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Projects Updates for Student Sustainability Committee (SSC)

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  1. News-Gazette article about CIF geothermal

    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."

  2. Florida-Orchard Prairie Pollinator Signage

    A 24" by 36" blank sign was installed at the corner of Florida Avenue and Orchard Street, by the Florida-Orchard prairie, near Orchard Downs and the Presidents’ House. The information planned to be featured in the sign will originate from the new Bee Campus brochure. This text will highlight the Bee Campus student organization, information about pollinators, as well as university and campus initiatives to be more pollinator-friendly. Thanks to funding by SSC, the signage will be ready for public display by the end of 2021!

    See the attached files to view the installation of the blank sign!

  3. SSC Semesterly Report June 2021: Meadow at Orchard Downs Low Mow Zone

    As a part of the terms of the funding agreement for Meadow at Orchard Downs Low Mow Zones, the Student Sustainability Committee released a semesterly report with key information about the project on June 14, 2021. The report can be viewed below.

  4. NSRC Pollinator Garden Build

    The 350 square-foot pollinator garden at the National Soybean Research Center is planted! The weather was beautiful and we had a fun time hearing plant stories and learning about our very own native species from Layne Knoche. Check out our Facebook post here. 

    Huge thank you to Layne Knoche, Eliana Brown, and the whole Red Oak Rain Garden team, Eric Green, Michael Dzianott and the Red Bison team, Joey Kreiling, Blake Cedergren, and the From the Ground Up team, and all friends who helped out with the planting. 

    Stay tuned for more fun! 

  5. Article: An Earth Month to Remember

    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. 

  6. Scope change approved: iSEE Green Labs Intern

    The SSC approved a scope change for the Green Labs Intern project to allow the funding to be used for the larger Greener Campus program, and to revise the schedule to have an expiration date of June 30, 2023. The project contact is Meredith Moore at iSEE.

  7. 2021-2022 Student Sustainability Committee Member Application

    The Student Sustainability Committee is seeking undergraduate and graduate students interested in applying for a voting member position for the 2021-2022 academic year. Applicants are not required to have a sustainability or STEM background. Any dedicated student interested in promoting campus sustainability is encouraged to apply. The deadline to apply is May 14, 2021.

     

    Student Sustainability Committee • Student Success and Engagement

     

    2021-2022 Student Sustainability Committee Member Application

  8. Applications for SSC Student-Led Projects Under $10,000

    SSC is now accepting applications for Student-Led Projects Under $10,000 for its first funding cycle of the semester. The deadline for this initial round of funding is March 31. Join one of the virtual working group meetings on 3/22/2021 or 3/24/2021 for help with applying!

    March 18–31

    Samuel Yoo • Student Success and Engagement

    Applications for SSC Student-Led Projects Under $10,000

     

  9. First Team Meeting for Building Envelope Pilot Project

    The Building Envelope Pilot Project team held the first of three large meetings planned for the Building Envelope Pilot Project, which is funded in Spring 2021 with the SSC and Carbon Credit Sales funding. F&S, ICRT, and a student representative met to confirm the scope for the thermal imaging and blower door testing. We started with introductions of the team members and a general voerview of the pilot project.  Then ICRT leadership provided background information about ICRT, envelope commissioning benefits and processes, and initial expectations for the requirements to complete this project at the Transportation Building. At the end of the call, we defined next steps for getting the thermoimaging vendor on contract, specifying the equipment needs for the blower door testing, and scheduling the actual testing day. A tentative date to consider is April 13th, which is a non-instructional day this spring.

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