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Projects Updates for Center for a Sustainable Environment (CSE)

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  1. Transition to Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment

    Under the leadership of Professor Evan DeLucia, the Center for a Sustainable Environment is transitioning to the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE).  The News-Gazette wrote a great article covering the transition and the goals of the new organization (see file).

  2. Director Announced: Professor Evan DeLucia

    We are pleased to inform you that Prof. Evan DeLucia will become the first director of the Center for a Sustainable Environment, pending approval by the Board of Trustees.

    Prof. DeLucia brings a record of exceptional scholarship and a wealth of administrative experience to the new center. The G. William Arends Professor of Biology and the director of the School of Integrative Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Prof. DeLucia joined the faculty at Illinois in 1986. He was the founding director of the program in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and has served as the head of the department of Plant Biology.

    Illinois is uniquely poised to address the issue of environmental sustainability - and the Center for a Sustainable Environment will enhance our institutional capacity to do so. Prof. DeLucia will work with the many individuals, teams, and campus organizations involved in sustainability work on our campus to create the institutional structure to increase our impact and raise our profile as a leader in this area. These efforts will build on the campus strengths in sustainability, energy, and the environment that were so clearly identified in the Visioning Future Excellence process.

    Prof. DeLucia's research interests strongly align with the vision for the Center. He studies the responses of forest and agro-ecosystems to elevated carbon dioxide and other elements of global change. He uses ecological, physiological and genomic approaches to understand how global change affects the carbon cycle and the trophic dynamics between plants and insects. His work has been well-funded by both government and industry.

    Prof. DeLucia is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and is a member of multiple other professional societies. He received a B.A. from Bennington College, an M.F.S. in forest ecology from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in plant ecology and physiology from Duke University.

    Please join us in welcoming Prof. Delucia to this new role.

  3. Archived web info - CSE Local Foods



    Looks, Tastes, and Nutritionally better because it is in season always and picked at ripeness. It even has a longer shelf life.

    $$$ goes through fewer hands and tends to get to the people who grew it. At times by as much as 90% if purchased directly from local farmers.

    Reduces the carbon footprint of our foods by using:
    -LESS gas for transportation
    -LESS electricity for refrigeration
    -NO waste from packaging
    The average grocery store's produce travels nearly 1,500 miles between the farm where it was grown and your refrigerator.



  4. Archived web info - CSE Housing & Dining

    Housing & Dining

    The Dining Services Division of University Housing has made great strides in sustainable practices.  They purchase local foods, have implemented trayless dining, and donate 100% of its waste vegetable oil to the biodiesel project. In addition, they have recently been recognized for sustainable cleaning practices. Their newest facility, the Student Dining and Residential Programs building, is expected to achieve LEED Silver certification.

  5. Archived web info - CSE Energy Conservation

    Energy Conservation

    In June 2008, our Chancellor directed a 10% cut in per square foot energy use (download as pdf) to be achieved over the next three years using fiscal year 2007 as the base year. The campus far exceeded this goal with a 17% reduction in three years! Further, the iCAP commits our campus to a 40% energy reduction by 2025. 

    There are many efforts underway on the Urbana-Champaign campus to reduce our energy consumption.  The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has repaired, replaced, or upgraded utility meters in approximately 85 campus buildings through a series of projects.  As a result, dependable utility metering exists in campus buildings comprising 90% of the annual energy consumption. In addition, Facilities & Services employs a retrocommissioning team that has completed over 4 million square feet of space, resulting in an average of 26% energy reduction per building.  Also, there is a major lighting retrofit project underway that has updated over 85,000 light fixtures, with a goal of replacing all fixtures by May 2012. 

    Real and lasting change will come as a result of personal responsibility.  Please check out the following links to see how you can help.

    Illini Energy Dashboard

    Energy Use Policy (pdf)

    Energy Services


    Administrative Information Technology Services (AITS)

  6. Archived web info - CSE Recycling


    The Waste Transfer Station recycles or diverts from land fill nearly 50% of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign waste.  In fiscal year 2009, the Waste Transfer Station recycled 1852 tons of paper and cardboard, 38 tons of aluminum cans, 899 tons of scrap metal, 38 tons of plastic, 1300 tons of landscape waste and 325 tons of pallets.  In addition to the Waste Transfer Station's efforts, the Campus Garage and Carpool recapped 25 tires rather than replacing them. Over the years, the University has recycled approximately 2,500 semi loads of materials.  This effort kept 53,000 tons out of the landfill and generated 3.5 million in cash.  The University also recycles equipment, both electronic and non-electronic.  In fiscal year 2009, we recycled over 118 tons of electronic equipment and nearly 300 tons of non-electronic equipment. 

    University Construction Services demolished a Dining Facility and captured 77% of the material for recycling.  Material included copper, aluminum, glass, baling material and structural steel.  This project was completed on time and well within budget.  By utilizing recycling of this demolition, the University kept more than 3 million pounds of material out of the landfill.  This is the model for future demolition projects.

