Energy Conservation Technologies

With more than 600 buildings across the campus, the energy used for lighting rapidly becomes a factor in the university’s energy usage. Thanks to two major initiatives, the campus has made great strides in energy-efficient lighting.

LED Technology

Illinois’ relationship with light emitting diode (LED) technology goes back decades to when the inventor of the first practical visible-spectrum LED, alumnus Nick Holonyak, Jr. (shown above), joined the faculty in 1963.

Illinois has committed to becoming the first major research university to use the technology as its primary source of all lighting by 2050. This transformation began in 2008 with exit signs, and by 2011 included a Big Ten collaboration to reduce energy consumption in parking lots. Each year, hundreds of LEDs are installed in campus buildings ranging from cattle barns to engineering labs, classrooms to residence halls, and museums to sports facilities. Funding for these projects has come from the Office of the Provost and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. 

Campus’ LED commitments are reflected in the Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP) with a clear direction for implementation. Additionally the university encourages research and development to expand LED technology applications by using campus facilities as living-learning laboratories.

T-8 Fluorescents

The Campus Lighting Retrofit Project replaced older T-12 fluorescent lamps and ballasts with T-8 fixtures. These fixtures use 40 percent less energy and avoid more than $2.1M in energy costs annually.

Energy Recovery Systems

University laboratories must bring in significant amounts of outdoor air to provide proper ventilation for many research processes. However, doing so can greatly increase building energy use for heating and cooling. Energy recovery systems add a portion of the building’s already heated or cooled, clean exhaust air to its incoming outdoor air. This reduces the building’s overall heating and cooling load. These projects have been installed with campus’ Deferred Maintenance program and energy grant incentives.

Related Providers

Utilities & Energy Services

Utilities & Energy Services (UES) is continuously upgrading to provide safe, reliable, environmentally compliant, cost-effective energy and other utilities to support campus.

Tour group at Abbott Power Plant