Guided Sustainability Checklist for Architects, Engineers, and Project Owners and Managers

Lincoln, Douglas, and Grant halls witih the Chicago skyline in teh background

How to Incorporate The Climate Action Implementation Plan into On-Campus New Construction and Major Renovation Projects

The Climate Action Implementation Plan (CAIP) is a refined cost-effective portfolio of solutions to be implemented within the next 10 years (2018-2028) that have been calculated to reduce the university’s greenhouse gas emissions and cost of operations of a building throughout the project’s useful life. The strategies of the CAIP integrate the principles of the UIC Climate Commitments to be a Carbon Neutral Campus, Zero Waste Campus, Net-Zero Water Campus, a Biodiverse Campus. UIC’s greenhouse gas emissions can achieve zero by 2050 only if all the solutions of the CAIP are put into practice in the next 10 years.

Because buildings account for the majority of our energy and water use, creation of waste, and can impact natural habitats and biodiversity on campus, it is imperative that UIC set high standards for all new construction to aid the goals of the UIC Climate Commitments. Ideally, all newly constructed buildings and building renovations going forward should be built to be carbon neutral, zero waste, using net-zero water, with minimal habitat impact.  The UIC Office of Sustainability understands that most innovative carbon, water and waste neutrality projects have a high capital attached to the projects and may not always be fiscally feasible when looking at upfront alone. However, UIC is a long term property owner and manager, thus a full life-cycle cost, waste, and maintenance analysis will usually demonstrate overall long-term financial savings. If a project does not think it can attain the goals, please submit a technical and financial justification to the Office of Sustainability at

Along with a consulting service, Fovea LLC, the Office of Sustainability modeled greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions projections based on current usage and are better able to predict where UIC can best spend time and resources to reducing these emissions. We created many portfolio solutions to reduce GHG emissions that also are cost-effective and will save the university money. If all of the portfolio solutions that are outlined in this CAIP are put into action, UIC can achieve carbon neutrality with using only a small percentage of offsets by 2050.

Additional strategic solutions were also developed to help UIC realize the goals of the UIC Climate Commitments that do not have a direct impact on GHG emissions. These goals cannot be modeled the same way as GHG-reducing solutions, but careful research and case study testimonials have help shape these solutions. Implementing these solutions, along with the portfolio solutions mentioned above, will make UIC a truly sustainable university in which to work, study, and conduct research.

This document outlines how all new construction and major renovation projects on campus can help achieve the goals of the UIC Climate Commitments via the solutions of the CAIP. Many of these goals align with the USGBC’s checklist for buildings certified under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) with a few exceptions.

Comparing LEED® and the CAIP

All projects must obtain LEED® Gold or higher.

All new construction and major renovation projects on campus, regardless of their size or budget, must complete the LEED® checklist, earning Gold level or higher for either Building Design + Construction or Interior Design and Construction according to the rules outlined in this document.

If the project costs more than $5 million, the project must be registered with the certification goal of LEED® Gold. Upon completion, the project will apply to become LEED® certified at either the Gold or Platinum level. This is a change to the current Building Standards that state that all projects costing over $5 million must achieve a LEED® Silver or higher. The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® green building program is the preeminent program for the design, construction, maintenance and operations of high-performance green buildings. Learn more at

There is an important distinction that not every CAIP solution will earn LEED® points, but it is just as important to follow the LEED® checklist to obtain Gold or higher. Just because a LEED® credit does not directly relate to a goal outlined in the UIC Climate Commitments does not mean it should not be pursued. This document prioritizes the LEED® credits to coincide with the goals of the UIC Climate Commitments and solutions of the CAIP.

However, the UIC CAIP/LEED® checklist does not address the interior well-being of the building occupants. This does not mean this should be over-looked, or that it is a low priority. Rather, it was not directly addressed as one of the UIC Climate Commitments in 2016. It is expected to be addressed in the 2018 Resiliency planning.

However, some solutions may not be applicable to a particular project. For example, if the project is a major renovation of only a interior portion of the building, then many of the solutions under Strategy 4.0 Natural Resources and Ecosystems services would not apply. The following pages describe the background of each CAIP solution, followed by a checklist for projects how they can specifically help to attain those goals and how they relate to a specific LEED® credit.

Please pay special attention to the solutions that aim to reduce energy use (1.2.1), and reduce water use (4.2.1, 4.2.2) as these are solutions that require creative problem solving for achievement. If a project does not think it can attain the goals, please submit a technical and financial justification to the Office of Sustainability at Please note that UIC is a long-term owner and financial justifications must look at the full life cycle of the building, not just up-front costs.

