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All Project Updates


  1. Weekly Update - Daily Illini news article, Working Bikes, WCIA,

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Last week was a big press week. We landed on the cover of the Daily Illini on Thursday and then when we did our shipping event on Friday with Working Bikes WCIA showed up!

    Good press all around!

    The shipping event went just about as well as it’s ever gone in my tenure. To start we had 200 fewer bikes to deal with, then Working Bikes provided twice as many staff as they have before, and to cap it off we had good turnout between my staff and volunteers. Unfortunately, volunteer and staff availability isn’t something I can count on every year.  

    For this week, today and tomorrow we’ll have LAS students in to volunteer. Other than that, it’s business as usual. We’re getting into finer and finer details of culling and organizing, getting into some deep cleaning, which I regret isn’t my strong suit but man does it make a difference. Next week we’ll be closed for Thanksgiving break.
    Also, a big thanks to Todd for grabbing scrap over the weekend.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 40
    Sales: $527
    Bike (refurb): 1 or $150
    Bike (B-a-B): 1 for $80
    Memberships: 2 for $60
    Tires/tubes: 10 for $53

    Jacob Benjamin
    Manager, Campus Bike Center

  2. Weekly Updates for Zero Waste

    Associated Project(s): 

    Hello Pete and Shawn--

    This past week, Julija Sakutyte put me in touch with Tim Stark to discuss input on the new iCAP. I had suggested that addressing the issue of transporting recyclable materials from the point where they are generated to centralized collection points would help boost departments' participation. I know we've touched on this issue in regards to EPS and glove recycling and had an inquiry about getting toner cartridges as well. I've reached out directly to Tim to talk about the best way to frame the suggestion for iCAP.

    I have also received the Zero Waste SWATeam objectives from Julija and will review them by the team's Dec. 2 deadline.

    Best regards,

    Marya Ryan


  3. Biochemistry Student working with F&S on an Anaerobic Digester study project

    Following is an email sent by David Rivera-Kohr regarding Biogas on-campus to several faculty and staff at the U of I.




    My name is David Rivera-Kohr and I’m a student member of the Energy SWATeam. I want to propose using biogas for energy on campus. Since burning biogas for energy is effectively carbon neutral, this would bring us closer to our iCAP goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. 


    Biogas is a huge untapped resource for energy production at the U of I. Rather than utilize the methane from animal manure and carcasses and food waste, we allow much of it to escape into the atmosphere. The Sanitary District currently uses municipal waste, restaurant grease, industrial food processing waste and campus dining hall food waste as feedstocks for its own anaerobic digester to produce biogas which is burned to generate 25-30% of the facility's energy. However, the Sanitary District does not want to dedicate digestion capacity to manure due to the need to accommodate growth of the local area (i.e. anticipated growth of student population). Furthermore, the Sanitary District is not a UIUC facility, therefore its use of biogas does not alleviate campus energy demand or contribute to our net-zero emissions objective. 


    I have a few ideas for biogas production on campus I would like feedback on:

    1. Add a biogas siphoning system to the manure storage tanks at the Beef & Sheep Farm.

    2. Conduct a study to determine which UIUC facility produces the most methane from animal waste and construct an anaerobic digester there. The 2014 Anaerobic Digester Feasibility Study indicated the Swine Farms collectively had the highest methane output; Miles Redden told me the Beef & Sheep farm is the highest manure-producing farcilty, though ionophore feeding of beef cattle decreases methane output. It may be worthwhile to determine which single facility has the highest methane output in 2019-2020.


    Additionally, there are a few options in consideration for how to best use the biogas: 

    1. Burn it on-site in existing natural gas furnaces to meet facility heat demands. This could be used in conjunction with the deep direct-use (DDU) geothermal system that is being studied for the ACES Legacy corridor—the brine solution from the DDU system will bring the facility's hot water to ~110 degrees F and the biogas furnace could increase that temperature to 130 degrees. There would likely be a considerable excess of biogas, which could either be burned on-site to generate electricity for distribution to the local grid (which is less efficient than combined heat & power), transported to nearby facilities to burn in their furnaces, or...

