for the local urbanized area of Urbana, Champaign, and Savoy, with broad stakeholder input and direct faculty/researcher involvement.

    Attached is the Res002 Biodiversity Plan recommendation. 

  8. Trans012 Carpool Survey - Returned

    Morgan White and Ximing Cai, the iWG co-chairs, returned the Trans012 Carpool Survey recommendation on February 2, 2021 with the following email. 

    Hello Transportation iCAP Team,

    The iCAP Working Group is continuing to work through the several SWATeam recommendations that were submitted in April 2020.  Ximing and I appreciate your patience with this process, which took some additional time due to the iCAP 2020 completion work (and the pandemic).

    The Carpool Survey recommendation, Trans012, was initially submitted as a recommendation to conduct a survey, develop a plan, and implement a pilot program.  With the Campus as a Living Lab (CALL) project, Student Mobility on and around the Illinois campus, funded in Fall 2019, Ximing reached out to Dr. Ouyang this summer.  He shared this update, “Originally we were hoping to conduct not only the survey but also do an initial design of the service system (service model, business plan, resource assessment, economic analysis).” and “We were planning to send out the survey (as major task of the $9K seed project) in Spring 2020, but the topic (carpool service) was inappropriate under the COVID-19 environment -- the results would likely be heavily biased under the unusual circumstance.”

    Because there is work underway through the CALL project, and while this work is on-hold for the pandemic, Ximing and I have decided to formally “return” this recommendation to your team.  We are very supportive of this project moving forward, once we are in the post-pandemic world.  Please consider this particular recommendation (Trans012) as closed.  When the CALL efforts are further along, we would be happy to see a new SWATeam Recommendation for the next steps. 

    Thank you for all your excellent work!  We look forward to additional recommendations from your team.


    Morgan and Ximing


    See the Trans012 Carpool Survey submittal.

  9. iCAP Working Group Meeting 1-20-2021

    Below is the recording link for the 1-20-21 meeting. Meeting minutes to follow.

    ***Correction from recording*** Example scenario - if in the first year, College of Engineering spends $100 million on utilities and in year 5, they do work to reduce consumption by $1 million, will they get that $1 million of savings in perpetuity or for a limited time? They would get $100 million in allocation, but their utility costs would only be $99 million and they would keep the difference and be able to spend it on other budget items.

  10. iWG Meeting Minutes from 11-18-20

    The iCAP Working Group met on November 18, 2020 and discussed energy conservation funding (Energy004) after hearing a presentation by Josh Whitson, Tony Spurlock, Rob Roman, and Karl Helmink (F&S). The meeting minutes and presentation are attached. 

  11. Energy001 Anaerobic Digester Feasibility Study - Successful

    Doug Wolters, the ACES Director of Operations, responded to Morgan White, co-chair of the iWG, with the following email:


    Good morning Morgan,

    Many thanks to you and your team for your work on the development of the iCAP 2020!

    The College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) has a long standing commitment to sustainability and is fully supportive of the iCAP goals and specifically the SWATeam recommendation to “conduct a Feasibility Study to construct and operate an anaerobic digester on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus.”

    As noted in the recommendation, the feasibility study should be incorporated into the planning phase of the new Dairy Farm project.  Although the 2017 Campus Master Plan indicates a new Dairy Farm at Lincoln Avenue extended, the timing and funding of this project are yet to be determined, confirming several of the comments and perceived challenges identified in the iWG Assessment and SWATeam Recommendation regarding the need to consider such items as project timing, funding, return on investment, resource allocation, and other financial impacts. 

    All the best,


  12. Energy001 Anaerobic Digester Feasibility Study - Transmitted

    Following the completion of iWG assessment for Energy001 Anaerobic Digester, the recommendation was transmitted to German Bollero (ACES Associate Dean for Research) and Doug Wolters (Director of Operations, Facilities Planning and Management) on October 27, 2020.

    See the submittal of Energy001 Anaerobic Digester.
    See iWG assessment of Energy001 Anaerobic Digester attached.


    Good morning German and Doug,


    On behalf of the Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP) Working Group I am transmitting a recommendation from the Energy Sustainability Working Advisory Team (SWATeam) for your attention.  This recommendation is to identify a lead researcher in coordination with the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) to initiate a feasibility study for an anaerobic digester at the future dairy facility in the College of ACES. The original Energy001 recommendation from the SWATeam is attached here, as well as the iCAP Working Group’s assessment and an extended comment from one of our iWG student members, Jonah Messinger.


    We appreciate your support during the development of the iCAP 2020, which was recently finalized and approved by Chancellor Jones at the Campus Sustainability Celebration. To see more, you can visit the iCAP 2020 page on the iCAP Portal at As a reminder, the iCAP includes this statement on page 67, “A promising future technology for the campus is an anaerobic digester that could accompany the construction of a new Dairy Facility. The proposed digester would use organic waste to produce biofertilizer and biogas, which could be upgraded to renewable natural gas (RNG) and processed into renewable compressed natural gas (CNG). The renewable CNG could then be used as fuel for the campus fleet.” Thank you again for your assistance with the development of this plan. 