    Facilities and Services initiated the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation program in October 2005.  This is a free cell phone and rechargeable battery recycling program that is easy to use and environmentally friendly.  RBRC supplies the collection boxes and shipping labels.  If rechargeable batteries are not recycled on campus, they are considered hazardous waste and must be disposed of according to EPA regulations.  To date, the University has recycled 49 boxes resulting in a saving of over $3,000.

    The Labor Electrician's shop has operated a fluorescent bulb recycling program since 2000.  They properly recycle 99.9% of all University light bulbs.  The Maintenance Electrical Repair shop has also been successful at recycling ballasts and removing copper wiring.




  7. Archived web info - CSE Transportation


    Illinois offers a variety of sustainable ways to navigate campus.  A combination of student fees and University funding allows all students and permanent employees free access to the Champaign-Urbana MTD buses. In 2009, the University also contracted with Zipcar to provide fuel-efficient vehicles for short trips in and around campus. To date, there are over 500 members signed up and currently using the Zipcar alternative. In addition, street traffic has been re-routed and bike lanes are being re-designed and added to help create a safer and more attractive environment for pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

    Please visit the Transportation Demand Management website for more information.

    Here are some ways to get around the campus and local communities.

  8. Archived web info - CSE Landscapes


    A natural landscape promoting sustainable connections across campus communities (PDF)

    Citing campus sustainability and enhancement, Illinois Chancellor asked a graduate class to provide a strategic assessment and implementation plan for a managed natural landscape on the Military Axis, a site located on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in a manner consistent with the University's mission and Master Plan.

    To view the comments on The Illinois Path report, click here.

    There are many ways to make our landscapes more sustainable. Using native plants is one way. Reducing the amounts of fertilizers and pesticides used on plantings, and mowing less often are others. You can see these sustainable methods in practice on campus—the No-Mow Zones are one example. And there are several places around campus that you can visit to enjoy the beauty of native plantings, such as the Pollinatarium, the prairie plantings at the Veterinary Medicine Basic Sciences Building, the Red Oak Rain Garden, and the plantings at BIF. And don't forget to check out Allerton Park.

  9. Archived web info - CSE Green Building

    Green Building

    Illinois is committed to sustainable building design.  The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Facility Standards and Design Guidelines were recently updated to require all new construction and major renovations over $5 million be certified at a minimum Gold level building under the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED rating system.  All projects less than $5 million are asked to design to Gold standards, but are not required to be certified. 

    The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign completed construction on the Business Instructional Facility (BIF) in 2008, which received Platinum level LEED certification.  The facility is expected to consume 75% less energy than the average older campus buildings.  The University Student Dining and Residence Hall project is expected to achieve a LEED Silver rating, and several other projects are in the planning stages that will pursue LEED accreditation.

    Illinois is home to seven LEED buildings:
    BIF is LEED Platinum
    Nugent Hall is LEED Silver
    Student Dining and Residential Programs Building (IKE) is LEED Silver
    Blue Waters Petascale facility is LEED Gold
    The Yeh Center (addition to Newmark) is seeking LEED Gold
    The new Electrical & computer Engineering building will be seeking LEED Platinum certification and is striving for net-zero energy design that will enable the building to supply all of its own energy (the largest in the nation).
    The Lincoln Hall renovation will be seeking LEED Silver

  10. Archived web info - CSE Operations


    Most operations on our campus are managed by Facilities & Services.  They are responsible for energy production and distribution, maintenance of our buildings, grounds keeping, waste management, water supply, and much more.  They have made a strong commitment and are at the forefront of sustainable operations practices.  The links to the left will provide brief explanations of sustainability in our operations.  Further information can be found at the links below.

  11. Archived web info - CSE communication

    The CSE provides several outlets to learn about sustainability initiatives, education, research, and events. The CSE has made a concerted effort to increase their followers on Facebook and Twitter, since that seems to be an effective way to communicate with students. Other efforts to be more comprehensive are underway, as well.

    • Green Teams: Green teams are groups of faculty members that attempt to further sustainable operatiosn at the University. There is one central focus of each green team. Focuses among all of the green teams on campus have a wide range within the broad category of sustainability, from energy efficiency to native plantings. Green teams usually consist of faculty members, which Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) have are student-led.
    • E-newsletter: The CSE's weekly e-newsletter has 1,300 subscribers.
    • Website: The CSE maintains a content-rich website that aims to inform the public about sustainability activities and resources on campus and in the region. In 2012, CSE worked to reorganize the site to be more intuitive and user-friendly.
    • Facebook and Twitter: As part of the CSE's efforts to improve communication with students, the CSE made improvements to their Facebook and Twitter pages in 2012. As of February 2013, CSE's Twitter account had more than 900 followers.
    • Media coverage: The CSE receives regular coverage in the Daily Illini, which is the University of Illinois' student newspaper, as a result of the CSE's many interactions with students. In 2012, the CSE (then the OS) was covered more than 30 times in the Daily Illini. The bi-monthly faculty/ staff newspaper, Inside Illinois, publishes a regular section devoted to green initiatives.


