University Plan for 50 Percent Energy Reduction by 2026

By, Zulema Herrera 

The University Facilities and Services(F&S) previously reminded the campus community to conserve energy with helpful tips to implement in your daily routines. The message followed the harsh winter weather resulting in many without power. Recently, the University sent a mass email reinforcing their recommendations and sharing their Energy Management Plan to be implemented for the next five years.

The F&S Energy Management Plan was created Dec. 2020, giving an in-depth description on their approach such as information on their budget and their consideration of the supply/demand of campus energy. Dr. Mohamed Attalla states in the email that the $100 million dollar a year plan intends to evolve and adapt to campus needs through enhancements of production, distribution, permitting, conservation and business operations.

“The plan keeps the university on the path of achieving the milestone of a 50 percent reduction in energy use per square foot by 2026” said Attala in the mass email,  “fourteen years ahead of the Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP) target.”

The Illinois Climate Action Plan(iCAP) is the campus’s sustainability plan for achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 or sooner. Chancellor Jones signed and approved the plan in Oct. 2020 urging the campus community to get more involved.

“The iCAP 2020 is not just a map for a more environmental and sustainable university,” Chancellor Jones said during the iCAP 2020 launch on the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Conservation YouTube site, “I believe that it is a guide to make sure we are more resilient, adaptable, and more sustainable in every single phase of our mission for decades to come.”

The F&S Energy Management Plan, in particular, is projected to have additional energy savings of 500,000 MMBTUs—Metric Million British Thermal Unit used to measure energy value—per year while avoiding $13 million dollar costs in the next five years.

Attalla says in the email they have made significant progress in the last two decades and by making the necessary improvements part of the University’s Strategic Plan “The Next 500,” more successes are yet to come.