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Initiatives and Action Plans

Now that IIT has established a vision and commitments toward becoming a sustainable campus, we have begun to develop action plans to identify how we will get from here to there.

The Office of Campus Energy and Sustainability (OCES) is coordinating an effort among students, faculty and staff to define the specific actions, programs and policy changes IIT will make in order to reach the targeted commitments that will define IIT as the most sustainable urban university campus in the United States.

Over the course of the spring 2010 semester, we will publish brief updates from each of the groups working on the action plans.  If you are interested in working directly on any one of the action plans, please contact the Office of Campus Energy and Sustainability at campussustainability@iit.edu.

Energy

The Energy Management Action Plan and Policies will detail both projects and programs geared toward improving energy efficiency and increasing the use of renewable sources, and the university policies necessary to integrate a culture of efficiency into IIT campus operations into both administration and the IIT community as a whole.

Emissions

IIT operations directly causes the emissions of over 23,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions into the atmosphere every year. These emissions, combined with laboratory and process emissions, make IIT a source of harmful pollutants. The Emissions Action Plan will identify strategies for reducing emissions, capturing emissions at the source, and changing processes to avoid emissions in the first place.

Transportation

Employees of the university need to travel to campus each day, and frequently the students of IIT who live on campus want to leave to explore the city around us. Additionally, our students, faculty and staff travel regionally, nationally and internationally to present scholarly research or compete athletically and promote the university. All of this travel currently carries environmental impact which must be mitigated. The Transportation Action Plan will discuss how we integrate with regional infrastructure to improve our daily impact, while recommending policy and infrastructure changes to mitigate or eliminate the damage from all forms of travel.

Stormwater/Landscape

IIT’s campus is recognized for its historical significance and its beauty. Unfortunately, few recognize the impact that our stormwater management has on the regional ecology. IIT not only sends most of the rainwater that falls on campus away to the Mississippi River through the regional stormwater infrastructure, we import an additional 34,000,000 gallons of water from Lake Michigan and send it to the Mississippi River as well. The Stormwater/Landscape Action Plan will bridge the gap between beauty and function to identify how IIT can reconnect with the existing watershed while maintaining the vibrant beauty of the campus.

Supply Chain Management

The purchasing of products carries several environmental impacts, from the creation of the product to its transportation to the packaging used to contain it. A holistic approach to sustainability will identify the necessary number and amount of products necessary to meet the core mission, while promoting and tracking practices among vendors that at worst minimize environmental impact, and at best restore our environment to one that we can sustain. The Supply Chain Management Action Plan will identify a path to incorporating environmental requirements into purchasing while managing material inputs to reduce waste.

Green Buildings

Over ninety percent of our time at the university is spent indoors, and maintaining a quality built environment is critical to achieving our core academic and scholarship mission. The Green Building Action Plan will review recognized building standards and recommend best practices the university should follow in the building, operating and maintaining of the structures in a way that improves the interior environment for the occupant and minimizes impact on the exterior environment in which we all live.

Food

Food and water sustain life. Providing high-quality food service to the campus is a significant responsibility for university operations, and one that carries several environmental impacts. The Sustainable Food Action Plan will be developed in conjunction with our food service partners to identify the improvements that are necessary in the purchase, preparation and service of food to meet the goals of the Campus Sustainability Vision.