SEDAC Net Zero Project
Since 2022, IGEN has partnered with the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC) to administer the Net Zero Collaborative program. The Net Zero Collaborative program consists of education, resource development, and technical support for IGEN community colleges seeking to develop or enhance climate action plans. The goal of this collaborative is to help colleges develop a clear path towards achieving a net neutral carbon future.
IGEN’s goal of the “Expanding the Solar Workforce through the Illinois Community College System” grant project was to create and sustain a comprehensive, statewide strategy that equips education and training providers, workers, businesses, and communities with resources and tools to prepare a solar workforce. As Illinois is a recognized leader in the development of career pathways, the overarching framework for the grant and job-training and workforce development was through career pathways. Participating colleges included City Colleges of Chicago, Kankakee Community College, Lincoln Land Community College, Lewis and Clark Community College, and John A Logan College.
Building IQ and Connexion Energy-Saving Solution
This one-year pilot program, launched in September 2016, was a partnership between IGEN and Building IQ and Connexion to test drive energy-saving solutions at Illinois community colleges reducing energy consumption by 10-25%.
Beginning in 2016, IGEN began hosted smart grid summits throughout the state to convene stakeholders in the renewable energy and smart grid sector and form partnerships with other organizations to advance and promote the development and use of smart grid and distributed energy generation in Illinois. Smart Grid training equipment was installed at eight (8) community colleges.
Green Economy Consortia
In 2013, IGEN created six (6) Green Economy Consortia to focus on six statewide green economic development opportunities in Illinois: Freshwater Resources; Community Food Systems; Clean Energy; Building Energy Efficiency; Advanced Manufacturing; and Electric Vehicles and Biofuels. Illinois community college sustainability centers served as coordination points for these consortia. Participating colleges met biweekly to advance their goals, develop shared performance indicators, discuss their progress, and most importantly, learn from each other and align their efforts to support each other.
In 2014, IGEN worked with Illinois community colleges to install sub meters and building energy dashboards on campuses to access energy consumption data, increase occupant awareness of energy use, save energy and impact behavior change for energy efficiency.
Behavior Change for Energy Efficiency
From 2011 – 2015, IGEN has led Community College Energy Management and Training programs that provide a coordinated approach to offering behavior change and energy conservation opportunities to Illinois community colleges. Four colleges – JALC, Prairie State, SWIC, and CLC – participated in a pilot program to reduce energy consumption in a targeted building on their campuses. IGEN funded energy dashboards to monitor gas and electricity consumption, and a campaign developed by each college to educate building occupants on how behavior change can reduce energy use.
Energy Efficiency Lighting Aggregation Program
In 2014 IGEN was awarded one year of grant funds from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO to provide lighting and lighting control upgrade incentives for Illinois community colleges that operate within the Ameren utility service territory. This applied to all exterior and interior lighting upgrades. Five colleges participated, receiving $153,368 in incentives, resulting in 587,596 KWh savings.
Campuses as Living Laboratories
In 2014, IGEN hosted a Campus as Living Laboratories workshop for community stakeholders, and college faculty and staff on the eight elements of building a campus living lab.
Measure of Success Dashboard Program
To conserve energy resources, IGEN implemented a real-time analytics program to measure energy consumption and efficiency on Illinois community college campuses. With Measure of Success, facility managers will be able to access and share information and best practices within their own college systems as well as with colleagues across the state.
Great EV Road Rally
To celebrate the successes being made by the state and community colleges to expand green transportation opportunities and highlight the work that still needs to be done to realize a functional statewide EV infrastructure, 11 Illinois Community Colleges participated in an Electric Vehicle Road Trip from June 23-26, 2014. Starting at John A. Logan College in Carterville traveling in a relay over 450 miles, stopping at 11 Colleges and including a stop at the state capitol in Springfield, the trip ended at the northernmost “charged” community college, the College of Lake County.
Campus Conservation Nationals Competition
From 2014-2015, nine IGEN college participated in the nationwide Campus Conservation Nationals Competition, the largest electricity and water reduction competition program for colleges and universities in the world. The goals of CCN were to foster a culture of conservation on campus, propel sustainability initiatives, teach students conservation behaviors, and achieve measurable reduction in energy use.
IGEN worked to connect the sustainability movement and the concept of resilient communities with our community colleges. IGEN worked with the local municipalities to help position them as economically and environmentally vibrant centers of self-reliance.
International Energy Codes Training
IGEN funded energy codes education training for building industry professionals at 19 host colleges. Twenty-four training events were held with 866 participants.
IGEN Greening Your Curriculum Program
The GYC program was developed by an IGEN workgroup consisting of sustainability professionals at multiple colleges. The program was created to support and encourage faculty, in any discipline, to integrate core sustainability principles into existing curriculum. A GYC Best Practices for Facilitators document was developed to train GYC facilitators on campuses how to teach faculty to infuse sustainability concepts into curriculum as well as how to model green practices in the classroom, and to provide Greening Your Curriculum modules and resources for faculty.
Equipment Loan Program
IGEN worked with seven (7) colleges to manage The Illinois Home Performance Equipment Loan Program. The program allows eligible home performance professionals to enhance and hone their skills by making energy evaluation equipment available for use at no charge.
Weatherization Task Force
In 2011, 10 colleges collaborated to create a report to assist community colleges wishing to design, build and maintain effective training programs that will lead students to employment in the fields of weatherization, home performance, and residential energy efficiency industries. The report covered industry concerns, growth projections, certifications and standards, and types of successful training programs.
Task Force Slideshow
Illinois Power Pack Program
IGEN has worked with several regional partners to bring the Power Pack program to Illinois. The program is a community-based solar market development program designed to target communities to provide education and resources to simplify the process for commercial, municipal, and residential solar photovoltaic installations.
Solar for Schools
IGEN partnered with Illinois State University’s Center for Renewable Energy to implement the Solar for Schools program. The purpose of the program was to match college faculty with middle and high school teachers to aid them in incorporating solar energy lessons into their classrooms.