Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 68.06
Liaison Meredith Moore
Submission Date March 17, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Stephanie Lage
Assistant Director
Ctr for Sustainable Environment
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have current and formal plans to advance sustainability in the following areas? Do the plans include measurable objectives?:
Current and Formal Plans (Yes or No) Measurable Objectives (Yes or No)
Curriculum Yes Yes
Research (or other scholarship) Yes Yes
Campus Engagement Yes Yes
Public Engagement Yes Yes
Air and Climate Yes Yes
Buildings Yes Yes
Dining Services/Food Yes Yes
Energy Yes Yes
Grounds Yes Yes
Purchasing Yes Yes
Transportation Yes Yes
Waste Yes Yes
Water Yes Yes
Diversity and Affordability No No
Health, Wellbeing and Work No No
Investment No No
Other No No

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Curriculum:

We seek to complement the disciplinary educational experience of undergraduate and graduate students with opportunities for interdisciplinary learning about sustainability in a variety of ways. There are three overarching objectives for education within the classrooms.

+ Date Revised: June 4, 2015

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Curriculum plan(s):

1. Offer an undergraduate minor in sustainability starting with approximately 20 students in FY16 that will provide in-depth learning about the three dimensions of sustainability and enable students to make connections between the different disciplines to solve problems related to sustainability.
2. Offer opportunities for undergraduate students to obtain research and practical experience by participating in independent study projects on topics in sustainability.
3. Add at least five new sustainability-focused courses by FY20.

+ Date Revised: June 4, 2015

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Curriculum plan(s):

The Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment along with many other departments on campus, including the Office of the Provost.


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Research (or other scholarship):

Illinois intends to position itself as a world leader in the area of sustainability research. A direct result of the visioning excellence exercise was the development of the Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment (iSEE). The mission of the new Institute is to foster actionable, interdisciplinary research to address fundamental global challenges in sustainability, energy and environment; to provide national and international leadership in these areas through interdisciplinary education and outreach activities; and to develop and implement strategies for a sustainable environment on the University of Illinois campus and beyond. Three main iSEE objectives were identified to enhance Illinois’ research portfolio in sustainability.

+ Date Revised: June 4, 2015

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Research plan(s):

1. Create a hub for the sustainability community: to develop a comprehensive online gateway for faculty, staff, students, potential donors, and all interested parties to find information about sustainability research, education, outreach, initiatives, and operations.
2. Build connections: to bring together scholars from across campus to encourage collaboration, and to enhance research endeavors.
3. Foster “actionable” research: to encourage and support research that provides real-world solutions to society’s grand challenges in sustainability, energy and the environment. iSEE research themes are broken into five categories: Climate Solutions, Energy Transitions, Secure and Sustainable Agriculture, Sustainable Infrastructure, and Water and Land Stewardship.

+ Date Revised: June 4, 2015

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Research plan(s):

Primarily the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment, but includes researchers from all across campus.

+ Date Revised: June 4, 2015

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance Campus Engagement around sustainability:

The variety and breadth of existing sustainability programs can be overwhelming to someone new to campus and interested in getting involved. To address that, campus is working to coordinate and communicate the education and outreach opportunities through the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment. The core component of co-curricular education and sustainability outreach is strong and effective communication; therefore these objectives center around communication.

+ Date Revised: June 4, 2015

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Campus Engagement plan:

1. Support and communicate about co-curricular student sustainability programs.
2. Strengthen and communicate about sustainability outreach programs. Specifically, at least half of the full-time campus staff will be participating in the Certified Green Office Program by FY20.
3. Organize and promote three major sustainability events on campus each year: Earth Week, Campus Sustainability Week, and the iSEE Congress.

+ Date Revised: June 4, 2015

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Campus Engagement plan(s):

Primary responsibility is with the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment.

+ Date Revised: June 4, 2015

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance Public Engagement around sustainability:

The variety and breadth of existing sustainability programs can be overwhelming to someone new to campus and interested in getting involved. To address that, campus is working to coordinate and communicate the education and outreach opportunities through the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment.