    2. Upgrade the biogas (all or only the excess from idea #1) to pipeline-quality methane and inject it into the pipeline for use at Abbott Power Plant. There is a supply pipeline that runs through the ACES corridor where this methane could be injected. 

    3. Use upgraded biogas for compressed natural gas (CNG) to power F&S vehicle fleets.


    The 2014 Feasibility Study also discussed constructing a pressurized pipeline to deliver  waste from multiple facilities to the site of the anaerobic digester. This may be worthwhile if the biogas is to be used on a larger scale i.e. at Abbott Power Plant or some combination of the previous ideas.


    Life-cycle cost analysis of the above options should be studied to determine the most cost-effective and, more importantly, the lowest emissions option. If you can, please let me know which of these options for biogas production and use sound most feasible, or if better ideas come to mind.


    Finally, we need the support and expertise of faculty and staff to advance this proposal. If you are interested in backing or contributing to this proposal, or you know someone else who may be, please let me know. Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you!




    David A. Rivera-Kohr

    Undergraduate Student 

    University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign

    College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


    Dr. Rutilio Fratti's Lab

  4. Weekly Update - Bike Month discussion, Fix-a-Flat, Working Bikes

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Last week was uneventful. Without traffic during hours we were afforded a lot of quality sorting/scrapping time.
    On Wednesday I met with F&S, Urbana/Champaign, and CCB to discuss Bike Month/BTWD planning and to reflect on this year’s Light The Night. We’ve set the date for Bike To Work Day as Friday, May 1st.
    Thursday was our Fix-a-Flat class that was a no-show unfortunately. However, it’s pretty much winter so attendance was expected to be low.
    Big news for this week is that we’ll be hosting Working Bikes again this year to help us alleviate our abandoned bikes problem. They’ll be down this Friday from about 11am – 2pm packing up bikes to take back with them to Chicago. TBP and I will be there on Wednesday to clear out the good ones. I’ve got a couple staffers who said they’re available to help but I’ll put the word out with TBP to see if we can stir up some more volunteers. The more the merrier!
    The numbers:
    Visitors: 67
    Sales: 171.50
    Bike (B-a-B): 2 for $65
    Memberships: 2 for $60
    Tire/tubes: 1 for $5



    Jacob Benjamin
    Manager, Campus Bike Center

  5. Weekly Updates for Zero Waste

    Associated Project(s): 

    Hi Pete and Shawn--

    This past week, I read through the recommendations that the Zero Waste SWATeam submitted for the new version of iCAP.

    Best regards,

    Marya Ryan

  6. DFA - scheduling a project update meeting

    Associated Project(s): 

    Hi Morgan, 

    The past couple of weeks we've made progress interviewing and gathering insights for the Plastic Film Waste Project. We are now seeking advice and want to schedule a meeting to give you further updates. What dates and when would you be available to meet? Thank you so much for helping out on this project and we look forward to meeting up with you soon!


    Thank you, 


  7. Energy Conservation Incentive Program - Program Update

    Hello ECIP winners,


    When the Energy Conservation Incentive Program (ECIP) was launched in 2013, it included financial awards that distributed some of the centrally managed campus utility funds back to the winning buildings. The calculation system was based on placement (first place to fourth place) in the awards program and the award category (occupant action or energy advancement).  You can see the calculation in the attached fact sheet from 2016, if you are interested.  With the Integrated and Value-Centered Budget (IVCB) reform, we transitioned this year, and we are closing out the initial phase one of the ECIP.


    Some of the original award funding has not yet been allocated to an associated facility improvement project.  If you have remaining funds and have not yet committed to a specific project, please do so as soon as possible.  All ECIP award funds must be committed by the end of this fiscal year, so please let us know your plans.


