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Projects Updates for Student Sustainability Committee (SSC)

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  1. SSC funds AgroForestry for Food - Irrigation Initiative

    The row crops that dominate Midwestern agriculture, corn and soybeans, are productive but also have a number of negative environmental impacts, such as soil erosion, loss of soil carbon, nitrate leaching, and greenhouse gas production. In order to combat these impacts of traditional Midwestern agriculture, this team established an “Agroforestry for Food” trial to experiment with systems that use multiple, perennial crops to produce foods with better environmental benefits and ecosystem services. This 12-hectare experimental plot is located at the Energy Farm on South Race Street, where it can produce a large amount of food and critical insights into the development of stable, productive cropping systems. It is entering its fifth growing season, but due to insufficient irrigation in past seasons, development of the plants has been slowed. This funding will allow for the installation of irrigation to improve crop growth and development, earlier and more robust harvests, and speed up the progress of the trial.

  2. SSC funds ECE Building Interactive, Energy Education/Production/Use Display

    The ECEB is projected to achieve net-zero energy shortly, due to its super-efficient design, construction materials, and recently installed solar panels. In order to celebrate and educate about this achievement, a multi-disciplinary team from ECE, Facilities & Services, iSEE, Engineering AV IT, and the School of FAA is coming together to visualize, construct, program and operate a student-focused display about energy production, utilization, and conservation in the ECEB south lobby. Several thousand students pass through this lobby daily, as well as many campus visitors, including the 10,000+ that come during Engineering Open House. The display will engage students and visitors with a touchscreen and information kiosks, show in real time the energy produced by ECEB’s solar panels and solar farm allotment, and demonstrate the efficiencies of ECEB. With the installation of this display, the building will be able to obtain LEED Platinum certification.

  3. SSC funds Campus Instructional Facility Geothermal

    Construction will begin in June on the University of Illinois Campus Instructional Facility (CIF), which will be the first public-private partnership on the UIUC campus and the first geothermal system project of its size and scale. This geothermal installation will be scalable, allowing for expansion to other buildings on the Bardeen Quad. The system will reduce overall usage of other energy sources and provide a form of resiliency when parts of the campus energy system go offline, as well as reduce dependence on the Abbott Power Plant. It will also provide a prime opportunity to seek publicity and coverage to promote the UI as a leader of sustainability. Its completion will be a milestone for the university’s goal of carbon neutrality and will be the first to use this forward looking design while transitioning the campus towards a cleaner tomorrow.

  4. SSC funds Vision Zero for UI

    Vision Zero is an international organization with the primary goal of promoting zero fatal and severe injury crashes in cities and communities. This is done by implementing practices which go beyond the traditional approaches to safety – by combing data-driven decision making with the incorporation of human error, community input, and implementing a “Safe Systems” approach. This project’s goal is to have zero traffic crashes at UIUC, making it a safer environment for students and staff. It is expected that traffic incidents will increase on campus due to the rise in bike ridership and construction. This project will investigate which Vision Zero principles could be implemented in order to prevent these dangers, resulting in a report that identifies the safety critical point in the transportation network that can be improved according to Vision Zero.

  5. SSC funds Illini Union I-Room LED Conversion

    The Illini Union Illini Rooms (I-Rooms) are currently using compact fluorescent lighting fixtures, which are low efficiency, contain mercury, and are expensive to maintain. This project will replace all 72 of these fixtures with LED alternatives. It will increase energy conservation efforts in the Union and reduce its overall carbon footprint. Doing so will also advance iCAP objectives and increase awareness of wasteful energy consumption.

  6. SSC funds Art & Design Hallway Lighting

    The second and third floors of the Art & Design building house the most-used student workspaces. Currently, these hallways (which are heavily used for the display and critique of student artwork) have bare fluorescent bulbs and manual switches. This project will allow for the replacement of the ceiling with a suspended ceiling system and integrated edge-lit LED flat panel lights, with occupancy sensor light controls. Additional funds will be supplied by Art & Design and award funds from the Energy Conservation Incentive Program.

  7. SSC funds Energy Shaft at the Energy Farm

    This student-led project will involve the design, construction, and installation of an energy geo-structure for heating the UIUC Energy Farm, located near the southeast corner of Race Street and Curtis Road on the South Farms. This project has great potential in exploring and utilizing geothermal energy, a renewable energy alternative to fossil fuels. An energy shaft is a new technology designed to access the shallow geothermal energy (relatively constant ground temperature in the upper 30 m of the subsurface). The objective of the project is to determine the feasibility of using drilled shafts that are already being used to support structures on campus also as a geothermal heat-exchange element. Geothermal heat exchangers (closed absorber pipes) can be incorporated into underground infrastructure, e.g., drilled shafts, through which water is circulated to withdraw shallow geothermal heat (~55 °F) and transport it to the surface for structure heating or cooling.

