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U. of I. program encouraging
heightened awareness of environmental issues
Forrest, News Editor
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. —A
new initiative by the Facilities and
Services department at the Urbana campus of the University of Illinois
aims to encourage sustainable practices and “green” designs
through the word “blue.” BLUE, an acronym for “building
a lasting university environment,” is a broad-based program that
heightens awareness of environmental issues and encourages initiatives
that reduce waste; diminish usage of chemicals, water and energy; improve
building efficiency; and otherwise protect the environment.
“Recognizing that the physical features of the campus are an integral
part of the learning experience, it is our responsibility to provide
a campus that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but one that also
is sensitive to human health and the environment,” said Jack Dempsey,
F&S executive director.
The department’s sustainability goals this academic year include
objectives such as incorporating native species into the south campus
landscape plan and increasing usage of hybrid or electric vehicles,
an objective that was achieved a few months ago when the F&S Car
Pool purchased eight hybrid vehicles for travel on campus.
To help realize a goal of improving the quality of runoff water from
parking lot F23, near Florida Avenue and South Lincoln Avenue, faculty
members William Buttlar, Edwin Herricks and Art Schmidt in the department
of civil and environmental engineering are leading a team of students and experts on storm-water management
and the environmental impact of construction materials in developing
a runoff-water system and paving materials for the lot. The team plans
to establish a monitoring station at the site that will serve as an
international demonstration location and the basis of a 10-year study
in runoff-water management practices.
“Working together, we’ll be able to come up with an optimum
solution that’s the best thing we can do for our environment,”
said Kevin Duff, associate director for grounds and landscape architecture,
F&S Planning Division.
F&S staff members also are collaborating with architectural firms
and faculty and staff members from the College
of Business and campus environmental organizations to incorporate
sustainable design features — such as a “green” roof
with photovoltaic panels that convert sunlight into electricity –
into the new College of Business facility being planned for construction
near Sixth Street and Gregory Drive. The project team plans to present
preliminary designs to the U. of I. Board of Trustees by mid-summer
and is striving for the building to attain a silver-level rating in
the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental
Design registry, the nationally accepted standard for green buildings.
F&S employs more than 1,400 people in seven divisions: Planning,
Maintenance, Construction, Safety and Compliance, Capital Project Administration,
Shared Administrative Services, and Campus Services, which includes
the Garage & Car Pool, the Parking and Printing departments, and
Stores, Mail & Receiving.