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Projects Updates for iCAP 2020: Illinois Climate Action Plan

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  1. Sustainability components added to campus tour script

    The following sustainability topics will be added to the new student campus tours!

    • Student Sustainability Committee (SSC): each year a group of graduate and undergraduate students vote on the funding for projects that have an environmental impact on campus, SSC allocates about $1.5 million annually towards these projects, the funds come from students fees, one of the largest green funds in American higher education today, have allocated $15.55 million towards funding 316 projects since 2008
    • Composting: National Soybean Research Center has a compost tumbler, the first publicly accessible compost drop-off on campus with plans to expand 
    • Environmental Quad Day: environmental RSOs and sustainability groups showcase their green initiatives and participation opportunities
    • Recycling: single-use mask recycling locations on campus; approximately 50 collection boxes available on campus to recycle single-use face coverings
    • Climate Commitments: UIUC has committed to achieving carbon neutrality as soon as possible and has a Climate Action Plan (2020) to outline the campus sustainability plan to advance and achieve our goals 
  2. Sustainability Sub-Council Meeting 11/10/21

    The Sustainability Sub-Council met on November 10, 2021 in preparation of the Sustainability Council meeting. The primary agenda items included: 

    • iCAP 2020 process reminder
    • Energy007 Comprehensive Energy Planning Document 
    • LW002 and Rainwater Funding Issues
    • Sustainability priorities and next steps

    The slide deck is attached with meeting minutes to follow.

  3. This Week in Research

    What do giant grasses, micro grids, deep wells, and hydrogen-powered buses all have in common? They are all part of a clean energy future that is being imagined, created, and tested here at UIUC. The breadth of our energy research portfolio, across all of the campus and the broader C-U community, is truly impressive. Here are just a few examples:

    Solar Farm 2.0 will soon be home to a newly awarded, $10M project led by Madhu Khanna to optimize the design of "Agrivoltaics," or fields with both crops and solar panels to maintain crop production, produce renewable energy, and increase farm profitability. A few miles to the east, the Energy Farm boasts extensive test plots to study how to grow and use plants as biofuel. The farm is using a biomass boiler to replace propane as the fuel source for its main research greenhouse. The Energy Farm is also home to one of dozens of geothermal wells on campus that are helping scientists like Yu-Feng Lin develop better geothermal systems, while on the north side of campus, the new Campus Instructional Facility is heated and cooled with a state-of-the art geothermal system. Nuclear power is expected to play an important role in meeting our campus ICAP goals, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission hosted a hearing last week to seek input on our plans to site a next-generation, micronuclear reactor near the Abbott Power Plant. Integrating renewable energy sources into the power grid presents unique challenges, and Illinois power system researchers, including Alejandro Domínguez-García, are working to develop microgrid technology to address issues of reliability and resilience. Meanwhile, researchers such as Petros Sofronis are working on a bold new vision for national leadership in the emerging hydrogen economy. (It might sound like the stuff of science fiction, but the CUMTD just launched two hydrogen-powered, zero-emission buses—the first in the state!) 

    There is only one way I can wrap up a message about our campus energy research: The future looks bright, indeed!

    Sincerely,

    Susan

  4. 2021 Campus Sustainability Celebration!

    All are invited to the 2021 Campus Sustainability Celebration and appreciation event! Meet and network with your peer sustainability advocates and hear about exciting campus sustainability progress! Since the event is in person, please be prepared to wear a mask and show your Safer Illinois app or equivalent status. If you can't make it in person, watch the livestream on YouTube! >>>

    October 20, 1–4 pm • National Center for Supercomputing Applications lobby, 1205 W. Clark St., Urbana

    Julie Wurth • Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment

    2021 Campus Sustainability Celebration!

  5. iCAP Team and iCAP Working Group Kickoff

    We had a great iCAP Team and iCAP Working Group Kickoff on 9/16/21! During the event, we heard from iSEE Interim Director, Dr. Madhu Khanna, went through the team rosters, iCAP Procedures, iCAP 2020 and progress made thus far, and lastly summarized other resources that sustainability advocates should be aware of. 

    The iCAP Teams and iCAP Working Group are instrumental in helping campus advance and achieve our sustainability goals and we look forward to a great year!

    The presentation is attached and the recording is found here

  6. iWG/iCAP Team Social Hour - 4/5/21

    Hello iCAP Teams and happy spring! We are excited to invite you to the next iCAP Team/iWG social hour on Monday, April 5 from 4 – 5pm. The format will look a little different this time. We will be meeting on a cool platform called “Topia”, which will be more conducive for small group discussions.  

    Here is the link for our “iCAP 2020” platform: https://topia.io/icap-world

     Topia will not work on a tablet or phone, and it needs to be on a Chrome browser. Please take a few minutes and click the link above before the event, and let us know if you have any issues. The hour will consist of:

    4:00-4:10 – Welcome and learn about the Topia website

    4:10-4:35 – Breakout groups, visiting the different topical areas based on your interest (not specifically based on your team assignment)

    4:35-4:45 – Come back to the center (central park) and a representative from each group will provide a brief update on what the group talked about  4:45-4:50 – Highlight one of the iCAP projects

    4:50-5:00pm – Q&A, Conclusion

    Let us know if you have any questions. We are so excited to try this out with you in a few weeks. See you then!

