Monthly archives: October, 2014

Volunteers needed for the opening of a new Habitat for Humanity ReStore Chicago

Volunteers needed for the opening of a new Habitat for Humanity ReStore Chicago! People needed to help anytime Monday through Saturday 9am-4pm at 6040 N. Pulaski!.

Come meet people with similar interests and help a great organization while working with reclaimed building materials.

Email or call (773) 539-6040

UIC earns STARS Silver Rating for Sustainability and receives the 28th Annual Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award

Chicago, IL– The University of Illinois at Chicago has achieved wide recognition for our sustainable initiatives on campus. UIC earned a STARS Silver Rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).  UIC also earned the 28th Annual Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award for 2014 for our commitment to improving the environmental health and sustainability of Illinois.


STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. UIC’s STARS report is publicly available on the STARS website:

USTARS Silver logoIC has been using STARS as a way to monitor our progress on sustainability since its early beginnings as STARS Pilot campus and then a Charter Participant. The Office of Sustainability was founded in 2008 and was one of the first in the Chicago area. The diversity of metrics used to derive the composite STARS rating, reflects the diversity of our campus in its sustainability initiatives, as well as its population. In 2011 we received a Bronze ranking. UIC has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% from 2004 levels by 2050.

“We worked with dozens of campus partners to acquire the information to achieve credits for the over 100 qualitative and quantitative metrics in STARS” commented Cynthia Klein-Banai, Associate Chancellor for Sustainability. “Through this process we have engaged more of the campus community in thinking about how sustainability relates to the work they do.”

With more than 650 participants on six continents, AASHE’s STARS program is the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in four overall areas: 1) operations 2) academics, 3) engagement and 4) planning, administration.

“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Stephanie Herrera. “UIC has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Silver Rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”

“By achieving a Silver rating in 2014 in the more vigorous version of STARS version 2.0, we have proudly demonstrated in actions our commitment to these goals” commented Dr. Klein-Banai.


Achieving these goals does not only get the University of Illinois at Chicago recognized by AASHE, but our own state also recognizes the great strides we have made to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions and making our state a better place to live and have committed to improving the environmental health and sustainability of Illinois.


pictured are Associated Chancellor of the Office of Sustainability Cynthia Klein-Banai and Director of Project Management of Facilities Management Vytenis Milunas

The Governor’s office noted that, “UIC’s commendable green practices serve as a model of environmental stewardship for residents, businesses, and institutions through out the state.”

The Governor’s office goes on to say, “Implementing energy efficiency upgrades, fuel savings, pollution and waste reductions, and other sustainability improvements requires vision,  strong leadership, and the dedication of individuals throughout an organization. I applaud your prioritization of these important objectives and your accomplishments in these areas.

“As Governor, I am encouraged by the progress that we have achieved toward a healthier and safer environment in Illinois by working in partnership across the public and private sectors. Through efforts spanning from grassroots community initiatives to corporate sustainability policies to new state laws and programs, our collective work is helping protect Illinois’ air, land, water and energy resources for generations to come. The prosperity of our state depends on the quality of our environment.  Indeed, our efforts to improve sustainability also support positive economic growth and green job creation in Illinois.”



About the UIC Office of Sustainability:

The Office of Sustainability helps coordinate initiatives on campus that bring UIC towards greater social, economic, and environmental sustainability. Select current initiatives are focused on improvements to campus-wide recycling, active transportation options, and energy efficiency. Find out more at the UIC’s Office of Sustainability website at or find us on Twitter or Facebook.

About AASHE:

AASHE is an association of colleges and universities that are working to create a sustainable future. AASHE’s mission is to empower higher education to lead the sustainability transformation.  It provides resources, professional development and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model and advance sustainability in everything they do, from governance and operations to education and research. For more information about AASHE, visit

For more information about the STARS program, visit

About the Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award:

Since 1987, the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) has presented the Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award (Governor’s Award) to organizations in Illinois that demonstrate a commitment to our economy, society and environment through outstanding and innovative sustainability practices. The Governor’s Award is given to companies and organizations that implement techniques or technologies that reduce or eliminate pollutants, toxicity and other environmental impacts, including the amount of and/or toxicity of pollutants that would have otherwise been released into the environment.

$15,000 in prizes and VIP trips the ARPA-E Innovation Summit to winners of the

The ChallengeHow do we improve communication between consumers and the utilities to build a more responsive and secure grid?

