The Sustainable Student Farm (SSF) was started in 2009 with a grant from the SSC. The goal of the SSF is to provide fresh, locally grown food to University Housing to reduce the carbon foot print of food service at the U of I, and to show students the health benefits, quality, and superior taste and flavor of locally grown food. This SSC grant supports the Department of Crop Sciences as they plan to move the SSF from its current location at the Fruit Research Farm to the Landscape Horticulture Research Center (LHRC), adjacent to the arboretum. This new location is closer to the campus core, so students can better access SSF. Additionally, this new site is larger, allowing SSF to increase production output. To maximize this move’s efficiency and sustainability, SSF will hire an external firm to complete a feasibility study that identifies the most economical and space-efficient approach to construct the wash/pack/storage facility and space for equipment storage.
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Projects Updates for Student Sustainability Committee (SSC)
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The Registered Student Organization, Illini Eco Concept, will design and build a battery powered concept car to participate in the annual Shell Eco-marathon. In doing so, the team hopes to promote the use of sustainable energy in the automotive field and educate UIUC students about the technology behind electric vehicles. The automotive industry is predicted to greatly decrease its carbon footprint if society shift towards the use of electric vehicles over internal combustion engine vehicles. However, there is often backlash against the use of electric vehicles due to misconceptions about their abilities. This student team will educate its members to design and manufacture an energy efficient electric vehicle and the ecological advantages it can offer.Attached Files:
The Gable Home was designed and built by students to compete in the 2009 US Dept. of Energy's Solar Decathlon Competition. Following the competition, the house returned to campus and was located at the I Hotel until Spring 2017 at which point it had to be moved due to the expansion of the research park. Since then a team of students and faculty have been working on finding a new permanent location for the Gable Home. A suitable location was found at the Energy Farm on Race St. in Urbana. The house is a valuable educational tool for students from many units on campus to visit and experience occupying a space that is powered solely by the sun and uses passive and active systems to create desirable thermal comfort throughout the year. This SSC grant provides support for the installation costs to make Gable Home a permanent fixture at the Energy Farm, so it meets building codes.Attached Files:
The Media Commons at the University of Illinois Undergraduate Library offers all U of I students, faculty and staff access to our Video Production Studio, and other Media Commons Studios. The studio is primarily utilized by students of all majors and interests for the purpose of capturing high quality video footage, using professional studio equipment (cameras, lights, etc.) This project replaces the current outdated, high energy consumption fluorescent lighting sources with a far more energy-efficient, low heat producing, and longer-lasting LED lighting system. LED lights also eliminate the need to replace bulbs, especially fluorescent bulbs which are constructed of hazardous materials.Attached Files:
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Chemical fertilizers necessary to sustain the agricultural practices on campus are significant sources of waterway pollution downstream from UIUC. These pollutants, primarily in the form of nitrate, can contaminate drinking water, leading to health concerns such as blue-baby syndrome. Currently, the contribution of agricultural practices to this nitrate pollution from campus is unknown. This project team will build two “Nitrate Monitoring Stations” that will continuously monitor the flow of water and agricultural pollutants. These stations will transmit the data they collect remotely, allowing easy access to UIUC students and community members. The first monitoring station will be located at the exit point for all water from the UIUC South Farm watershed and the second will be at the exit point for water flowing from the Animal Science Dairy Facility.Attached Files:
This student-led project introduces the UIUC community to innovative forms of 3D printing that use sustainable materials. The project team will 3D print clay and create an extruder system capable of incorporating the use of sawdust into the filament. The School of Architecture produces a considerable amount of sawdust in the fabrication labs (about 40 pounds per semester for each fab-lab). Presently sawdust is considered a waste. By repurposing sawdust, the School of Architecture will reduce its waste, educate students about a new form of 3D printing, and foster sustainable behavior within the community.Attached Files:
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This graduate student-led team will augment management of food waste produced through the dining halls on UIUC campus, via hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) for biofuel production. This is an expansion of Dr. Yuanhui Zhang’s Environment-Enhancing Energy (E2E) research program focusing on Waste-to-Energy. During the Fall 2017 preliminary study, the student team proved that mixed and individual food waste can effectively convert into biocrude oil with different oil yields under different operating conditions. This SSC grant supports the team’s efforts to pilot the process on a larger scale, converting up to one ton of food waste to biocrude oil per day. For outreach, the team will offer tours, display a mobile demonstration, publish their results on campus media, and engage undergraduate students in the research process.Attached Files:
This student-led project upgrades one floor or 19 variable air volume (VAV) boxes to Direct Digital Controls and room level occupancy sensors in Engineering Hall. These measures will allow for scheduling and programming the air flow to the areas served, which will reduce the energy consumption for heating, cooling, and electricity. Currently the space is utilizing pneumatically controlled devices, which are not able to be adjusted on a schedule, so they run constantly at one specific set point. This results in a lack of ability to adjust to changing environmental conditions and results in less than optimal operating conditions. Making these scheduled systems for different settings will lower the unnecessary energy consumption in a building that gets a lot of use.Attached Files:
This project provides an energy consumption reduction solution for The English Building. The team will install occupancy sensing light control modules that can automatically shut off a room's lights when not in use. 11 rooms (classrooms and restrooms) have been selected for the improvements.Attached Files:
We have begun data collection to compare baseline energy consumption to energy consumption after installation of the pilot project - energy efficient HVAC control retrofit. Sensors needed were determined and installed. Data collection has begun with 4 weeks of data so far. Initial review of the data has identified several challenges with the HVAC already including heating valves that are leaking by providing heat where not required, which explains why the Air Handler is getting rid of heat even in the winter. The variable air volume system is also not varying as it should. This is demonstrating some pitfalls of pneumatically controlled HVAC systems.