For projects pursing LEED® v4 ID+C, of the 60 points need to achieve Gold, 59 are required in the categories outlined in the CAIP/LEED® checklist, without accounting for Innovation or Regional Priority credits. The design team may choose where the other points may be applied. For projects pursing LEED® v4 BD+C, of the 60 points need to achieve Gold, 54 are required in the categories outlined in the CAIP/LEED® checklist, without accounting for Innovation or Regional Priority credits. The design team may choose where the other points may be applied. Keep in mind that some of the CAIP solutions may also be used as Innovation points.

All submitted LEED® checklists should look like the examples given at the end of this document meaning that all points in the Yes column are matched (at minimum). Points have been carefully added to match the specific solutions of the CAIP. By simply reviewing this document, projects should be able to obtain points in the integrative Process category (version 4). All checklist submittals, questions and justifications should be directed to the Office of Sustainability at

All examples given are based off of the LEED v4 for Building Design and Construction: New Construction and Major Renovation or LEED v4 Interior Design and Construction: Commercial Interiors. For projects pursuing other rating systems (such as Schools or Healthcare), please contact the Office of Sustainability.

Project Requirements to achieve LEED and CAIP goals

1.1.1 SEM: ENERGY CONSERVATION MEASURE (ECM) PORTFOLIO identifies and implements quick payback energy savings projects. EA CREDIT: ADVANCED ENERGY METERING BD+C - 1 point ID+C - 1 point Install metering devices with automation systems in order to measure and monitor the performance of energy-systems. Metering and automation systems must ensure appropriate monitoring and data collection.
1.2.1 BUILDING STANDARDS (2025 IECC) requires UIC to achieve LEED® certification at the Gold level and to exceed compliance of current building standards to meet the projected 2025 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) standard for new buildings, which is 50% more efficient than ASHRAE 90.1-2013. EA CREDIT: OPTIMIZE ENERGY PERFORMANCE BD+C 18 points (option 1) OR 6 points (option 2) ID+C 25 points OR 16 points (option 2) Follow the most current energy efficiency standards (ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2016 (or most current version) and all new buildings and major renovations must demonstrate a 50% improvement of energy use compared to the baseline of ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2013.
1.2.2 ENERGY CONSCIOUS CAMPUS targets an annual 1.5% reduction in campus energy consumption by actively training and educating the UIC community to shift habits into a more energy conscious manner. IN CREDIT: INNOVATION BD+C 1 point ID+C 1 point Encourage occupants to reduce energy use through educational signage. Research the possibility of installing TV monitors to monitor energy use via the UIC Energy Dashboard.
2.1.1 INDIRECT (10-YEAR) PPA procures renewable energy for UIC through an indirect Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) - a financial transaction between the developer and offtaker with no physical renewable power being delivered. EA CREDIT: GREEN POWER AND CARBON OFFSETS BD+C 1 point ID+C 1 point Set aside a portion of the project budget to purchase at minimum 50% of the building’s calculated energy use with green power/ REC’s and/or offsets. If UIC has entered into a renewable energy procurement contract, it may be possible to allocate renewable energy from that procurement towards the project. Utilities and Sustainability should be consulted to determine the best strategy.
2.1.2 ONSITE (10-YEAR) PPA – SOLAR PV ROOFTOP GENERATION requires UIC to identify appropriate locations for a 1 MW (sized capacity) solar PV rooftop system and validate full-costs associated with deployment. EA CREDIT: RENEWABLE ENERGY PRODUCTION BD+C 2 points ID+C 2 points Calculate feasibility to install on-site renewable energy production for 3% of the building’s energy demand. If cost of installation is less than a 10-year payback, the building must install on-site renewable energy including but limited to roof-top photovoltaics, geothermal, integrated solar, and solar thermal. If pay-back is more than 10 years, new construction projects must install roofs capable of withstanding rooftop PV’s for future installation or through a power purchase agreement.