Suggested solution components:

  • Selection of platform to collect information on Location and Description of damage after a storm. Strengths and weaknesses of selected platform.
  • Mechanics of user interaction.
  • Design of web/mobile app. Mock‐ups at least.
  • Mechanics of background IT piece.
  • How would the Utility separate useful information from the rest?
  • Potential reward mechanisms for providers of information that led to better storm response.

Award overview 

Participants in this innovation competition have the opportunity to compete for $15,000 in prize money, as well as a VIP trip to the U.S. Department of Energy, Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (ARPA-E) Energy Innovation Summit in Washington, D.C. (February 9-11, 2015). In addition to cash prizes and the ARPA-E trip, winning ideas and participants may be invited to work with ComEd and Exelon to implement their solutions.

Download/view the promotional flyer (JPG)

More information:

Turning Green into Green

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), which has built several LEED Certified Buildings in the past several years, is selling an estimated 770 metric tons of certified carbon credits to Chevrolet, which is retiring them on behalf of the environment.

“We are pleased to be able to form a partnership that demonstrates the environmental and economic value of green buildings, such as Douglas Hall, and to tap into funding for our Sustainability Internship Program that provides economic and social benefit for our students,” said Dr. Cynthia Klein-Banai, Associate Chancellor for Sustainability. “Chevrolet has rewarded these positive steps by joining with the departments and donors to provide nearly $30,000 to help campus achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.”

The campus committed to the reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050 through strategies delineated in UIC’s Climate Action Plan.  These include energy efficiency, on and off-site renewable energy, advancing active transportation, and diverting materials from the landfill through recycling and composting. The campus received recognition of these and other sustainability efforts by receiving a Silver Rating in the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s Sustainability Tracking and Rating System. This represents progress over its 2009 Bronze-level rating. In addition, UIC has been the recipient of three Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards, including the latest in 2014.

Although actual figures will not be determined until campus carbon credits are verified by an independent agency and certified by the Verified Carbon Standard, the campus expects to transfer approximately 770 tons of reduction from fiscal years 2013-14 to the Chevrolet initiative.  These reductions arise from the energy efficiency technologies in Douglas Hall, a LEED Gold certified building. It uses renewable energy sources derived from 245 rooftop solar photovoltaic panels and geothermal ground source heating and cooling. Combine these with highly efficient lighting and daylighting, occupancy detectors, a heat recovery wheel, efficient windows, and a heat load-detection system, Douglas Hall exceeds the energy code at time of construction by 27%. Between the funding from Chevrolet and funds provided by campus units and donors, this partnership will bring in nearly $30,000 to support the internship program.

The Climate Neutral Business Network helped Chevrolet develop the methodology by which campuses can earn money for certain upgrades that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is part of the brand’s Carbon Reduction Initiative to purchase up to 8 million tons of carbon credits from a variety of clean energy projects and technologies in communities across the United States. The nonprofit Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) works on behalf of Chevrolet to manage the transactions.

The agreement with UIC is Chevrolet’s second LEED Building project to date.  BEF is retiring the carbon credits for the benefit of the environment, meaning they will not be used to offset emissions related to specific Chevrolet operations or products — or those at any other site.

“At Chevrolet, we’re working to improve not only the efficiency of our vehicles, but the facilities that make them,” said GM Sustainability Director David Tulauskas. “But we know there are more opportunities to help fuel the clean energy movement beyond our own operations. We support the ingenious ways colleges such as University of Illinois at Chicago are reducing their carbon footprint and spreading awareness of the benefits of a clean energy future.”

Based on analyses of a typical LEED or campus-wide project, this funding could support campus clean energy efficiency projects by contributing a 5-25% return on the incremental capital needed, based upon USGBC’s estimated $3/sq ft incremental cost to achieve LEED certifiable levels of performance and carbon values of $5-10/ton.

In recognition of Campus Sustainability Day, UIC is proud to be joining five other schools who are announcing their participation in the program: Spelman College, Atlanta, Boston University, MA, Rochester Institute of Technology, NY, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, WI, and Portland State University, OR.

Follow the sustainability conversation on Twitter and tell Chevrolet about campus clean-energy efforts at #CleanEnergyU.

