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Happy, and sustainable, 2022!

Welcome back to campus and a sustainable 2022! We hope this new year finds you rested and RECHARGED to pursue your sustainability goals for the year. In this issue, we focus on energy-related initiatives including energy conservation on campus, equitable clean energy job training at the City Colleges, and some steps you can take to consider energy use in your home and clean energy alternatives. 

For this year we are also going to try something new. Starting in February, we will have hidden a clue in the newsletter and if you can find it and figure out the answer, the Office of Sustainability will have a prize waiting for you. We will try to have one of these "easter eggs" hidden in each of our newsletters going forward. Have fun!   

"The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are." - J. Pierpont Morgan
As Seen On Campus

This month we would like to feature our overall approach to energy management in buildings and an overlooked, and underfoot,  set of energy strategies. Our Strategic Energy Management system includes the construction of new, high-performing buildings, deep retrofits of existing, and sometimes historic, buildings, and the use of technology and user behavior to optimize our energy use for everyone’s benefit.  

LEED-certified buildings

Loyola has committed all new construction & renovations to a sustainability rating through the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard. 

  • LEED Silver: Information Commons, Norville Athletic Center, Damen Student Center, de Nobili Residence Hall, Alfie Center, Halas Recreation Center Addition
  • LEED Gold: Cuneo Hall, Marcella Neihoff School of Nursing, School of Environmental Sustainability, Schreiber Center, Center for Translational Research and Education, St. Joseph’s Residence Hall
Natural Ventilation Strategies 
Buildings on all three campuses utilize design and engineering approaches that provide ventilation and heating/cooling energy with minimal mechanical energy. These passive or “natural” ventilation approaches use the physics of air movement and heat exchange to save energy. You can learn more about the specific design intent for the following buildings; Schreiber Center (WTC), Information Commons (LSC), Institute of Environmental Sustainability/San Francisco Hall (LSC), Francis Hall (LSC), Cuneo Hall (LSC), Center for Translational Research (HSC). Tall buildings like Schreiber Center and Cuneo Hall use the “stack” or “chimney” effect for warmer rising air to draw in the fresh air, while the Information Commons and Francis Hall utilize cross ventilation when the temperature outside is what is needed inside of the building. Smart systems that constantly measure air temperature, humidity levels, air quality, and weather manage these systems to keep occupants comfortable and buildings operating smoothly.

Green Laboratories

When we consider the footprint of our activities at Loyola, one of the most resource-intense activities are those connected with our laboratories.  From the chemicals that we use, to the waste we produce, to the energy we consume, labs play a significant role and are a great opportunity to be more thoughtful with our practices and policies. 

Demand Response

Loyola participates in a demand response program to reduce energy consumption during peak energy events. Upon receiving a prompt from our electricity grid operator, Loyola automatically and manually reduces energy consumption to reduce the overall demand on the grid. This not only provides capacity on the system for critical energy systems it also reduces the need for seldom used, but often the most polluting, “peaker” plants to be turned on. For providing this service to the grid, Loyola receives payments that help reduce utility costs and keep our electricity system functioning and cleaner.

Geothermal Energy

Many of those that frequent the Lake Shore Campus know about the geothermal system that provides heating and cooling energy for the Institute of Environmental Sustainability and San Francisco Hall, but did you know we have another very large system at the Retreat and Ecology Campus? For both systems, water is circulated through a system of underground pipes, some as deep as 500’ underground, to exchange heat with the ground and ground water. In our locations, the ground stays a fairly consistent 58 degrees Fahrenheit a few feet underground and for miles deep. We can use that temperature in the winter to heat our buildings and take heat out of our buildings in the summer by using the system in reverse. These systems rely on heat pumps for this energy exchange and to increase that temperature to the comfortable 68-72 degrees we have as our standard for winter heating. These systems save 30% on the costs of heating and cooling our facilities and don’t require combustion of fossil energy sources like natural gas for heating.

S-I-Y! (Sustain it Yourself!)

New year = new tips to reduce your environmental footprint!

Did you know that the carbon cost of a single email can be up to 50g? In fact, one years’ worth of emails rounds up to 0.6 tonnes of CO2e! And while email is considered a more environmentally-friendly option compared to paper letters, it is still a good idea to take some simple steps to reduce our footprint:

  • Unsubscribe from emails or newsletters you are not intending to read. You can do that manually or use special services;
  • Clean up your junk/spam folder (and do so regularly!);
  • Delete the unnecessary emails 

If you want to go further and adopt energy-saving habits this year, check out our list of things you can do as a Loyola student or employee. 

