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All Project Updates


  1. News article about guaranteed return on sustainability investment

    In last week of August 2010, The Daily Illini published an article focusing on the return from sustainability investment -- "Sustainability investment guarantees returns" --

  2. Archived web info - CSE Green Heroes

    Pic Tim HossTim Hoss: Our First Green Hero

    The year was 1987. In just a few hours on the Quad, members of Students for Environmental Concerns (SECS) got over 2,000 signatures on a petition to encourage campus leaders to start a recycling program at the University of Illinois. Campus leaders agreed it was a good idea, and an advisory task force of students, faculty and staff was given the charge to study what it would take to set up a campus-wide recycling program. After reviewing the task force's 170-page report, campus leaders approved approximately $650,000 to start a recycling program, which was to be set up over a 5-year period. Grants from various state agencies contributed the other resources needed to cover the final $1 million price tag.

    Tim Hoss, with a lot of help from students, was able to get a recycling program that serviced over 200 buildings on campus operational in about two years. And since 1989, Tim Hoss, Coordinator of Campus Waste Management, operated a comprehensive recycling program at the University. In 1995, $1.3 million was spent on a material processing addition to the Waste Transfer Station (WTS). When it opened in November 1997, the University's Material Recovery Facility was one of the first state-of-the-art recycling-sorting facilities on a university campus in the nation.

    Fast forward to 2010. Everyday two trucks from the WTS collect waste paper, and another truck collects cardboard twice daily from around campus. Recovering recyclable material from the University's waste stream is no small job. The WTS collects waste from thousands of recycling bins and 250 dumpsters. Except for the waste from University Housing (which runs its own program), all waste on campus comes to the WTS. Once back at the recovery facility, all of the material gets sorted: equipment, construction waste, and non-recyclable materials are removed. Recyclable materials such as cardboard, paper, aluminum, and plastics are all sorted out and placed into storage bunkers. Tim is quick to point out that it takes a team of people to get the job done including: 5 drivers, 2 operating engineers, 4 laborers, and 6 workers from the Developmental Services Center in Champaign who help with the sorting.

    Once sorted, the materials are compressed into large bales and sold. The WTS generated about $500,000 in revenue during fiscal year 2008, and saved the University over $200,000 in landfill costs. In 2008, the WTS recycled: 838 tons of cardboard, 1,236 tons of paper, 21 tons of plastic, 41 tons of aluminum, 625 tons of scrap metal, and 325 tons of pallets. Through these efforts, the University diverted 48.8% of our waste stream from landfills.

    Tim retired from the University in January 2010. But he still has great ideas for how the University can continue to lessen its impact on the environment. When asked what he'd like to see happen in future recycling efforts on campus he had two ideas:
    1) Start a comprehensive organic waste management program, and
    2) Restructure the way that surplus equipment is disposed.

    Tim Hoss made a tremendous positive impact while he was here at the University, and so we are happy to recognize him as our first Green Hero. Tim certainly did his part to make our campus a Greener place. And you can too. Consume less. Recycle more.


  3. Green roof on Art & Design and KCPA Funding Agreement

    The goal of this project is to construct a green roof atop the Link Gallery between the School of Art + Design and the Krannert Art Museum. This project will be implemented primarily by students and faculty of the School of Art + Design and will be in a highly visible campus location. It will help reduce energy costs at the facility and provide rain water for the surrounding gardens. As Facilities & Services is expected to cover half the cost of resurfacing the roof, the Student Sustainability Committee is in favor of partially funding the  proposal in the amount of $63,900.

  4. BIF Prairie Garden Funding Agreement

    This proposal looks to contribute to the campus wide effort of promoting more sustainable landscaping by creating a Prairie Garden comprised of plant species characteristic to east-central Illinois to surround the Deloitte Auditorium in the courtyard of the Business Instructional Facility (BIF). The Prairie Garden will provide carbon sequestration benefits, aid in management of water runoff, increase biodiversity, and reduce the use of carbon-intensive maintenance equipment. Replacing the current overgrown sedge meadow with low-height, low-growth, native sustainable botanicals will lead to less management needs and greater student engagement with increased access and aesthetics. The Prairie Garden will be highly visible to the thousands of weekly visitors to the BIF, sending a message about the importance of and commitment to sustainable practices. Such education will be furthered through informational signage and orientation of new students. The College of Business and College of Business Class of 2010 will provide the remaining $10,540 expense of creating the Prairie Garden. Further, the College of Business will assume responsibility for ensuring the success and continued maintenance of the project, and the grant will be paid back to the Committee if the project is inadequately maintained and the restoration effort is abandoned in the next five years. The improvements to the Business Instructional Facility courtyard will provide highly visible, tangible evidence of the campus commitment to responsible sustainable behavior. Thus, the Student Sustainability Committee is in favor of funding the fully requested amount of $10,000.