2.2.1 ONSITE POWER PLANT ELECTRICITY PRODUCTION utilizes on-campus assets to generate electricity in a more economic and carbon-efficient manner. not applicable Utility supply options should be analyzed for greenhouse gas emissions using the emissions factors provided by the Office of Sustainability, choosing the solution with the lowest emission is preferred.
3.1.1 TRANSPORTATION DEMAND MANAGEMENT (TDM) inserts policies and practices to reduce use of single occupancy vehicles for travel to campus by removing barriers to transit incentives as well as increasing the quantity of both indoor and outdoor bicycle parking on campus. LT CREDIT: ACCESS TO QUALITY TRANSIT BD+C 5 points ID+C 7 points LT CREDIT: BICYCLE FACILITIES BD+C 1 point ID+C 1 point LT CREDIT: REDUCED PARKING FOOTPRINT BD+C 1 point ID+C 2 points Discourage the use of single-occupancy vehicles via no additional parking, project is sited near public transportation, walkways within project’s boundaries are made accessible, recommendations of the Multimodal Plan are followed, and adherence to the UIC bicycle parking guidelines .
3.2.1 FLEET EFFICIENCY (FUEL SWITCH) increases the number of hybrid, electric, and CNG vehicles by 5% in 5 years (2023), 15% in 10 years (2028), and 20% in 15 years (2033). not applicable All meetings (design, construction) must investigate having a telecommunications and video conferencing option for remote meetings to reduce the need of travel.
4.1.1 GREEN STORMWATER INFRASTRUCTURE IMPLEMENTATION PLAN lays out a comprehensive analysis of UIC’s current conditions so that stormwater interventions can be properly addressed using techniques like green infrastructure. SS CREDIT: RAINWATER MANAGEMENT BD+C 2 point s WE CREDIT: OUTDOOR WATER USE REDUCTION BD+C 2 point s Adhere to the green infrastructure strategies outlined in Urban Transformation v2.0: Green Stormwater Infrastructure Implementation Plan including adding a stormwater retaining systems (in lieu of a detention system), installing rain water capture devices, rain gardens/ bioswales, native plants, and installing permeable surfaces to ensure rainwater drains back into the ground and out of the sewer. If irrigation is deemed necessary, irrigate landscape with captured stormwater and install an Internet-based irrigation system.
4.2.1 BUILDING-LEVEL WATER METERING accurately measures UIC’s water consumption to reduce water usage by 52% and will save $2.34 million. WE CREDIT: INDOOR WATER USE REDUCTION BD+C 6 point s ID+C 12 points WE CREDIT: WATER METERING BD+C 1 point Install remote building-level water metering and reduce water use by a minimum of 52%.
4.2.2 MANUAL and LOW-FLOW FIXTURES retrofits regularly used restrooms that are currently equipped with automatic and/or high-flow flushers to manual and low-flow fixtures. WE CREDIT: INDOOR WATER USE REDUCTION BD+C 6 point s ID+C 12 points Install manual low flow water fixtures for toilets. Do not install automatic flushers. All restroom renovations should include a fixture upgrade to manual/ low flush.
4.3.1 CAMPUS POLLINATOR HABITAT PLAN creates a set of recommendations and grounds maintenance practices that allow pollinators to thrive at UIC. SS CREDIT: SITE DEVELOPMENT—PROTECT OR RESTORE HABITAT BD+C 2 point s (option 1) WE CREDIT: OUTDOOR WATER USE REDUCTION BD+C 2 point s LT CREDIT: SENSITIVE LAND PROTECTION BD+C 1 point Design landscapes that allow pollinators to thrive through planting recommendations, maintenance policies and educational tools as outlined in the UIC Campus Pollinator Habitat Plan.
4.3.2 TREE CARE PLAN outlines tree benefits, both health and environmental, and requires UIC to be responsible for the financial commitment to maintain a tree inventory and the subsequent health recommendations as outlined by professional arborists. SS CREDIT: SITE DEVELOPMENT—PROTECT OR RESTORE HABITAT BD+C 2 point s (option 1) SS CREDIT: OPEN SPACE BD+C 1 point EQ CREDIT: QUALITY VIEWS BD+C 1 point ID+C 1 point Adhere to the planting, removal policies, and construction requirements in the UIC Tree Care Plan including the caliper-for-caliper replacement policy, biodiversity policy, and then tree canopy coverage policy.