Hundreds of students have been participating in the event to date, resulting in over 100 tons of CO2 emissions being averted and over 120 megawatt hours of electricity being saved.Attached Files:
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The project began in the start of spring 2018 semester and had four phases, each phase consisting of 2 months approximately. The first phase consisted of analyzing the feedstock sources from the dining hall for their energy content at laboratory scale in batch reactions and potential economical returns. In doing so, our team determined which food category had the greatest conceivable benefit to campus, based on quantifying the available waste and value recovery using HTL. The second phase of this project will consist of converting the oil phase of the laboratory HTL process into a refined product for the sustainability project. During this phase, the biooil was modified via chemical treatment to refine the petroleum alternative into a usable product that can substitute a campus cost. This portion of the work was essential to validating food waste HTL processing, as our projects can specifically improve UIUC sustainability. The following weeks focused on preparing a larger scale assessment for expanding the HTL scope of feedstocks for further energy recovery using waste at larger scale, as well as determining the potential impacts on campus with sizable amounts of food waste.Attached Files:
Last year in competition our new car earner us 12th place with 614mpg. This is much lower than we had hoped for but we have identified our problems and are ready for a much better season. Our biggest issue was we encountered a fuel leak. The leak was not discovered until the last day of competition when it could not be fixed in time. This had a large impact on our fuel economy and kept us from being successful. We also had a bad gear ratio which meant we had to run our engine more than we would have liked to. Finally, we had a lot of issues with our body panels that increased our drag. We have resolved the fuel leak and gear ration, and are redoing some of our body panels to correct this. We hope to bounce pack and break 1000mpg this year.
The project is progressing, but all equipment is currently sitting in purchasing waiting to be released, built, and delivered.
The project has had many successful test trials using small amounts of product in our test kitchen, and we are anxiously awaiting the production equipment to arrive to start using more of the produce that is being grown.
The project has had much opportunity to develop test recipes and trial the equipment that has arrived, but is waiting on some key pieces to arrive. The harvester being provided by funding from Dining has also arrived and been tested in the field with this year’s harvest.
The seasoning line has arrived and is installed. The extruder system modifications PO has been issued and is in design/build process currently. We have been having a series of meetings to complete this work.
The sink has been fully installed and is meeting all goals of the project. Water usage from hand washing is down as a direct result of this installation, along with providing awareness of the use of water in a processing facility.
Spring 2017: Landscape Architecture student Cameron Letterly submitted proposal to SSC, along with Illinois Extension’s Eliana Brown. Cameron graduated.
Summer 2017: Cameron completed initial design work for garden
Fall 2017: Staff turnover; Cameron left to start MBA program and Katherine Gardiner was brought on as Communications Lead
Winter 2017-2018: Staff addition of Landscape Architect student Layne Knoche
Spring 2018: Layne designing Extension pamphlets to base future RORG communications products upon, with assistance from Eliana and Katherine
Summer 2018: Staff addition of Landscape Architect Master’s Candidate Kayla Myers; Layne and Kayla work to re-design garden.
Fall 2018: Grounds will remove rock and install erosion control fabric.
Winter 2018-2019: Kayla Myers and Layne Knoche to work with Architectural Review Committee for final design approval and plant suppliers to arrange spring planting.
Spring 2019: Cement finishers will install the sidewalk. Afterwards, Master Gardeners, Master Naturalists, and the Red Bison student group will install the plantings.
Rooms 104 and 222 of the Illini Union are both utilized extensively throughout the day. Each room maintains a high level of foot traffic and visibility within the building. An assessment team concluded that transitioning the old lighting fixtures to LED would have an overwhelmingly positive impact on energy consumption and unnecessary waste. The overarching goal of this project is to promote sustainability from within the Illini Union. The smaller scope of this project is to reduce carbon emissions and save energy by utilizing LED lighting fixtures within rooms 104 and 222 in the Illini Union. The lighting levels generated by the new LED fixtures are more than adequate for the usage, and end users and staff have been very satisfied.