UIC demonstrates commitment to action on climate change

On Earth Day, President Biden announced his administration’s commitment to action on climate change. His pledge to cut U.S. emissions in half by 2030 is a promise that has been welcomed by University of Illinois System leaders, including System President Tim Killeen and the chancellors of each of the three system universities.

At UIC, the Chancellor’s Committee on Sustainability and Energy (CCSE) echoes these statements of support and applauds the U of I System’s pledge to foster world-class climate research and innovation over the next decade.

“UIC’s campus is uniquely poised to act as a living laboratory, as we are a truly immersive learning experience for sustainability and climate justice,” said CCSE co-chair George Crabtree, Distinguished Professor, department of physics, electrical, and mechanical engineering, and director, The Energy Initiative.

UIC has a plan in place to cut its carbon emissions that is managed by Office of Planning, Sustainability and Project Management staff. The university’s goal to become a Carbon Neutral Campus is part of its larger UIC Climate Commitments and has been incorporated into the Climate Action Implementation Plan (CAIP), the university’s portfolio of solutions for achieving those commitments.

UIC has made great strides in reducing the campus’s environmental footprint. Besides its continued recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree Campus Higher Education, a Bee Campus USA by the Xerces Society, and silver-level status as a Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists, UIC’s additional carbon-reducing goals include:

  • Decreasing total campus energy use by 3% per year through the Strategic Energy Management process of energy efficiency.
  • Creating a green revolving fund of $1,000,000 to fund energy efficiency projects by next year.
  • Designing 100% of new construction and 25% of renovations to be “Net Zero Energy Ready” while earning LEED Gold certification.
  • Procuring up to 85,000 MWH of renewable energy annually through a virtual power purchase agreement in collaboration with UIUC.
  • Reducing single occupancy vehicle commuting by 1.5% per year through transportation demand management strategies like adding 28 bicycle parking spots each year.
  • 50% of UIC- vehicles purchased each year with be alternative fuel, including 10% electric vehicles.

Many solutions in the CAIP outline a cost-effective road map to achieve 40% greenhouse gas emissions reductions by 2028, provided an adequate annual investment is made. Opportunities for external funding and innovation could be capitalized through partnerships with faculty, and the use of our energy infrastructure to test and prototype climate solutions.

“We look forward to continuing the work of carbon emissions reduction on campus, both through operational strategies and research support,” said CCSE co-chair Rob Dixon, registrar, Office of Registration and Records.

To view UIC’s progress in implementing the CAIP,  including its annual greenhouse gas emission report, visit the CAIP Portal.

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