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As the first Big Ten university to submit its Climate Action Plan (iCAP) to the ACUPCC, Illinois continues to set high standards with aggressive goals for reaching carbon neutrality. Campus leadership is committed to exceeding these goals and is on target due to significant progress toward interim goals.
On Target to Exceed Goals
With support of senior leadership, Illinois’ energy reduction goal in the iCAP is a 20% reduction in energy consumption by 2015 using a fiscal year 2008 baseline. Conservation efforts have led to a 19% reduction to date, only 1% shy of the 2015 goal. The energy use emissions reduction goal is 15% by fiscal year 2015, and campus has already achieved a 16% reduction; again exceeding our goals years in advance.
Illinois’ significant investments toward sustainability efforts in the past four years include more than $19 million in local funds and $6.5 million in grant funds. These investments have realized approximately $12 million in energy savings so far. Through collaboration and contributions from both campus administration and the Student Sustainability Committee (SSC), Illinois created a revolving loan fund totaling $1.5 million.
The campus’ water conservation goal is a 20% reduction by 2015. Using a 2008 baseline, campus is well on its way with a 16% reduction with four years to go.
The iCAP also committed Illinois to higher building standards by increasing from LEED Silver to LEED Gold in 2010, and in 2015 our standard will be LEED Platinum. Presently, the campus has one Platinum building, one Gold, and two Silver.
Illinois is home to many passionate students. Our students voted for the largest green student fees in America. The two fees equal $17 per student per semester providing more than $1 million annually for sustainability projects. The SSC is responsible for reviewing and recommending funding for campus projects from these fees.
Sustainability education can be found across many disciplines at Illinois; more than 250 courses related to sustainability are offered through 43 different departments on campus. The Office of Sustainability organizes an annual curriculum workshop. So far 35 instructors from many different disciplines have participated in these workshops. The modifications to their courses will reach 6,500 students per year. The campus goal is that every Illinois graduate should know about sustainability.