Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 73.25
Liaison Meredith Moore
Submission Date Feb. 25, 2022

STARS v2.2

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
PRE-2: Points of Distinction

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete N/A Meredith Moore
Sustainability Programs Coordinator
Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name of the institution’s featured sustainability program, initiative, or accomplishment:
Solar Farm 2.0

A brief description of the institution’s featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:

Solar Farm 2.0 is a 54-acre, 12.32 megawatt (MWdc) solar array on the South Farms of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Located north of Curtis Road, between First Street and Dunlap Avenue near Savoy, Solar Farm 2.0 is producing approximately 20,000 megawatt-hours per year (MWh/year), bringing the total on-campus solar production to approximately 27,000 MWh/year. This project allows campus to achieve the 2015 iCAP objective 3.2 to produce at least 25,000 MWh/year by FY25 from solar installations on campus property.

Solar Farm 2.0 was developed by national solar energy firm Sol Systems, which built the farm with innovative features such as bifacial solar panels, single-axis trackers, pollinator habitat, and zero waste construction practices. This project is among the most technologically advanced and sustainable solar projects in the U.S. Through the firm’s development wing, Sol Customer Solutions, a joint venture between Sol Systems and Capital Dynamics, Capital Dynamics will serve as owners of the project with Sol Systems managing the asset throughout the 20-year term of the agreement.

The $20.1M contract is anticipated to save the university $300,000 in the farm’s first year compared to electricity purchased from the wholesale MISO market. Prairieland Energy will buy the solar energy for the Urbana campus at a fixed rate of $45.99 per MWh, and the University will receive the associated renewable energy certificates (RECs) and the right to claim the use of clean energy.


Which of the following impact areas does the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Public Engagement
Energy

Website URL where more information about the accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
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A photograph or document associated with the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:
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Name of a second highlighted sustainability program/initiative/accomplishment:
Natural Resource and Environmental Science Course: iCAP Sustainability Ambassadors

A brief description of the second program/initiative/accomplishment:

The goal of this course is to have students understand how to implement climate action policy through examination of University building stock and personnel behavior and developing recommendations to alter both stock and behavior to achieve iCAP 2020 goals. This is a building-level, “bottom-up” approach to campus sustainability, where students will be connected with facility managers to gain an applicable understanding of sustainability opportunities.

Course Objectives:

Become familiar with climate action policy, specifically the iCAP 2020
Identify key areas of the intersection of iCAP objectives and campus buildings
Survey buildings and record existing stock and personnel behavior
Develop a strategic plan to implement actionable changes to building infrastructure and personnel behavior
Present recommendations to building staff and other stakeholders


Which impact areas does the second program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Campus Engagement
Buildings

Website URL where more information about the second program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the second program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
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A photograph or document associated with the second program/initiative/accomplishment:
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Name of a third highlighted program/initiative/accomplishment:
Geothermal Energy - Campus Instructional Facility

A brief description of the third program/initiative/accomplishment:

The Campus Instructional Facility (CIF) building is a four-story building dedicated to academic and classroom use, located on campus, west of the Grainger Engineering Library and north of Talbot Laboratory. The geothermal exchange borefield is located in the northwest corner of the Bardeen Quad. The optimized geothermal exchange system will supply the CIF building with approximately 135 tons of heating and cooling capacity, equivalent to almost 65% of the total building energy demand. Based on the thermal properties and monitoring results from the temperature monitoring system, the geothermal exchange system was installed with 40 wells that are 6.1 m (20.0 ft) apart and drilled to a depth of 137.2 m (450.0 ft). The geothermal energy system was activated in January 2021.

The geothermal exchange system is designed to operate for more than 25 years, possibly more than 50 years. The geothermal exchange system will save $45,000 per year in operating the heating and cooling system at the CIF, and projected to be $1.35 million over 30 years of operation. Performing the thermo-hydro-mechanical analyses and installing the temperature monitoring system, reduced the number of wells needed in the borefield from 60 to 40, which reduced the project payback period from 40 to 28 years (realized through savings in drilling and constructing a larger geothermal borefield). Without these savings, the geothermal exchange system would not have been feasible.


Which impact areas does the third program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Research
Buildings
Energy

Website URL where more information about the third program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the third program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
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A photograph or document associated with the third program/initiative/accomplishment:
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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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.