    Meredith, Morgan, and Ximing

  7. Environmental Justice Plan Brainstorming Meeting 4-1-21

    The Environmental Justice Plan working group met on 4-1-21 to brainstorm the next steps of the process. The next steps for the group are to review and provide feedback on the "public input form" draft (attached). This will then be circulated around various organizations within the campus and community to ensure that the appropriate questions are asked, in the right way, and involving the right people. The group will continue to review the resilience and environmental justice indicators to refine which indices we should focus on.

    The meeting recording is found here. 

  8. Sustainability Sub-Council Meeting 3-18-21

    The first Sustainability Sub-Council meeting occurred on 3-18-21 and discussed the iCAP process and procedures, Solar Farm 3.0, Energy Performance Contracts, and Land Management Practices. The meeting minutes and presentation are attached. The meeting recording is found here.

  9. Sustainability Career Panel 4/9/21

    Interested in careers in sustainability? Join us to hear a panel discussion from industry professionals and learn how the field is changing and how to pursue sustainable careers.

    Panelists will include representatives from:

    Eco Logic
    Prairie Rivers Network
    Urbana Park District
    Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

    Please register at:
    https://go.illinois.edu/SustainabilityCareersPanel

  10. 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. 

  11. Newsgazette Mailbag about campus renewables

    Renewable energy at the UI "How much power is each of the renewable (University of Illinois) sources generating? How many houses can each provide power for? Are there plans to add more than what we currently have? How many years does it take for the cost of each to be paid off? We have a growing interest in this and many homes now also have this."

    Morgan White, the UI's associate director of Facilities & Services for sustainability, has all your answers.

    As for power generation, she said that the UI's "on-campus solar arrays are now capable of producing over 25,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) per year and we purchase an additional 25,000 MWh/year from an off-campus wind farm in Illinois.

    "For a more comprehensive answer:

    "The (Illinois Climate Action Plan) 2020, objective 2.3.1 is: 'Use at least 140,000 MWh/year of clean power by FY25.' This objective is about clean power, which is different from clean thermal energy. As of 2020, there are three types of clean power options being pursued or used on campus.

    "1. Solar Energy on Campus: installing solar photovoltaic panels on campus property

    "2. Wind Energy on Campus: installing wind turbine generators on campus property

    "3. Power Purchase Agreements for Clean Energy: purchasing solar or wind power from off-campus

    "FYI, Solar Farm 2.0 is projected to produce 20,000,000 kWh/year. It began production at the end of January, so there will only be 5 of 12 months production in the FY21 totals (this current fiscal year)."

    As for the number of houses each can provide power for, White said, "At Facilities & Services, we use the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) for the average power use in an American home. It currently says, 'In 2019, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,649 kilowatthours (kWh).”

    "Thus, the FY20 clean power use on campus (30,635,993 kWh) was the equivalent of the power needed for 2,876 houses. Once Solar Farm 2.0 is operating for an entire year, that will be about 50,000,000 kWh/year of clean power use on campus, which is the equivalent to the power needed for 4,717 houses."

    And about whether more generation will be added, she said: "The recently released Illinois Climate Action Plan 2020 (iCAP 2020) includes a goal for increasing clean power use to 140,000 MWh/year by FY25. We are currently having internal discussions at the University of Illinois about initiating a large off-campus solar power purchase agreement to meet this goal. We are also continuing to pursue clean thermal energy solutions, such as geothermal. Additionally, large construction projects on campus are required by the state law to be LEED certified, and this will often entail the addition of clean energy systems for individual buildings."

    The payback period for each of these systems varies widely due to several factors, she said.

    "For example, the geothermal system for the Campus Instructional Facility is projected to pay for itself in 28 years, while Solar Farm 2.0 is saving money in year one," said White. "For local projects off-campus these programs are very helpful: the Solar Urbana-Champaign program typically finds solar installations to pay for themselves in six or seven years, and the Geothermal Urbana-Champaign program typically finds a geothermal system at a residential home can pay for itself within 10 years."

    https://www.news-gazette.com/toms-mailbag/toms-mailbag-feb-12-2021/artic...

  12. Certified Greener Campus Programs Workshop

    iSEE hosted our first “Certified Greener Campus Program Workshop” to guide U of I organizations in certifying as “green,” even while unusual conditions add complexity to campus’s daily operations. The online workshop included a program overview, steps to certification, FAQs, and an open discussion about overcoming common barriers to sustainability.

    If you were unable to attend Thursday’s workshop, you can still take steps to advocate for sustainable practices in your unit! I invite you to:

  13. The Daily Illini: 2050 looms near as iCAP teams stress energy sustainability

    Please see the attached news story, published by the Daily Illini, regarding the challenges and goals surrounding 2020’s Climate Action Plan. The link is also available below. 

     

    Link to "2050 looms near as iCAP team stress energy sustainability" 

  14. Environmental Justice Plan Brainstorming Meeting

    On December 3, 2020, a small group of community and campus staff (Scott Tess, Morgan White, Ximing Cai, Sharva Hampton-Campbell, Kaamilyah Abdullah-Span, Ruby Mendenhall, Meredith Moore) brainstormed key principles of the environmental justice plan (iCAP 2020 objective 8.3). The notes from this initial meeting is attached and the group will continue to meet monthly. 

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