Energy Conservation

UES sustainability initiatives have led to significant energy savings across the campus. In 2010, as part of the Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP), the university stated a goal of reducing energy use in buildings by 20% by FY15, as well as reaching a level of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Through the implementation of centralized conservation programs, the university surpassed its FY15 goals and is now working toward a 30% reduction by FY25.

Energy Usage Trend graph9192016

The award-winning Retrocommissioning (RCx) program plays a large part in F&S energy conservation success. This is followed by the breakthrough Energy Performance Contracting (EPC), which monetizes future energy cost reductions to fund conservation projects upfront. Additional centralized programs include the Energy Conservation Incentive Program (ECIP), lighting retrofits, the use of LED lighting, energy recovery systems, and LEED certification programs.

Energy Alerts

Annual campus utility rates are partly determined by how much energy we are using at the exact moment usage across our regional electric grid reaches its annual peak, typically in July between the hours of 2 and 6 p.m. Although Abbott Power Plant generates approximately half of our campus electricity needs, we must purchase the remainder from the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (MISO) grid. Reducing our energy consumption during the peak, reduces the capacity charge MISO assesses the campus for the coming year.

F&S periodically issues energy alert messaging to the Urbana campus through Massmail whenever a peak load is anticipated or emergency conditions arise.

During these times we encourage you to:

  • Turn off lights when leaving a room
  • Turn off window AC units in unused spaces
  • Keep windows and doors closed in conditioned areas
  • Unplug any non-essential equipment and delay battery charging
  • Shut down computers/printers when not in use (check with IT staff first as to best practices)
  • Close fume hood sashes when not in use
  • Adjust thermostats to a more efficient setting


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Together we can “Beat the Peak”, reducing campus energy costs and meeting our climate commitments. You can find more energy conservation tips from F&S’ Energy Conservation Incentive Program in this factsheet.

Real-time Regional Grid Updates
Real-time load forecast data is available from the MISO.