  12. Archived web info - CSE Student Senate

    Illinois Student Senate


    In addition to the numerous registered student organizations, the Illinois Student Senate also has a committee on environmental sustainability.  This committee has passed a number of resolutions regarding sustainability including bicycle infrastructure, local foods, Abbott coal use and native landscaping.  Contact one of the senators for additional information.

  13. Archived web info - CSE Green Living Tips

    Green Living Tips

    How Can YOU Make a Difference?bikes

    Power down

    Power down for the community. Power down for the planet.

    Turn off your lights when you leave a room. Shut down your computer and elecrtronic equipment when not in use. Every little bit counts, so start today!!

    Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

    Do you really need all those napkins you just picked up in the cafeteria? What about that plastic water bottle - how about using a stainless steel or reusable water container instead? Recycling isn't just about where we put our trash when it's time to dispose of it, but is also inherent in the decisions we make before we purchase products as well.


    What can you do for your campus and planet? Find out at Illini Union Go Green Recycling Facts!


    How DO YOU make a difference on campus or in the community? We want to know!

    We'll share your responses as we continue to update this section.

  14. Archived web info - CSE Green Teams

    Green Teams


    Several units across campus have established sustainability committees, or green teams, to encourage more earth-friendly initiatives and behavior.  For example, the College of Fine and Applied Arts has established an intra-collegiate committee to discuss environmentally conscientious and sustainable issues and solutions.  The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs has created a green team with representatives from each of its units to develop a plan to implement sustainable practices. 

    Learn more about Student Affairs' green initiatives.


  15. Archived web info - CSE Get Involved page

    How to Get Involved


    Learn how you can get involved on campus and in the community in sustainable efforts.

    Through our Green Living Tips, find out what steps you can take to live more sustainably.

    Want to know what’s happening on campus regarding sustainability efforts? Follow us onTwitter or sign up for our e-newsletter to find out about upcoming events in the community.




  16. Archived web info - CSE Student Initiatives

    Student Initiatives


    The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is home to more than 40,000 undergraduate students. Many of our students are passionate about sustainability, as can be seen by the large number of student groups whose work revolves around sustaining our planet.

    • There are approximately 25 student groups related to sustainability here on campus

    • In 2010, 70% of the student body voted to increase the sustainable campus fee from $5 to $14! This provides more than $1 million a year toward sustainability projects on our campus.

    • During academic year 2010-2011, students led the development of two major events devoted to educating students, faculty, staff and the community about doing their part and how easy it can be to live a more sustainable lifestyle. In the fall, Sustainability Week included seminars, workshops, tours, etc. showcasing efforts underway and teaching ways for everyone to 'go green'. In spring, Earth Week was a similar effort, culminating in a concert with proceeds benefitting the Sustainable Student Farm.

  17. Archived web info - CSE Ecosystems Research



    Food, water and energy are but a few factors to consider when examining sustainability.  We need to look holistically at ecosystems and the services they provide.  We need to ensure that we do not adversely affect part of the ecosystem while trying to find solutions in maintaining healthy ecosystems.  There are many passionate researchers at Illinois investigating ecosystems and their services.


    Department of Plant Biology 
    School of Integrative Biology 
    Illinois Natural History Survey
    School of Earth, Society, and Environment
    Institute for Genomic Biology

  18. Archived web info - CSE Energy Research



    Illinois is the place to learn about energy; whether it’s energy generation or distribution, traditional sources or alternative sources.  Faculty from all across campus are involved in energy research.

    Power & Engineering Systems
    CABER – Center for Advanced BioEnergy Research
    EBI - Energy Biosciences Institute
    SEDAC – Smart Energy Design Assistance Center
    Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Center


    Attached Files: 
  19. Archived web info - CSE Water Research

  20. Archived web info - CSE Food Research


    The University of Illinois has a distinguished history of research related to food.  The links below will introduce you to the breadth of our food research.  Whether you are interested in food production or distribution, safety or nutrition, Illinois is working to solve the toughest problems.  In addition, we have included some links for sources of local foods and growing your own food.

    A few of the programs that you might be interested in are the Illinois MarketMaker, and the University of Illinois Student Farm.

    Want to find sources of local food? Try the Champaign Farmers Market, the Common Ground Food Co-op, and the Urbana Farmers Market. Or maybe you want to try your green thumb at growing your own food? If so,University of Illinois Extension has lots of resources to help get you started.


    Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition
    Agroecology & Sustainable Agriculture Program ASAP
    Department of Agriculture & Consumer Economics
    Department of Agricultural & Biological Engineering
    Department of Animal Sciences
    Department of Crop Sciences 
    Department of Human and Community Development
    Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
    Crop Sciences Research and Education 
    Illinois SARE 
    Illinois SARE Calendar