5.1.1 DEPARTMENT and UNIT ZERO WASTE PLAN requires each unit on campus to develop a plan specific to their operations, to optimize reduction of landfill-bound material. MR PREREQUISITE: STORAGE AND COLLECTION OF RECYCLABLES BD+C Required ID+C Required Install outdoor solar-compactor recycling stations (“BigBelly”) within the project’s boundaries near every functional entrance.
5.2.1 OPERATIONAL WASTE COLLECTION EFFICIENCY simplifies recycling and improves efficiency for the campus community by transitioning to a single-stream recycling system and by installing outdoor trash and recycling containers equipped with solar-powered compactors. MR PREREQUISITE: STORAGE AND COLLECTION OF RECYCLABLES BD+C Required ID+C Required Install outdoor solar-compactor recycling stations (“BigBelly”) within the project’s boundaries near every functional entrance.
5.2.2 CONSTRUCTION and DEMOLITION WASTE requires a 90% diversion rate for C&D waste with complete tracking and documentation. MR CREDIT: CONSTRUCTION AND DEMOLITION WASTE MANAGEMENT BD+C 2 points ID+C 2 points MR CREDIT: BUILDING LIFE-CYCLE IMPACT REDUCTION BD+C 3 points (option 4) ID+C 1 point Divert 90% of construction and demolition waste and adhere to the requirements of section 01 74 19 - Construction Waste Management of the UIC Building Standards.
5.3.1 FOOD SCRAP COLLECTION requires UIC Dining Services and other food service vendors to implement programs that utilize compostable materials and expand composting in their operations by 2020. not applicable For projects with food service facilities, install composting bins for both back-of-the house operations, as well as to design space for front-of-the-house composting bins. Projects must also allocate space on the dock for enough composting totes to accommodate amount of food scraps generated daily.
5.3.2 FOOD RECOVERY addresses food insecurity in both the UIC and surrounding community by packaging, holding, and delivering hundreds of pounds of prepared but uneaten food daily. not applicable For projects with food service facilities, design a space to accommodate for food recovery including counter tops, room temperature storage space, and cold temperature storage space.
5.4.1 PURCHASING PROCESS requires UIC Purchasing to implement a sustainable purchasing checklist along with adding sustainability-related language to contracts and developing a communication plan. MR CREDIT: BUILDING PRODUCT DISCLOSURE AND OPTIMIZATION— ENVIRONMENTAL PRODUCT DECLARATIONS BD+C 1 point ID+C 1 point MR CREDIT: BUILDING PRODUCT DISCLOSURE AND OPTIMIZATION – SOURCING OF RAW MATERIALS BD+C 1 point (option 2) ID+C 1 point (option 2) MR CREDIT: BUILDING PRODUCT DISCLOSURE AND OPTIMIZATION – MATERIAL INGREDIENTS BD+C 1 point (option 2) ID+C 1 point (option 2) All items purchased with University funds must adhere to Section 2.1: Environmental Product Requirement of UIC Building Standards section 01 81 13 Sustainable Design Standards. BOTTLED WATER POLICY reduces departmental spending on bottled water by forbidding purchases of bottled water by all departments, unless clearly justified. not applicable Install filtered water bottle filling stations on every floor to provide an alternative to bottled water.
6.2.1 LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES utilizes educational signage around campus to highlight the environmental, social, and health benefits of various VCAS-directed sustainability projects as well as voicing aspirational ideas that evolve through faculty, staff, and student innovation to the Master Plan Working Group. IN CREDIT: Innovation: Green Building Education Install educational signage or kiosks both indoors and outdoors (if applicable) to educate building occupants of the sustainable features employed in the building. Signage must comply to the UIC Design Standards.
6.3.1 RESEARCH BEYOND CAMPUS provides seed funds for community-based participatory research to advance broader community and off-campus research as well as create a more nimble process to elevate and bring research discoveries to market. not applicable Design spaces to showcase the state-of-the-art research facilities and/ or individual laboratory spaces in order to highlight research discoveries from collaboration with off-campus partners.

