Energy Conservation Technologies

Lighting Retrofit


The Campus Lighting Retrofit Project replaces old, outdated T12 fluorescent lamps and ballasts with state-of-the-art T8 systems that are 40% more efficient. To date, the lamps and ballasts of 147K light fixtures have been replaced on campus, with $2.1M cost avoidance per year. The project was funded with grants from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), and from the student Academic Facilities Maintenance Fee Assessment and Student Sustainability Council.

The overall campus goal is to replace the majority of campus lighting with LED lighting  by 2050. Several innovative programs are underway on campus promoting the use of LEDs. The university’s transformation to an LED campus began with a chancellor’s initiative in 2012 and includes the upgrade of all interior way-finding fixtures and exterior lighting to be completed by FY25. 

One of those things, I’m happy to say, is to deliver on a pledge to become the first major research university to commit to LED technology as its major source of lighting. This will make us the first LED university campus in the United States, with interior and exterior way-finding fixtures to be replaced by 2025 and with the majority of all lighting to be LED by 2050.” – Chancellor Phyllis M. Wise, October 14, 2012.

LED Lighting

LED LightingIn 1962, Professor Emeritus and University of Illinois alumnus Nick Holonyak Jr. invented the first practical visible-spectrum light emitting diode (LED). Today, the Urbana campus has implemented several innovative projects promoting the use of LED lighting with the goal of replacing the majority of all lighting by 2050. This transformation began in 2008 with campus exit signs and will continue through the upgrade of all interior and exterior way-finding fixtures by 2025.

By achieving the following goals, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will continue its leadership in the development of LED technology and fulfill its mission of becoming the first major research university to commit to LED technology as its major source of lighting.  

Goals for Establishing an LED Campus 
  1. Demonstrate preference for LED lighting.  
    At Illinois, Facility Standards will clearly state that LED lighting is preferred for all appropriate applications.
  2. Commitment to implement LED lighting throughout campus.
    Illinois will replace all exterior fixtures and interior way-finding fixtures by 2025.  By 2050, the majority of all campus lighting will be LED.
  3. LED commitments will be reflected in the Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP).
    Illinois’ commitment to LEDs will be included in the iCAP, with clear direction for implementation.
  4. LED technology expansion and adaptation using campus facilities.
    Illinois will encourage research and development to expand the application of LED technology through clinical trials using the campus facilities as a living-learning laboratory. 
  • Current LED Projects

  • Completed LED Projects

Energy Recovery Systems

University facilities typically require a significant volume of outdoor air ventilation in accordance with ASHRAE standards. This requires substantial amounts of energy to keep the occupied space at the proper temperature. One of the ways to offset this energy requirement is the use of energy recovery systems (ERS) that minimize the amount of overall energy necessary for a system by transferring energy expenditures from one subsystem to another subsystem.   The Deferred Maintenance (DM) program has successfully integrated many energy recovery systems when replacing deteriorated air-handling units in existing facilities. Several projects, both DM and new, have received energy grant incentives to reduce energy consumption through this technology.

Two Energy Recovery Wheels