 Alumni Spotlight

For this month’s Alumni Spotlight we talked to Stacey Paradis (BA in political science '92), who is the Executive Director of Midwestern Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA). For the past six years, she has been responsible for overseeing the operations of MEEA’s 25 person staff and $6+ million budget.

What is your current position and how did Loyola prepare you for your career?
I am currently the Executive Director of the organization called the Midwestern Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA). We are one of six regional efficiency organizations recognized by the Department of Energy. We have 25 staff, our budget varies between $3-6 million annually. I have worked at this organization since 2008, and I have been Executive Director for the last 6 years. My degree at Loyola was Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, I also have a masters degree from George Washington University in Washington DC in Public Administration. Prior to coming to MEEA, I did corporate and organizational lobbying. In my career, I worked for Capitol Hill for a member of Congress, the Australian Embassy, the Chicago Chamber of Commerce, Orbitz, and the National YMCA.

What role does MEEA play in solving the climate crisis?
Our organization is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We are a collaborative network, promoting energy efficiency to optimize energy generation, reduce consumption, create jobs, and decrease carbon emissions in all Midwest communities. The vision for our organization is to seek an achievable pathway for all people and communities in the Midwest to receive the economic, environmental, and societal benefits of energy efficiency and the larger clean energy economy. In our mind, energy efficiency is the pathway to the clean energy future. Obviously, the biggest thing with energy efficiency is that the cheapest possible power is the one you don’t use. From that perspective, it’s very important, because it’s going to reduce consumption overall. But I think a bigger thing that’s happening with the climate crisis is also recognition of the underserved communities that have been left behind: be it the environmental justice communities or rural communities that really haven’t had the benefit of a lot of energy efficiency programs coming in. Additionally, all those investments in energy efficiency create a lot of local jobs. It really does create a career path, and that’s for people with just a high school degree all the way for folks that have advanced degrees.

What advice do you have for students as they look for future careers or future programs to apply for?
I think education is incredibly important, but hands-on experience is also very important. It’s amazing that people have the opportunity to just go to school, but I think it’s great if you can combine going to school with some jobs to understand how things work together. The other thing that I would share with people is that the world is a very small place. So maintaining relationships, building a network is incredibly important. The other thing, which I think is very tied to Loyola and Jesuit Order and interest in service, is there is a volunteer component to everything that we do in our lives. I think giving of your time is also very important. It helps you from a professional perspective because relationships and networks are very beneficial. But it’s always important to give back and it’s always important to share experiences with others because what we don’t want to have to do is reinvent the wheel and do things over and over again. It’s so much better to share those best practices, share those kinds of experiences. And in my opinion, the most important thing to share is the lessons learned.

*This interview was transcribed from a Zoom interview between Anastassiya Goncharova and Stacey Paradis and has been edited for length 

Follow the link for more information
Pass the Mic
This month we are passing the mic to the City Colleges of Chicago. We talked to John Brophy, Director of Sustainability and Energy Management, about City College's sustainability and energy efficiency projects. 
What are some sustainable energy initiatives of the City Colleges?
We’ve got seven colleges that are the City Colleges of Chicago: Harold Washington, Harry S Truman, Kennedy-King, Malcolm X, Olive-Harvey, Richard J Daley, and Wilbur Wright. We also have around seven satellite campuses. In terms of building, we’ve completed three pretty large capital projects in the past nine years, and everything we’ve built satisfies the LEED Gold standard. On the energy side, we are building automation systems, upgrading chillers, boilers, air handling units. In Malcolm X we’ve got about $100 million worth of grants for a lot of our energy efficiency upgrades. On the academic side, City Colleges have a lot going on. We teach a lot of what some people call vocational or applied engineering classes. We have an HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) program at Kennedy-King, we’ve got a Construction Management program, a Carpentry program, Overhead Line Program for ComEd workers, Pipelines for the natural gas, plumbing, electrician, welding, automotive - anything you can use your hands to do. I think that’s an underutilized component of City Colleges.  Because how are you going to solve the climate crisis when you’ve got an 80% efficient furnace and an 85% efficient furnace and you don’t know the difference?