The Office of Sustainability, established in January 2008, forms the focal point for coordinating sustainability initiatives on campus by receiving information, tracking data, and assessing progress. This is accomplished through involvement in institutional and programmatic planning, information dissemination, providing guidance, reporting, and acting as a resource on sustainability in higher education. For more information visit .

UIC ranks among the nation’s leading research universities and is Chicago’s largest university with 27,500 students, 12,000 faculty and staff, 15 colleges and the state’s major public medical center. A hallmark of the campus is the Great Cities Commitment, through which UIC faculty, students and staff engage with community, corporate, foundation and government partners to improve the quality of life in metropolitan areas around the world. For information about UIC, visit

Healthy Communities internship at Seven Generations Ahead

SGA is seeking candidates for full-year and partial-year internships providing academic credit for student involvement with local agencies and non-profits. Work opportunities can relate to current SGA programs or specific skills (web design, graphic arts, marketing, database management, etc.) that support SGA operations.

Students will help organize and participate in meetings with community stakeholders as healthy community programs are designed and implemented.  Students will gather and analyze data and use the results to inform program development.  They will assist in designing and implementing community forums and events centered around improving community health.

For more information, contact SGA at or submit the application form at the website:

Zero Waste Schools intern at Seven Generations Ahead

SGA is seeking candidates for full-year and partial-year internships providing academic credit for student involvement with local agencies and non-profits. Work opportunities can relate to current SGA programs or specific skills (web design, graphic arts, marketing, database management, etc.) that support SGA operations.

Zero Waste interns will prepare materials and information for school lunchroom audits.  They will help to guide students and parents through the audit and will analyze the data and present the results to the school and CPS.  Interns will also help to establish zero waste stations in the lunchrooms, and with help train and support the school community in becoming zero waste.

For more information, contact SGA at or submit the application form at the website:

gb&d featured The Office of Sustainability

The Office of Sustainability is featured in gb&d page 54

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 1.27.42 PM

Office of Sustainability featured in Sustainable Business Magazine

 Sustainable Business Magazine  featured The Office of Sustainability on page 68

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 1.28.06 PM

We made the cover story in Buildings and Environments!

The Office of Sustainability is featured in Buildings and Environments on page 3.


Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 1.27.11 PM

Energy & Climate Justice Semester | Apply Now

APPLY NOW for Energy & Climate Justice Semester.
Travel the desert southwest.
Application Deadline – November 15th.

The Expedition Education Institute (the rebirth of the Audubon Expedition Institute) in partnership with Marlboro College is offering one-semester off-campus programs for students passionate about the environment, the earth, and sustainability and also about growing into better leaders, communicators, and community members.

The Spring 2015 Semester (late Jan to early May) in Ecological Leadership will investigate Energy Issues and Climate Justice in the Southwest, traveling from Texas to Arizona. Applications are being accepted until November 15th.

During the semester 15 to 18 students and three faculty travel through the region, meeting with people and organizations with a variety of perspectives on the issues, deeply engaging in an experiential learning community, and living and learning outdoors (sleeping in tents or under the stars).

“More than anything, it was “human school”- it reminded us how to live as though everything we are and everything we do matters. In finding our way around the country via networks of activists, scientists, loggers, artists, and ranchers, we discovered that we were not lone voices in the wilderness, but part of a thriving community in ‘blessed unrest’.”       –Julie Aitcheson, ‘04

There are no classroom walls and yet you, as a student, are fully engaged in your education, based in five interdisciplinary courses that aim to expand your hearts and minds (see the flyer for the areas of study). You will be challenged and supported to find your own strengths as leaders, facilitators, and peer educators and to discover your passion for learning, discovery, and critical reflection.

College students on an EEI program will be on a “semester at Marlboro,” and as such will be paying Marlboro tuition (and receiving Marlboro financial aid, in addition to what they transfer from their home college) and receiving 15 Marlboro College credits for successful completion of the semester.

Don’t miss your chance to travel the southwest U.S. and take a deep dive into learning about and connecting with the crucial energy and climate justice issues of our time, your own relationship to these, and an engaged learning community to support you in your understanding and explorations.

Rolling admissions in process: apply now for the best chance of participation. Application deadline: November 15.

EEI’s website:

Marlboro’s “Bus” webpage:

This is time sensitive as the application deadline for the spring 2015 semester is November 15th. Read about it below and check out the links to the websites, and most importantly if you have any questions at all contact Larkspur Morton at EEI:; 207-322-2973.