Loyola University Chicago

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Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Environmental Sustainability

Energy Use

Loyola pushes the boundary of what a University can do with new buildings and its shrinking energy footprint. We aspire to be a "net-zero" energy campus through massive conservation efforts, renewable energy installations and living greenroofs.

Energy use on the Lake Shore Campus has been reduced by 50% in just 10 years, saving the University over $2 million per year in energy costs. Loyola's smart infrastructure is sustainable infrastructure.

Take a deeper look at the sustainability features of some of Loyola's buildings:

LEED-Certified Buildings

Loyola has committed all new construction & renovations, where possible, to at least a Silver rating through the US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard. Current LEED certified buildings include the Klarchek Information Commons and Cuneo Hall.

The University's Richard J. Klarchek Information Commons is LEED Silver certified, using a double-skin facade for passive management of heat flow and natural ventilation—a first in Chicago. Additional design includes a vast array of innovative environmentally friendly technology and recycled materials.

One of Loyola's newest buildings, Cuneo Hall, is a cutting-edge, high-performance academic center designed to be highly energy efficient. Cuneo Hall highlights:

  • 60% greater energy efficiency than similar buildings due to mechanical, electrical, and plumbing features.
  • Use of daylight to save money on lighting costs and improve the learning environment.
  • Operable windows and the main atrium design allow natural ventilation with a room-by-room user interface.
  • Advanced radiant in-ceiling system provides additional heating and cooling in classrooms.
  • High performance exterior includes advanced technology with a traditional appearance that compliments and fits into the original campus plans.

New Construction Projects

Opening in Fall 2013, the Institute of Environmental Sustainability is the latest in Loyola's fleet of high-performing buildings. Starting with the Klarchek Information Commons and continued with Cuneo Hall, the Niehoff Nursing School, the Damen Student Union, and DiNobli Hall, Loyola is exploring how green buildings can support a premiere educational experience. Loyola is committed to integrating sustainability throughout the curriculum, culture, and campus in the built and intellectual infrastructure of the university.

The IES will be an innovative, interactive, and adaptable sustainable living and learning environment; and provide both a prototype and a demonstration of the opportunities for innovation and integration that an urban academic/residential setting provides. As part of the extension of the campus south of W. Sheridan Rd, IES will act as a link between the academic campus and the new sophomore and freshmen residential area, and create a unique identity for the South Campus. The center will be a working laboratory, where a diverse population of Loyola University students, researchers, and community members will participate in ongoing experiment in innovation and environmental stewardship.

IES is not only a building but it is a new academic unit merging the Environmental Science Department, the Office of Sustainability, the Center for Urban Environmental Research and Policy, and the academic programs of the Retreat and Ecology Campus.

Additional new constructon projects include:

  • Alumni Student Union, the Center for Sustainable Urban Living and DiNobli and San Francisco residence halls, will all be LEED certified when completed in the coming months and years.
  • Aaron Durnbaugh, Director of Sustainability, presented a poster at the 2012 AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education) conference, entitled: "New Construction as Inspiration for Energy Efficiency Retrofits: Loyola's Dumbach and Cuneo Hall".

Existing Buildings and Retrofits

Through a collaboration between Solomon Cordwell Buenz (architects), Argonne National Laboratory (building science), Elara Engineering (mechanical and electrical engineering), and Loyola, Dumbach Hall was retrofitted to achieve at least 30% improvement in energy performance. One of the primary goals of the Dumbach Hall project was to provide a new framework to conceptualize energy improvements for existing buildings. The inspiration was Cuneo Hall, a new high performance academic building achieving a 50% energy performance improvement beyond ASHRAE 90.1-2004, an energy efficiency code. The two buildings are similar in layout, size and use so they were ideal for this investigation.

Using the concepts and strategies from Cuneo and the historic Dumbach Hall the team conducted a comparative study of the various energy efficiency strategies. This study included extensive energy modeling and cost estimating to compare the relative merits of suites of improvements. The team also analyzed Dumbach to find unique opportunities for energy savings.

