Housing Sustainability Initiatives

A commitment to responsible stewardship of resources and sustainable practices is built into the fabric of University Housing. From everyday acts such as recycling and coffee ground collection, to LEED-certified construction and goals in our strategic planning, we strive to make sustainability an integral part of our department and a focal point in future decision-making.

2015 Governor's Sustainability Award

University Housing was awarded a Governor's Sustainability Award on October 27, 2015. The Governor’s Awards recognize organizations in Illinois that have demonstrated a commitment to environmental excellence through outstanding and innovative sustainability. The University of Illinois one of only 19 companies and organizations awarded; it was the university's first time receiving an Illinois Governor's Sustainability Award. 


University Housing residents are encouraged to recycle to help reduce waste in our communities. Read more on the recycling page.

LEED Certification

University Housing's newest construction is being built to meet LEED gold certification. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) organization provides a rating system to certify buildings for their commitment to environmental sustainability. Our workers use low-VOC materials (improving indoor air quality), utilize local materials whenever possible, and recycle materials to reduce landfill waste. LEED certification on new construction

Sustainability Living-Learning Community

Located in the Lincoln Avenue Residence Halls, the Sustainability Living-Learning community welcomes students to learn about the diverse aspects of sustainability while living among their peers. Sustainability LLC website

Water Savings

Housing Facilities has installed 50 glass fillers and 3 bottle filling stations in the last year which currently has saved more than 16,000 water bottles from being purchased.

Green Dining

Read about our numerous award-winning green dining initiatives. Some of these include:

Trayless Operations

All of our residential dining locations are trayless. Trayless dining means less wasted food, less wasted energy from washing trays, and substantial water savings.  

Waste Reduction

Dining Services is a participant in the EPA Food Recovery Challenge. According to the Recovery Challenge website, "Participants agree to reduce, donate, and/or compost wasted food, and to set annual waste diversion goals."

Ikenberry Dining Hall composts biodegradable pre-consumer waste.

Local Foods

University Housing Dining Services uses locally grown or produced products as often as possible.  

  • Dining services utilizes 95 percent of all produce grown at the Sustainable Student Farm
  • 600,000 gallons of milk produced at the University is used by Dining Services
  • 70 percent of pork products served are produced in Rantoul, IL
  • Meat Science Department provides over 20,000 pounds of beef annually
  • 100 percent of coffee purchased is from a Champaign-based company


100 percent of our used dining hall fryer oil is converted to biodiesel to fuel campus vehicles.

Coffee Grounds Repurposing

With assistance from the Student Sustainability Committee, University Housing is now directing 100 percent of used coffee grounds from disposal. These grounds can be used as fertilizer in gardens and as a source of nitrogen in composting. Most grounds are provided to the Sustainable Student Farm for vermicomposting, but they are also available to anyone in the community at no cost.

To request used coffee grounds (available in 5-pound containers), please email Mike Olinger to place an order. Grounds may be picked up between 1:30 to 3 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays from Housing Food Stores, 1321 S. Oak Street, Champaign. The grounds are free, but a $5 charge will be assessed if the container is not returned. 

Green IT

Technology Services is averaging around $4,000 in annual power savings by using server virtualization, where one server is used to operate multiple applications at a time, resulting in fewer servers and less electrical usage. In addition, Technology Services uses in-row cooling in its data centers. These units cool only the servers, rather than wasting energy cooling the entire room as in most conventional systems. This innovation generates just over $7,000 in annual power savings.

Printing is a large consumer of resources, and so duplex printing is the default option on all University Housing lab printers. 

Green Cleaning

At University Housing we are continually expanding our use of environmentally friendlier cleaning supplies, packaged in recyclable containers.

Integrated Pest Management Program

University Housing's pest management program is developed around environmentally responsible, low-toxicity methods. In July 2014 our program was recognized with Green Shield Certification.