What is the role of students in those initiatives?
At City Colleges we’ve got the Student Trustee system, where a student is a member of the Board of Trustees. Students are not only talking and representing but actually voting. The leadership of our environmental club is also genuine leaders. In January, we are making a big announcement that we’re doing a free annual pass for Divvy bikes for all of our students. A few years back we’ve also added a part-time student U-Pass, which is something our students fought for for years. Students really drive decision-making on larger initiatives, like part-time student U-Pass and now Divvy. They’ve expanded Divvy to all parts of the city, and we are going to get a Divvy station at Olive-Harvey College, which is far South-Side. Olive-Harvey didn’t have a sidewalk or a bike lane, so CDOT had to build a protective bike lane and then install a Divvy station. When Divvy first started, students got a $10 off discount, and then it became a $25 discount, and now that the annual membership is covered it’s like a $108 annual discount.

What are the City Colleges energy transition goals in the nearest future?
The big goal now is to electrify everything. We’ve had some interesting goals for a while. At first, we wanted to get to 100% REC offset, and we did it for the last four years. It got us ranked in the Top 25 colleges with 100% renewable energy offset. We could afford to do that because our renewable energy credit is 1 MWh of electricity produced from a renewable energy resource. That previously cost 25c/REC, so we were able to offset 55,000 MWh a year. By the time we got to 100%, it became 50c/REC, so it cost us $25-26k. And it jumped to $1/REC, so it became $60k. And then it got to $2/REC, so $120k. And now it’s $4-5/REC, and we are not doing it anymore due to the cost. So we keep thinking about what’s next. While I would say that the goal is to electrify everything, it wasn’t the goal until this year. As an institution, we are not there yet, because with our tuition of $2k per semester we really do not have a budget for it. But we see an opportunity for transition, especially with our aspiring students.

*This interview was transcribed from a Zoom interview between Anastassiya Goncharova and John Brophy and has been edited for length 

Upcoming Events

January 26, 3-4 pm
Learning About Utility-Scale Solar Farms (Online)
Come and chat with Dr. Michaud and his research group at Loyola University who have been selected for a U.S Department of Energy grant to research the impacts utility-scale solar projects have on rural economies, as well as get to talk with the student researchers and learn what future projects entail. Meeting ID: 8857791 3315 (Zoom)

March 14-19
LUC 2022 Virtual Climate Change Conference
Save the date! Loyola’s annual Climate Change Conference is going to take place on March 14-18, 2022. This year’s topic is The Intersection of Climate Change, Human Health, and Justice. The details on the complete schedule of events are to follow.

March 14-19

LUC 2022 Virtual Climate Change Conference - Poster Session
The conference committee seeks submissions from faculty, staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students attending the virtual conference for poster presentations, artwork, and other innovative presentations that explore climate change and its myriad effects. This is your chance to share your work as it relates to environmental science, climate change, and other sustainability-related issues. Submission details can be accessed here. The deadline is on February 14.

All times listed are Central time zone

Office of Sustainability – Energy Audit Paid Internships

The Office of Sustainability is supporting the Facilities Department and our consulting engineers in collecting information for energy use and efficiency at the Water Tower and Health Science Campuses. Full description and requirements can be found here

Application Deadline: January 31, 2022

Culture Corner
10 Wacky Forms of Alternative Energy
An article by HowStuffWorks

We all know about the "traditional" sources of renewable energy like solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal. But did you know that some gyms are using human energy to convert it into power? Read more to find out about this and other ideas of wacky alternative energy. 
The Energy Gang
A podcast

Weekly discussions about the latest trends in energy, cleantech, renewables, and the environment from Wood Mackenzie. Each episode is approximately 45-50 minutes long.
Coldplay's 2022 Eco-friendly World Tour

Check out Coldplay's innovative ideas to make their Music of the Spheres World Tour more sustainable. Focused on reducing their CO2 emissions, their initiatives include a kinetic floor that converts fans' movements into energy, plant-based LED wristbands, free drinking water, and more. 
SustainLoyola is brought to you by Loyola’s Office of Sustainability, housed in the School of Environmental Sustainability. To contact us please email

Office of Sustainability
School Of Environmental Sustainability
1032 W. Sheridan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60660


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