+ Date Revised: June 12, 2015

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Public Engagement plan(s):

There are various existing outreach programs that campus supports already. These include the local Urbana-Champaign Energy Star Challenge , Champaign County Sustainability Network (CCNet) , the Sustainability Seminar Series , and national competitions such as Campus Conservation Nationals and RecycleMania . Campus could work to increase awareness and participation in these programs, through a staff person dedicated to being the face of campus sustainability outreach. This employee would be a part of iSEE and serve as the primary point of contact for anyone interested in working with campus to support a sustainability event.

+ Date Revised: June 12, 2015

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Public Engagement plan(s):

Primary responsibility is with the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment in collaboration with many others.

+ Date Revised: June 12, 2015

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Air and Climate:

The sustainability of our campus involves many important considerations, including water use, decreasing biodiversity, and a declining resource base. Clearly, however, the biggest challenge to our environmental sustainability is the climate change that is caused by our emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2).

+ Date Revised: June 12, 2015

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Air and Climate plan(s):

The central vision of our future is to completely eliminate all Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2050. As of the metrics available for FY14, about 61% of our Scope 1 and 2 emissions are from Abbott Power Plant, 36% of them are from purchased electricity, and the remainder is from fleet and agricultural emissions. Eliminating emissions from Abbott and purchased electricity will require a combination of reducing our energy demands through conservation and shifting our energy generation and purchasing toward clean energy sources.

+ Date Revised: June 12, 2015

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Air and Climate plan(s):

Primary responsibility is with Facilities & Services, however reaching the emission goals will require behavior change of the campus community.

+ Date Revised: June 12, 2015

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Buildings:

The success we have achieved so far in energy conservation has primarily been the result of a variety of centrally-administered programs, including retrocommissioning (RCx), heating ventilation air conditioning (HVAC) improvements, scheduling and control strategies, lighting retrofits, and new execution methodologies, such as Energy Performance Contracting (EPC). While there has been much achieved, there is a lot more that needs to be done, with both an expansion of the existing programs and a more comprehensive campaign that engages the campus at the college, department, building, and individual levels.

+ Date Revised: June 4, 2015

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Buildings plan(s):

1. Maintain or reduce the campus gross square footage relative to the FY10 baseline.
2. Identify the highest achievable energy standards for new buildings and major renovations, and incorporate these into the campus facility standards by the end of FY16.
3. Strengthen centralized conservation efforts focusing on building systems, to achieve a 30% reduction in total campus buildings energy use by FY20. This includes meeting the LED Campus commitments.
4. Engage and incentivize the campus community in energy conservation, including a comprehensive energy conservation campaign, with at least 50% of units participating by FY20.

+ Date Revised: June 4, 2015

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Buildings plan(s):

Many units are accountable for these objectives including the Provost's Office, Facilities & Services, and Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment.

+ Date Revised: June 4, 2015

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Dining Services/Food:

Food consumption leads to greenhouse gas emissions from production, processing, transportation, marketing, consumption, and waste. Additionally, our food purchasing practices can influence the environmental impacts of agricultural systems beyond campus, as well as influence the vibrancy of our local agricultural community.

+ Date Revised: June 4, 2015

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Dining Services/Food plan(s):

Implement a project that examines the food service carbon footprint for Dining and other on-campus food vendors, while increasing local food procurement to 40% by FY25.

+ Date Revised: June 4, 2015

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Dining Services/Food plan(s):

Primary accountability will be with University Housing/Dining Services.

+ Date Revised: June 4, 2015

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Energy:

Determining the best way to replace our reliable, safe, cost-effective, fossil-fueled combined heat and power system with a large-scale zero-GHG-emission system is a daunting task. The 2010 iCAP called for a detailed study that examines campus energy generation and distribution. An outside architecture/engineering firm was hired in 2012 to produce a Utilities Master Plan.