  5. Campus-wide Bike Parking Funding Agreement

    Bike parking is essential for supporting green commuters as well as raising awareness and supporting biking on campus. In 2009, the SSC funded $10,600 for standard bike parking at three popular locations on campus, Freer Hall, the Undergraduate Library, and the Agricultural Engineering Sciences Building. Later in 2012, SSC provided $225,000 in order to replace old donut-hole bike parking with U-loop parking at the Armory, the Main Library, the Foreign Language Building, and other high-traffic areas on campus.

  6. Plant Sciences Greenhouse Loan Funding Agreement

    The College of ACES Seeks funding for the installation of energy/shade curtains in the Plant Sciences Laboratory (PSL) Greenhouse. The goals of this project are to decrease the energy usage to heat and cool the greenhouse rooms, increase natural light quality in the greenhouse rooms, and decrease energy usage by the application and removal of whitewash. Additional project benefits are that the retrofitted greenhouse rooms will be of higher value for research and teaching purposes, by allowing increased use of higher-quality natural lighting, and enabling better lighting control.

    Project costs includes the installation of energy shade curtains at the cost of ~$12,000 per room (for nine rooms), in addition to electrical work and new control systems and software. Total costs for the project are anticipated at $120,000, will be financed through this loan. In addition, the Committee will provide a grant of $5,000 for an associated sub-metering project to quantify project benefits.

  7. IUB Retrocommissioning and Occupancy Sensors Loan

    Program Background:

    The Student Sustainability Committee (SSC) is tasked with the allocation of the proceeds of two student environmental fees – the Clean Energy Technology Fee and the Sustainable Campus Environment Fee, to improve the sustainability of our campus. The committee has established a program to make funds available for efficiency projects that will be later returned for reinvestment in future projects.

    Committee funds will be made available to the Office of Sustainability which will carry out an inter-departmental transfer to the Receiving campus unit. The Receiving unit agrees to return the transfer to the Office of Sustainability, in installments, as described on the next page, for reuse by the SSC.

    Project Description:            

    The Illini Union seeks funding to retro-commission the Illini Union Bookstore building, and to install Occupancy Sensors in the Illini Union building. The Illini Union Bookstore building contains both academic and auxiliary units, and the SSC loan will allow for complete retro-commissioning of the building. Retro-commissioning is expected to cost $113,000; the RCx process identifies defective components within the HVAC systems, reconfiguring and controlling them to function more efficiently, decreasing wear and tear and extending their service life by 20 years (as part of a regular preventative maintenance program), as well as reducing building energy consumption.

    The SSC loan will also provide $67,000 to install lighting occupancy sensors in the Illini Union, in food service preparation areas, restrooms, office areas and meeting rooms, which will reduce energy and lighting use.


    The Student Sustainability Committee is in favor of the Office of Sustainability transferring an amount of $180,000 to the Illini Union completion of this work. These funds are to be drawn from the Sustainable Campus Environment Fee account managed by the SSC, as needed to complete the project. All funds requested from the SSC must be expended before 30th September 2010, else the unit must apply for an extension.

    The Illini Union agrees to return the funds provided by carrying out annual transfers to the Office of Sustainability due on the 15th of August of each year in the following manner:

    $20,000 – Due 15th August 2011

    $40,000 – Due 15th August 2012

    $40,000 – Due 15th August 2013

    $40,000 – Due 15th August 2014

    $40,000 – Due 15th August 2015

    The Office of Sustainability will direct them back to the Committee’s account. The Illini Union will provide a close-out report about the project after installation. The Illini Union will also appropriately publicize the Committee’s support of these projects.

    All funds provided by this transfer will be used in a manner consistent with University of Illinois policies and procedures.