View the full Dumbach Hall Project Report.

Energy-Efficient Designs Plus Renewables

Several other LUC buildings employ sustainable technologies but have not gone through the LEED Certification process.

  • The Michael R. and Marilyn C. Quinlan Life Sciences Education and Research Center is equipped with motion sensor lighting, a green roof, a southern exposure with many windows that maximize solar thermal heat gain in the winter and angled sun visors to reduce solar thermal heat gain in the summer.
  • Smart infrastructure such as building automation for ventilation and motion sensors on lighting features.
  • A Demand Response Program allows the university to reduce power consumption during times of peak use thereby resulting in money savings from electricity utility.
  • Photovoltaics at Cudahy Library roof: Live PV data from the arrays show how much clean energy Loyola is generating from the Cudahy photovoltaics. Data is updated every 30 seconds.
  • Geothermal heating and cooling for the future Institutue of Environmental Sustainability.
  • Solar powered flashing stop signs on campus.
  • Battery-powered campus service vehicles.
  • Retrofit of the Lake Shore Central Power Plant Chiller, making it over 90% efficient.
  • Phased decentralization of the steam plant to campus zones of very efficient hot water boilers.

Student Conservation Programs

Student groups are actively promoting conservation among the student body through workshops and seminars, CFL lightbulb distributions and daily life in residence halls. Here are a few highlights:

  • The Biodiesel Program continues to be a student designed, student driven program. All aspects of the program from biodiesel fuel production and equipment design, to project management and brainstorming are run in part by Loyola student fellowship recipients.  Student volunteers assist in all aspects of the biodiesel production, oil collection, and waste processing.
  • In 2011, students organized a 350.org event at the Loyola Lake Shore Campus to raise awareness on climate change.
  • Student Environmental Alliance, Hillel and Muslim Student Groups conduct an annual Light Bulb Exchange in which incandescent bulbs are exchanged for energy-efficient CFL bulbs.
  • Each year students attend the large Power Shift conference and rally in Washington, D.C., a campaign by young people urging action on climate and energy.

Net-Zero Energy Campus: Loyola Retreat and Ecology Campus

The Retreat and Ecology Campus located in McHenry County, Illinois is poised to harness clean-energy technology and dramatically reduce its carbon footprint with the goal of running the entire campus on renewable energy.

Working to implement clean-energy plans and achieve a net-zero energy status through energy efficiency and renewable energy, the University is setting out to accomplish three important goals for the campus:

  • Energy-efficiency retrofits for the north and south wings of the existing building, including mechanical equipment, insulation, and new windows. This would reduce current energy use by 60 percent and recoup improvement costs within 15 years.
  • Geothermal energy system to heat and cool the building through the use of 64 wells that are each 450 feet deep.
  • Combining renewable energy systems to include solar thermal energy, photovoltaic panels, and a wind turbine would provide the additional 40 percent of energy needed by the building and would make LUREC the only carbon-neutral campus of its kind in the Chicago metro area.

This ambitious plan is already in progress. Simple, obvious improvements have been implemented such as improved insulation, replacement of single-paned windows and replacement of inefficient HVAC systems. We are in the process of planning the renewable installations, including photovoltaic solar panels, solar thermal, a wind turbine and ground loop geothermal, which will cover all energy needs for the campus. Below is a sample of the plan to become a "net-zero" energy campus.

Earth Hour

Each year Loyola participates, since its inception, in the global program Earth Hour. The campus community unites in the collective work for everyone to be mindful of energy consumption.

  • Students gather on the shores of Lake Michigan to observe the dimming of campus lights
  • Students hold candle-light gatherings on outdoor campus locations
  • Reducing the energy load in the residence halls, students and RAs take the time to gather


Institute of Environmental Sustainability
Loyola University Chicago · 1032 W. Sheridan Road
Chicago, IL 60660 · Phone: 773-508-2130 · IES@luc.edu

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