+ Date Revised: June 4, 2015

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Energy plan(s):

1. The Energy Generation, Purchasing, and Distribution SWATeam, in collaboration with Facilities & Services and topical Consultation Groups, will lead an exploration of options for 100% clean campus energy during FY16, and submit recommendations through the formal sustainability process.
2. Expand on-campus solar energy production. By FY20, produce at least 12,500 MWh/year, and by FY25 at least 25,000 MWh/year, from solar installations on campus property. These targets represent 5% and 10% of our expected 2050 electricity demand, respectively.
3. Expand the purchase of clean energy. By FY20, obtain at least 120,000 MWh/year, and by FY25 at least 140,000 MWh/year from low-carbon energy sources. These targets represent 48% and 56% of our expected 2050 electricity demand, respectively.
4. Offset all emissions from the National Petascale Computing Facility (and other successor facilities) by FY17.

+ Date Revised: June 4, 2015

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Energy plan(s):

Responsible parties include: Facilities & Services, the Energy Generation, Purchasing and Distribution SWATeam, as well as other with expertise in this area.

+ Date Revised: June 4, 2015

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Grounds:

Agricultural practices contribute to greenhouse gas emissions in several ways, from production, processing, transportation, marketing, consumption, and waste. Non-agricultural landscape management also leads to emissions from lawn and garden maintenance, as well as snow and ice removal. Land utilization practices also impact the environment through transportation infrastructure, methods of stormwater management, irrigation needs, and adverse impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services, for example through the use of non-native plants and trees.
The sizeable landmass of our campus also offers opportunities for carbon sequestration (the purposeful removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere), for example through the use of perennial plantings which store carbon in the soil.

+ Date Revised: June 4, 2015

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Grounds plan(s):

1. Perform a comprehensive assessment of GHG emissions from agricultural operations, and develop a plan to reduce them, by the end of FY16.
2. Design and maintain campus landscapes in a more sustainable manner; expand the specification of sustainable plantings in campus landscaping standards, develop and implement a tree care plan by FY16 and an integrated pest management program by FY17.
3. Incorporate sustainability principles more fully into the Campus Master Plan.
4. Implement a project that examines the food service carbon footprint for Dining and other on-campus food vendors, while increasing local food procurement to 40% by FY25.
5. Increase carbon sequestration in campus soils by determining the sequestration value of existing plantings and identifying locations for additional plantings, with a specific objective of converting at least 50 acres of U of I farmland to agroforestry by FY20.
6. Reduce nitrates in agricultural runoff and subsurface drainage by 50% from the FY15 baseline by FY22.

+ Date Revised: June 4, 2015

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Grounds plan(s):

Responsible parties include: relevant experts in agriculture, land management and sequestration.

+ Date Revised: June 4, 2015

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Purchasing:

Our campus has committed to reducing the environmental impacts from the products and services we purchase and discard. (2015 Illinois Climate Action Plan)

+ Date Revised: June 12, 2015

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Purchasing plan(s):

1. By FY17, environmental standards will be applied to purchases of office paper, cleaning products, computers, other electronics, and freight/package delivery services. At least 50% of purchases in these categories will meet campus standards by FY20, and 75% by FY25.
2. Reduce MSW waste going to landfills. This involves reducing non-durable goods purchases, effectively re-using materials, and recycling. In the latter category, campus will increase the diversion rate of MSW to 45% by FY20, 60% by FY25, and 80% by FY35, while also increasing the total diversion rate to 90% by FY20 and 95% by FY25. MSW sent to landfills should decline to 2,000 tons annually by 2035.
3. Utilize landfills with methane capture.
4. Appropriately staff Zero Waste efforts through the hiring of a full-time Zero Waste Coordinator.

+ Date Revised: June 12, 2015

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Purchasing plan(s):

Responsible parties include the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment; the Purchasing Division; waste & recycling staff, departmental purchasers.

+ Date Revised: June 12, 2015

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Transportation:

To continue to reduce commuting emissions, campus needs to implement a comprehensive mode-shift behavior change campaign as described below.
The minor reductions that have been achieved in terms of motor vehicle emissions have been overshadowed by the apparent increase in emissions from air travel. Given the centrality of air travel to the academic mission of the university, it is unlikely that GHG neutrality can be achieved for transportation, without resorting to the purchase of carbon offsets to adjust for air travel emissions.

