For the past few months have been working for the Office of Sustainability at UIC as a LEED standards intern. The main priority of my position is to work hand-in-hand with the office in achieving LEED certification of the College Of Medicine Building. In wake of the progress in which we have covered most of the certification, we have shifted priority of the project towards public education.
A major factor which hinders our society from moving towards sustainable lifestyle is that many are unaware of the repercussions of their actions, or the benefits that may be brought forth through environmentally conscious design. Something that we take for granted, because it is so readily available through commercial practices, is our energy expenditure. As a University, over 80% of our carbon emissions (whether it be natural gas or electrically based) comes from the energy use of buildings.
A larger part of UIC’s Climate action plan is focused on moving towards net zero emissions. Which if we consider the fact that almost all of our emissions come from the buildings we regularly occupy over the span of this massive campus, then supporting the construction of sustainable systems should be the top priority. It is because of this that education is quite possibly the most important part of my job. Educating the public is the greatest way to gain support from the student as well as surrounding communities, giving us the momentum we need to move forward.