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.