  8. SSC funds Red Oak Rain Garden Sidewalks

    Located just south of Allen Hall/LAR and west of McKinley Health Center, the Red Oak Rain Garden solves local flooding issues while providing an outdoor space for the UIUC community. This SSC grant provides support for sidewalk modifications and additions, expanding pedestrian and cyclist transportation while strengthening flood control. The project team will also install benches to encourage community members to use the space throughout the year. For outreach, the project team will host a ribbon cutting event that celebrates the upgraded rain garden. Similarly, individuals can follow the rain garden @RainGardenUIUC on all social media platforms. 

  9. Meeting Minutes for iWG February, 2019

  10. 18F Semesterly Report - Beginning bike maintenance classes

     

    Simon taught 15 sessions with around 100 attendants total, over the 15 weeks. The sessions were Mondays from at 6:30. The sessions began on 9/5/2017 and concluded at the end of the fall semester.

     

    The manager of the Campus Bike Center, Jake Benjamin, will help us seek another qualified student to teach the class this spring.

     

  11. SSC Funds Hillel Micro Grant

    Illini Hillel Center for Jewish Life on Campus (the Center) has been working toward creating a more sustainable Center for the last few years. Starting with a student driven initiative to purchase and install a filtered, reusable water bottle filler, the Center has been working to improve its environmental impact in more ways. We would like to prepare a locally sourced Sabbath dinner for our community, using that time together to educate the community about our sustainability initiatives.

  12. Final Report submitted to SSC - Speech and Hearing Solar

     

    This project was originally proposed by Mechanical Engineering students for Abbott Power Plant in spring 2016.  At that time, the SSC members did not want to support solar on the co-generation power plant because it uses fossil fuels.  They asked if we could use it on a different campus roof, and we considered all the large or medium campus roofs.

     

    The SSC asked us to identify a building that could have solar added, so I reached out to Applied Health Sciences in 2016 for approval to use the Speech and Hearing Sciences Building.  Since that time, Kristine Chalifoux confirmed that the roof is strong enough for solar panels, due to a previous change in the insulation materials.  Brian Finet completed design drawings for installing solar on the full available roof, and the Architecture Review Committee confirmed the building is allowed to have solar added.  

     

    After the engineering design work, the remaining funds were about $35K.  This fall, we received a construction estimate from Jeff Holt for upgrading the electrical system to handle a 70 kW solar PV array.  It would cost about $42K if done in conjunction with your capital project, just to get the wiring up to the roof and ready to punch through and install panels later.  Rather than ask the SSC for additional funding and an extension, I am returning the remaining dollars and putting this project on indefinite hold. 

     

    The overall campus goals for on-campus solar generation are listed in the 2015 Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP), which will be updated for 2020.  The current objective is to generate 25,000 MWh/year of on-campus solar, and we are currently at about 7,000 MWh/year.  Per the direction received from Chancellor Jones, we are working on a second large-scale solar farm to meet the goal, rather than several smaller-scale projects. 

     

    The second solar farm is planned to be about 12,000 kW in name-plate capacity, significantly more than the 70 kW rooftop array for Speech and Hearing.  Rooftop solar is still an option, and several departments continue to install them at the building scale. The design drawings are posted online through the iCAP Portal, at https://icap.sustainability.illinois.edu/project/speech-and-hearing-rooftop-solar-pvs, for future use.

     

  13. Final Report submitted to SSC - Illini Bikes

     

    The goal of this project was to support installation of high density bike parking in an area of campus with high needs for additional bike racks, and provide an amenity for campus cyclists with a unique shelter structure protecting parked bikes from the winter elements at the Main Library.  This funding purchased the bike shelter and high-density racks.  The shelter will be installed at the Main Library, after completion of the MCORE construction work on Wright Street and Armory Avenue.

     

  14. 18F Semesterly Report - CornCrete

    The most significant development to date is that two buildings have been identified in which the material the team is work with will be installed, one is a single-story building of approximately 400 sq/ft the other has a double height space and a footprint off approximately 1,600 sq/ft that will be enclosed using the material in development.

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