    For your info, the prior digester study was for an installation at the Beef and Sheep facility, and it was quite promising for research tied to ACES and Engineering. In 2014, we worked with Dr. Neal Merchen on the development of an ISTAR proposal with several of your faculty.  That effort was stalled with some leadership changes, but it is still available to be reviewed and enhanced in connection with the future dairy facility.


    If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us or any member of the iWG.  We look forward to hearing your response to the recommendation, and we ask that you provide an official reply by November 20 addressing how you plan to move forward with this recommendation.  We look forward to hearing from you.


    Best regards,

    Morgan and Ximing

  13. iWG Meeting Minutes from 10-9-20

    The iCAP Working Group met for the first time during the 2020-2021 academic year on 10-9-20. The group welcomed new members and discussed the status of the SWATeam recommendations submitted last spring by the teams. The meeting minutes and spreadsheet of the recommendation statuses are attached. 

  14. Energy002 Building Envelope - Successful

    Morgan White, Associate Director of F&S for Sustainability, responded to Dr. Ximing Cai with the following email. See the attached file for an overview of the building envelope testing pilot project.


    Hi Ximing,

    Thank you for sharing the Energy002 SWATeam recommendation. As we discussed, F&S is pleased to move forward with this recommendation to do a Building Envelopes Pilot Project on campus.  We have submitted a request to the Student Sustainability Committee, seeking their support to run this pilot project.  We are also meeting with Bill Rose, the co-chair of the iCAP Energy Team, and several F&S team members to discuss first steps.  I’ve attached a project overview here, which we can share with the iCAP Working Group.




    See transmittal of Energy002 Building Envelope to F&S here. 
    See iWG assessment of Energy002 Building Envelope here.

    See recommendation and submittal of Energy002 Building Envelope here. 


  15. Email to Resilience SWATeam re: Edu002 recommendation

    Hello Resilience SWATeam!


    I hope this message finds you well. In the spring, one Education SWATeam (Edu002) recommendation to the iCAP Working Group suggested developing a sustainable communities paid internship program for students, in partnership with local businesses, non-profits, local government agencies, and local community-based organizations. As the recommendation states, the program would be designed to provide student opportunities in the sustainability field to advance resiliency efforts in our region and help tackle challenges related to climate change.


    The iWG recommended including the Resilience SWATeam in discussions on how best to move this forward since it directly involves and relates to the community. We recognized that cities are interested in working with students though funding may be a potential barrier. Your input on this recommendation will be very helpful. What are your initial thoughts on this recommendation? Does this seem like a feasible project, and what would be needed to implement such a program? Meredith may schedule a meeting in the fall between the two SWATeams to discuss further, though in the meantime, please respond with your feedback.


    Thank you!
    Ximing Cai

    August 2, 2020


  16. ZW001 Student Sustainability Ambassador Program - Successful

    Dr. Evan DeLucia, Director of iSEE, sent Meredith Moore the following email: 

    Good morning, Meredith

    I’ve had a chance to review the iWG recommendations and discuss them with iSEE leadership. Both recommendations, the Environmental Leadership Program and Student Sustainability Ambassadors are creative, will provide students with new opportunities to engage in sustainability learning, and will have a positive impact on our iCAP goals.

    The iWG should be aware that we are launching test modules as part of the leadership program this fall semester. iSEE has hired a coordinator to develop several learning modules, likely full day programs, on topics such as ‘environmental communications’ and ‘effective interviewing strategies’. We will use these modules to recruit faculty into the program, build partnerships, evaluate financial expenses, and evaluate student interest. If all goes well, these modules will serve as the components of full program. Once we have a better sense of the curriculum, we can also initiate fund raising activities.

    The ambassadors program has real promise to advance campus’ iCAP goals and to more fully engage students in sustainability activities. That said, iSEE is not prepared to launch this program at this time. Not for lack of merit, but rather for lack of bandwidth. To properly launch the leadership program mentioned above is a significant undertaking and we want to make sure we do it well. While iSEE is not prepared to launch this program at this time, we will take an initial step to explore its viability by discussing the proposed course offering with NRES.

    Please extend my thanks to the iWG and the SWATeams for their dedication to making Illinois more sustainable.
    iSEE is working on developing a plan for implementing this program.

    See transmittal of ZW001 Student Sustainability Ambassador Program here.
    See iWG assessment of ZW001 Student Sustainability Ambassador Program here. 
    See SWATeam recommendation of ZW001 of Student Sustainability Ambassador Program here. 
    See NRES 285 iCAP Sustainability Ambassadors for future updates. 


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