Sample LEED® and SITES® Checklists for Projects at UIC

How Project Planning, Design and Construction will help acheive the CAIP

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Strategy 1.0 Energy Efficiency and Conservation

Energy efficiency and conservation initiatives present an enticing opportunity to both reduce GHG emissions and provide cost savings in energy and fuel-related expenditures for UIC. Buildings and the energy required to support them (electricity from the grid, onsite production, natural gas, etc.) accounts for most of UIC’s emissions (roughly 80% or 285,000 MTCO2e). UIC has reduced its overall Energy Use Intensity (Energy Used per Square Foot of built space) by 22% since FY 2004 and in this same period, total campus energy use was reduced by 26%. There are still many opportunities to implement increased energy efficiency measures on campus and capture savings.

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Strategy 2.0 Clean and Renewable Energy Sources

The procurement of cleaner and renewable-sourced energy provides a more reliable and resilient energy system, a lessened environmental impact, and improved public health. On-site renewable systems also provide educational opportunities for students and the broader community. UIC currently has a 106 kW PV rooftop system that generates approximately 120 MWh/year as well as an onsite geothermal system that provides 4,444 MMBtu of heating and cooling annually. UIC’s Utility operations runs its two power plants with cogeneration capabilities on campus that increases fuel efficiency by replacing separate processes that produce either electricity or thermal energy with a single process that provides both.

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Strategy 3.0 Reduced Transportation-Related Emissions

UIC’s transportation-related emission sources comprise a relatively small portion of total GHG emissions, but are difficult to address. Institutional structure and policies, individual behavior, and complex interactions between units present obstacles. Without addressing these barriers, emissions from the transportation sector will continue to grow given the expected population increase at UIC.

A rise in student and faculty/staff population is a welcomed trend, but will require comprehensive and collaborative strategies to offset GHG emissions from an increase in daily and business commuting. To reduce GHG emissions in this sector, UIC will need to modify many incentives and policies to better support more sustainable transportation.

UIC should prioritize pedestrians; support a connected network of safe and efficient bicycle-friendly routes and construct secure facilities to encourage bicycle commuting; and increase transit ridership by making transit an efficient and cost-effective option for all campus users.

If a project is likely to increase the number of people coming to campus note that providing additional parking may not be the only solution, demand management strategies should be considered.

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Strategy 4.0 Natural Systems and Ecosystem Services

UIC sits on an urban site; the present watershed and habitat differ from the natural habitat that existed here 200 years ago as part of the Lake Michigan watershed. Today, stormwater flows directly into the combined stormwater-sewer system. UIC has undertaken many steps to improve stormwater management on campus including developing strategies to reduce UIC’s stormwater runoff by 10% and calling for demonstration projects that increase awareness of and support for green infrastructure.

The area historically is considered a lake plain and a tallgrass prairie. Within a few acres of this prairie grassland ecosystem, there is the potential for hundreds of species of plants, bees, butterflies, snakes, salamanders, and meadowlarks. The predominant species on campus today are turf grasses, native and hardy perennials and grasses, as well as an urban tree canopy covering about 17% of all open space. As UIC continues to plant flowering perennials and native plants, insect pollinator activity will increase.

UIC has been a certified Tree Campus USA since 2011 and recently became the first official Bee Campus USA in Illinois, further displaying a commitment to protect and conserve natural resources, as well as addressing UIC’s Climate Commitment of enhanced Biodiversity. There remains plenty of room for improvement however, in addressing UIC’s Climate Commitment of Net Zero Water, in better conserving all natural resources.

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Strategy 5.0 Sustainable Materials and Reduced Waste Streams

UIC is committed to operating an efficient campus that is continually working towards eliminating waste. UIC’s Climate Commitment to be a Zero Waste Campus is a sustainable waste management system that emphasizes waste prevention as opposed to end-of-pipe waste management. It is a whole systems approach that aims for a massive change in the way materials flow through society, resulting in no waste.

UIC defines zero waste as a 90% diversion rate of landfill-bound material; through techniques such as source reduction, materials reuse, recycling, and composting. Zero waste systems prevent pollution and avoid costs associated with landfill disposal. It also reduces carbon emissions by diverting discarded materials from methane-generating landfills and avoids carbon emissions associated with extracting, processing, and transporting raw materials and waste. In implementing a Zero Waste Campus, UIC will significantly decrease its waste streams and environmental impact.

In addition to recycling and compost, UIC utilizes purchasing policies and vendor requirements that reduce waste going to landfill. There are a variety of new collection programs and the OS produced a Zero Waste Guide for events. The goal of the Recycling Program is to minimize waste by encouraging the conservation of resources.

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Strategy 6.0 Teaching & Learning

As a leading Research University, UIC is positioned well to educate undergraduate and graduate students in urban sustainable development and the challenges and opportunities for environmental, economic, and societal well-being in the 21st century and beyond. Many faculty are engaged in sustainability-related research, through various academic and research programs.

Two existing sets of actions for the advancement of sustainability teaching and learning at UIC include integration of the Aspirational Goals and Short-Term Action Items from the UIC Climate Commitments and the recommendations from the UIC Sustainability Strategic Thinking report “To Green and Beyond: Excellence through Sustainability at UIC”.