+ Date Revised: June 4, 2015

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Transportation plan(s):

1. Reduce air travel emissions from a new FY14 baseline by 25% by FY20, 50% by FY25, and 100% by FY30.
2. Reduce emissions from the campus fleet by 20% for departmentally-owned and car pool vehicles by FY20.
3. Conduct a detailed study by the end of FY17 to develop scenarios for complete conversion of the campus fleet to renewable fuels.
4. Reduce the percentage of staff trips made using single-occupancy-vehicles from 65% to 55% by FY20, 50% by FY25, and 45% by FY30.
5. Implement the Campus Bike Plan on the schedule noted in that plan. Notable deadlines include full implementation of new bikeway facilities by FY25, bike parking within 150 feet of every building in the core of campus by FY20, and bike rentals by FY20.
6. Appropriately staff sustainable transportation efforts, especially through the hiring of an Active Transportation Coordinator.

+ Date Revised: June 4, 2015

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Transportation plan(s):

Accountable parties include the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment as well as Facilities & Services along with many faculty, staff, and students with relevant expertise.

+ Date Revised: June 4, 2015

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Waste:

A comprehensive Zero Waste Program will include sustainable procurement components, targeted reuse programs, clear recycling education with incentives for participation, and specific targets focused on waste minimization.

+ Date Revised: June 12, 2015

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Waste plan(s):

Reduce MSW waste going to landfills. This involves reducing non-durable goods purchases, effectively re-using materials, and recycling. In the latter category, campus will increase the diversion rate of MSW to 45% by FY20, 60% by FY25, and 80% by FY35, while also increasing the total diversion rate to 90% by FY20 and 95% by FY25. MSW sent to landfills should decline to 2,000 tons annually by 2035.

+ Date Revised: June 12, 2015

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Waste plan(s):

Achieving the waste reduction goals will require action by all members of the campus community. A zero waste coordinator will be responsible for implementing strategies.

+ Date Revised: June 12, 2015

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Water:

Water conservation has been the main tool for reducing water use on our campus. Looking ahead, water conservation can continue to provide further water use reductions, but it is expected to have diminishing effects as the relatively easy, high-impact changes are implemented. Thus, additional tools for water use reductions are needed. (2015 Illinois Climate Action Plan)

+ Date Revised: June 12, 2015

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Water plan(s):

1. Obtain and publicize more granular water use data by FY16, including water quantity and quality data where available.
2. Improve the water efficiency of cooling towers by limiting the amount discharged to sewer to less than 20% of water intake for chiller plant towers, and less than 33% for stand-alone building towers, by FY20.
3. Perform a water audit to establish water conservation targets and determine upper limits for water demand by end-use, for incorporation into facilities standards by FY16.
4. Inventory and benchmark campus’ existing landscape performance by FY17.
5. Through an open solicitation process, implement at least 4 pilot projects to showcase the potential of water and/or stormwater reuse by FY20, with the objective of implementing a broader program by FY25.
6. Investigate the water quality impacts of stormwater runoff and potential ways to reduce stormwater pollutant discharges by FY18.

+ Date Revised: June 12, 2015

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Water plan(s):

Primary responsibility is with Facilities & Services. However, faculty and students will likely be involved in studies.

+ Date Revised: June 12, 2015

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance Diversity and Affordability:
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The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Diversity and Affordability plan(s):
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Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Diversity and Affordability plan(s):
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A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Health, Wellbeing and Work:
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The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Health, Wellbeing and Work plan(s):
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Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Health, Wellbeing and Work plan(s):
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A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Investment:
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The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Investment plan(s):
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Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Investment plan(s):
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A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in other areas:
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The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the other plan(s):
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Accountable parties, offices or departments for the other plan(s):
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The institution’s definition of sustainability:

Sustainability is meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.


Does the institution’s strategic plan or equivalent guiding document include sustainability at a high level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution’s strategic plan or equivalent guiding document addresses sustainability:

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign developed its most recent strategic plan through an exercise entitled "Visioning Excellence". During the exercise, sustainability emerged as one of the top priorities for our campus.


The website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability planning is available:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.