  8. Sustainable Student Farm Funding Agreement

    This proposal looks to continue to develop a student run farm at the Horticultural Pomology Farm on thesoutheast corner of Lincoln and Windsor. As a partnership between the campus horticulture program andstudents, the farm will significantly contribute to campus food needs by supplying produce to University foodservice operations. This will allow the campus to move toward a more sustainable agricultural model andreduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with food transportation. Student volunteers and Crop Sciencesemployees will harvest, process and deliver fresh crops to University Dining Services, which will pay theprevailing market rate for the produce. This model should allow the project to bring in adequate funding in thenear future, and the requested funds will be used to propel the farm to achieve self-sustaining operations in2011. Further, a sign will inform the community of the farm’s presence and open houses will be held tointroduce students and staff to this sustainable agriculture operation. This continued and expanded project willprovide tangible evidence of campus commitment to responsible sustainable behavior. Thus, the StudentSustainability Committee is in favor of funding the fully requested amount of $25,000.

  9. Solar Decathlon 2011 Funding Agreement

    This proposal seeks to provide funding for student education centered around the University of Illinois’s participation in the 2011 US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Competition. Each student team participating in this prestigious, international competition is required to build an entirely solar-powered 800 sq. foot house with innovative design features. This grant will provide funds for the development of new courses and enhancement of existing courses, provisioning of course materials and software, and the sponsorship of guest lecturers and consultants ($25,000), the employment of graduate students in coordinating roles for education and volunteer engagement activities ($15,000), and student travel associated with the competition ($10,000). The last UI entry in the Solar Decathlon competition engaged hundreds of students and was the highest-placed US finisher in the Competition; furthermore this participation will require the team to raise $700,000 at a time of severe campus budget constraints. Thus, the Student Sustainability Committee is in favor of funding this proposal in the amount of $50,000.

  10. Prairie Project Instructional Workshop Funding Agreement

    The Prairie Project is a faculty development workshop with the objective of preparing faculty (and aspiring faculty) to teach on issues of sustainability and to introduce such material into existing campus coursework. The project will reach an interdisciplinary group of 18 faculty members who teach courses reaching thousands of students, and helping achieve campus objectives around sustainability education. This workshop will also serve as a pilot project for larger workshop activities in future years. Committee funds will be used to provide a modest honorarium for participants, who undertake to make modifications to a course that they will teach next year. This workshop is being hosted by the campus Office of Sustainability, and funding support in equal amounts is also being provided by the Office of Sustainability and the Environmental Change Institute. Thus the Committee recommends funding this program in the amount of $5,000.

  11. Occupancy Sensors Funding Agreement

    This proposal looks to install occupancy sensors in classrooms, hallways, restrooms, lounges, and other public areas in twenty heavily used campus buildings, chosen according to the number of student contact hours. This project will reduce energy usage by 30% in affected areas, saving the campus approximately $18,000 per year in energy costs (based on a $0.0689/kWh rate), and reduce emissions by nearly 440,000 lbs of CO2 equivalent. This highly visible effort is expected to increase student and community awareness of the impact of reducing lighting usage. These sensors will serve as a lasting and permanent public statement of campus commitment to responsible sustainable behavior. Thus, the Student Sustainability Committee is in favor of funding the fully requested amount of $50,000.

  12. Course Development and Enhancement (ECI) Funding Agreement

    For FY2010, the Student Sustainability Committee chose to solicit proposals for the development or enhancement of courses related to sustainability jointly with the Environmental Change Institute. Such a program allows the Committee to select proposals to support, while leaving project management and administration to a better-suited entity. The program received ten proposals for consideration, out of which the following six proposals were chosen for funding: ENGR 298 – LINC Bike Sharing – Prof. Bruce Litchfield - $5,000 LA 390/590 – Landscapes, Sustainability, & Human Health – Prof. Bill Sullivan - $2,420 PHYCS 150 – How Nature Works – Prof. Scott Willenbrock - $4,790 GEOG 130 - Social Science Approaches to Environment-Society Relations – Prof. Tom Bassett - $5,000 ME 470 – Senior Design – Prof. Stephen Platt - $4,000 BADM 532 / 533 – Sustainable Product and Market Development for Sustainable Marketplaces – Prof Madhu Viswanathan - $5,000 The ECI is committing $13,420 in support of an additional course and matching SSC allocations to two of the above courses. All courses participating in this program will meet program requirements established by the ECI and SSC, submit materials to the ECI for archiving and participate in the ECI’s annual symposium. Thus the Committee recommends funding this program in the amount of $26,210.