    Now in phase two, the ECIP awards include a plaque and the associated prestige, and no additional monetary awards (see attached revised fact sheet).  Instead, your colleges will benefit directly from the energy savings.  Additionally, to increase the visibility of the great progress all of you have made, we are collaborating with the Illinois Solar Decathlon’s Concept Team (incoming freshmen, learning about building systems and sustainability).  They will be completing a simple Building-Level Energy Report card for the 50+ ECIP winners this fall.  In the spring, I will send those reports to you with an opportunity to connect with the Concept Team members.


    Later this week, I will send a follow up email to the FY19 winners with images to help you spread awareness of this award.  Congratulations again to all of you, and thank you very much for your past and ongoing contributions to the campus sustainability and energy efficiency efforts.




  8. Weekly Update - Working Bikes, Fix-a-Flat. Bicycle Food Drive

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Last week was productive! We continued counting everything and made some real progress cleaning up here at the shop. I’ll be doing a walk-through this week with TBP on what to keep and not keep. I went to the bike barn and counted bikes: We’ve got 277 to donate to Working Bikes and 56 to keep. Those numbers are rough counts and not exact. Things are relatively organized over there now. Once we set a date for them coming down I’ll move all the bikes we want to keep out of there. Fingers crossed for an easier go of it this time around!
    This Thursday we have our Fix-a-Flat class at 11am. Doubtful turnout will be great. It is November, after all.
    On Saturday the Bike Project is hosting a bicycle food drive. All donations go to Eastern Illinois Foodbank, and we’ll be promoting that over here at the Bike Center. It’s a fun event I’ve participated in for years. 

    This week we’ll keep paring down our stock and keep cleaning up in advance of our TBD move!
    The numbers:
    Visitors: 61
    Sales: $527
    Bike (refurb): 1 for $170
    Memberships: 2 for $60
    Tires/tubes: 10 for $53



    Jacob Benjamin
    Manager, Campus Bike Center

  9. News Gazette article on net square footage on campus

    This article in today’s News-Gazette addresses net square footage on campus, which is squarely in the portfolio of our committee. It has been a concern of iCAP since its inception in 2008. It is also one of two items called out in the charge letter for our committee for this year.

    I consider our obligation as a committee is to address the issue seriously within our committee and within the iCAP process, in order to effect change in campus growth. Any of us may of course, as citizens, engage the public dialogue on this issue. With this email I’d just like to bring everyone up to speed on the work of our committee last year. See slides 2 through 7 in the attachment.

    I don’t know that we need to do anything differently, given the public airing of this issue. I’d like to hear from others on the committee on this matter.

    Bill Rose


    Attached Files: 
  10. 2020 iCAP October Final Objectives: Zero Waste SWATeam

    Attached is the final draft of the recommended 2020 iCAP objectives from the Zero Waste SWATeam. 

    Any meeting minutes from October 2019 or November 2019 may reference the following categories: 

    • Food waste: Reducing & Diverting Food Waste
    • Education
    • Purchasing
    • Increasing Recycling Rates
    • Reducing Consumption
    • Increasing Reuse Rates
    • Source Reduction
    • Builsing Cleaning and Maintenance

    There will be a revised version by the end of the 2019 Fall Semester after iWG gives feedback for the SWATeams to revise.

    Attached Files: 
  11. 2020 iCAP October Final Objectives: Transportation SWATeam

    Attached is the final draft of the recommended 2020 iCAP objectives from the Transportation SWATeam. 

    Any meeting minutes from October 2019 or November 2019 may reference the following categories: Reduce the Number of Cars on Campus, Increase LEV Use, Decrease Business Travel Emissions, Road Management Systems, and Increase Active Mode of Travel/Active Transportation. Please refer to this document for any details. 

    There will be a revised version by the end of the 2019 Fall Semester after iWG gives feedback for the SWATeams to revise.