Reporting System

Climate Action Plan for University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Submitted on May 14, 2010; last updated on May 14, 2010

Climate Action Plan Details

Climate Action Plan iCAP: A Climate Action Plan for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
May 15, 2010

Emissions Targets

Climate Neutrality Target
If you have any qualifying statements with regard to the climate neutrality target date, please include them here, and/or if you have chosen "TBD" and not specified a neutrality date, please enter the reason and explain the process for establishing a target date in the future.

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Interim Milestone Emission-Reduction Target Target Date Baseline
15% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2015 relative to baseline emissions in 2008
30% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2020 relative to baseline emissions in 2008
Nonstandard Emissions Targets
Please enter below any targets that do not fit into the above format.

40% reduction in Building Energy Emissions by 2025
50% reduction in Transportation Emissions by 2025 (incl. air travel, commuting and fleet)
40% reduction in Water Use emissions by 2025
50% reduction in Agricultural related emissions by 2020

25% total campus energy from renewable sources by fiscal year 2025
75% waste diversion rate by 2020


Please describe your institution's greenhouse gas mitigation strategies.

Energy is by far the largest contributor to the campus’ emissions inventory. The iCAP focuses on a detailed energy conservation strategy, de-carboniz¬ing generation systems, and the addition of renewable energy sources. This “con-serve-and-load” approach is achievable, affordable, and implementable. The Plan calls for a reduction in building energy use of 40 percent by 2025. This requires comprehensive energy conservation efforts with contributions from a variety of sources including: building retro-commissioning (RCx), heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) improvements, and lighting retrofits as examples. This aggressive conservation effort also will put a plan in place by 2012 that outlines how the University will eliminate coal combustion by 2017. The University also seeks to meet the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard of 25 percent renewable energy use by 2025.

The University will also significantly reduce (goal of 50 percent) emissions from transportation by 2025 by encouraging alternative modes of commuting to campus, exploring central campus movement and parking patterns, encouraging telecommuting and improving bicycling infrastructure. A “no net increase” in building square footage (after current planned projects are completed), aggressive energy and green standards for any new or renovation projects, and the elimina¬tion of some of the existing building stock, will help us achieve GHG emission neutrality.

The plan calls for increased recycling, sustainable agriculture on the University’s South Farms, methane capture from livestock manure, and setting up local food and composting systems. It also calls for water conservation, a local car¬bon registry, the ability to purchase local carbon offsets, and the implementation of a carbon sequestration program.

Please describe your institution's plans to make sustainability a part of the curriculum for all students.

All the strategies, inventories, and initiatives in this iCAP present educational and research opportunities for campus. The conversion to a carbon neutral campus will be part of the University’s core educational mission.

As a world-class university, Illinois has the capacity and the obligation to assume a leadership role in climate destabilization research and action. We believe it can inspire a wide range of exciting and crucial scholarship, while developing cross-campus partner¬ships, and engaging our students. The emergence of climate destabilization as both a global and local issue offers a rare opportunity for the University community to unite around a common cause.

Several opportunities have been identified to integrate sustainability into the University’s educational mission, including a preliminary set of learning outcomes requiring each graduating student to obtain a core competency on sustainability. These competencies, such as knowledge of how food, water, energy, and material goods affect human societies and ecosystems, are designed to prepare students for leadership roles as society prepares for the climate challenge.

In the next year, an assessment of current course offerings that include these outcomes will be prepared to examine the possible gaps in course offerings. The campus faculty has already begun to respond to the challenge. A number of first year discovery courses have been proposed on the topic and this summer the campus will be offering its first curriculum workshop (The Prairie Project) for faculty aimed at improving or developing new courses that include climate and sustainability.

Please describe your institution's plans to expand research efforts toward the achievement of climate neutrality.

Research is central to the sustainability of the University and the region. Already a world leader in sustainability and climate research, Illinois is developing opportunities for researchers from diverse disciplines to come together to explore new frontiers in discovering solutions to the challenges ahead. Innovative research collaborations focused on creating knowledge and new technologies are being developed to discover, analyze, and implement new approaches for meeting the "long emergency." For example, a Memorandum of Understanding with the Center for the Advancement of Sustainability Innovations in the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Engineer Research and Development Center, has been established to pursue several areas of collaboration revolving around food, water, and energy.

Please describe your institution's plans to expand community outreach efforts toward the achievement of climate neutrality.

The University is working to enhance its engagement activities in the arena of sustainability. Champaign County Network (CCNet) is an effort to engage the campus and the surrounding community in a shared discourse on the critical sustainability and climate issues and opportunities ahead. The University's Office of Corporate Relations is working to enhance collaborations with corporations in sustainability activities.

The University’s Office of Sustainability is providing technical assistance to the Illinois Community College Sustainability Network (ICCSN), helping the ICCSN to develop strategies and priorities to achieve the following goals: collaborate to accelerate green jobs development; model energy conservation and demonstrate renewable energy; impact energy conservation by providing community education on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other sustainable technologies.

The Office of Sustainability is also supporting the ramp-up of the Illinois Green Business Association (IGBA), started by students. The IGBA is working with businesses in central Illinois to identify and certify best management practices in nine areas: water conservation; energy conservation; pollution prevention; waste reduction/recycling; landscape; transportation; general employee practices; community development; and purchasing.

The iCAP provides an opportunity to engage the outside community in a dialogue on the University’s role in helping to resolve community climate responses. For example, the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC) provides assistance to public and private interests in reducing and conserving their operational energy use in buildings. This type of information is an important step in developing meaningful solutions to climate change.