  13. Campus Rec Water Conservation Funding Agreement

    Water conservation initiatives have generally taken a back seat to energy conservation at the University of Illinois. Campus Recreation has proposed a comprehensive upgrade of restroom facilities in all three of their buildings, with the potential of reducing water consumption by almost 6.5 million gallons annually. This work would be highly visible to students and in a fellow student-fee supported unit. Thus, the Student Sustainability Committee is in favor of proving upto $30,000 in incentives at the rate of $0.30 per $1.00 spent.

  14. Thin Clients for Green Computing Funding Agreement

    This proposal looks to improve the energy efficiency of campus computing by expanding the use of thin client hardware and infrastructure. The effort will build on previous successful thin computing studies, scaling up the initiative to make thin clients available to a wider campus audience. Thin clients use 95% less energy than traditional desktop computers, which can significantly reduce campus energy expense and carbon emissions. Further, thin clients have a 10 year life-span, compared to the 3-4 year useful life of a traditional desktop computer, resulting in better utilization and ultimately less e-waste. To encourage the expansion of this more sustainable model of computing, this project seeks to make thin clients available at reduced costs for campus units. $40,000 of the grant would fund thin client devices, licenses, and associated Terminal Server client access licenses (CALs) at a rate up of to $200 or 50% of costs, whichever is lower. At least 200 thin clients will be made available at discounted rates for campus units; additional funding will come directly from units’ allocated budgets for replacement computer hardware. Purchase commitments for atleast 100 devices have made made by the College of FAA, and additional commitments have been made by Swanlund System Services and Campus Recreation. The remaining $5,000 of the grant would compensate Webstore/CITES for server/virtual machine investments. As more and more locations will have thin clients visible, students, faculty, and visitors will realize the benefits of this sustainable computing solution. Thus, the Student Sustainability Committee is in favor of funding the fully requested amount of $45,000.

  15. Concern with stewardship efforts

    Pizzo & Associates donated labor and materials to the prairie area at the corner of Florida Avenue and Orchard Street. Jack Pizzo, President and Senior Ecologist of Pizzo and Associates, emailed the stakeholders of the plot on July 1, 2010 to formally express his concern with the upkeeping of the plot.

    His letter is below and attached is the Memorandum of Agreement for Gifts in Kind between Pizzo & Associates and the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.

    To: Sustainability Committee

    RE: President's Prairie Planting, Site visit on June 29th 2010

    Dear Fellow Stakeholders,

    I'm writing this letter to formally express my concern with the current status of the ongoing stewardship efforts at the above mentioned site.
    I was onsite yesterday and was completely surprised as to the unkempt condition of the planting. The excessive height is out competing the native species.

    My company donated material and labor with the good faith understanding that the prairie areas would be maintained at a level to ensure success. I am fully aware of the abundance of rain and the difficulties this reality presents, but to simply do nothing while the site becomes overgrown constitutes neglect of the most egregious nature.

    As a group we cannot afford failure of this magnitude and visibility.  I am writing to call your attention to the current site conditions and to highlight the necessity of prompt action.  As a professional in the business of ecological restoration and as a graduate of the University, I am confident the solution to our problem lies within the team we have assembled.  In the near term, the entire site needs to be mowed and treated selectively with herbicide.  In the long term, a more consistent stewardship plan needs to be developed and implemented to prevent the current situation from occurring in the future.

    I am fully aware that traditional management means may not work with the soils that are currently saturated soils but most of the site is dry enough to mow. From experience, I can recommend a number of alternative treatments including using: a walk behind mower, a sickle bar mower, brush cutting with Stihl FS-250 brush cutters or manual cutting with Christmas tree knives.  The cut material needs to be removed due to the excessive height since all of that debris will smother the seedlings. Either way, something needs to be done to bring the vegetation under control and prevent further seeding impedance. This needs to be done within the next week.

    I don't want to be party to a failure and I know none of you do either.
    A prompt, coordinated response would be most appreciated!

    Please keep me in the loop as to the efforts.

    Best regards,