Advanced technology will help make ECE building ‘net zero’

While the stated goal of the new building is to achieve LEED platinum status, the highest rating for a structure’s sustainability and efficiency, plans are already in place to up the ante on that goal.

“We want to achieve net-zero energy output,” said ECE Professor Philip Krein, chair of the ECE Building Committee.  “It’s a lofty goal, but we think the technology is there to make this a reality.”

There are several methods that will be used to achieve this goal. On the sustainability side, the design will take advantage of sunlight for lighting within the structure in what is called “passive solar design.” This also reduces summer heat load on the outside walls. Insulation will ensure minimal heat or cooling loss. Chilled beams, an advanced air conditioning system in which cooled or warmed water is passed through ceiling pipes to heat or cool a large building at reduced cost and energy load, will be used throughout much of the new building. Heat-recovery systems will exchange energy as outside air is drawn in.

In addition, solar panels on the roof of the new building as well as on a nearby parking structure will create power that will be dedicated to this new building.

“All of the resources that we’re bringing to bear on this building will make this a living laboratory,” Krein said. “Students will be able to interact with and learn from what we’re putting into this building.”

While construction will soon be under way, private funding is still needed to reach our fundraising goal. To “do your bit,” please visit the Building Campaign for ECE ILLINOIS site.

Interested in making a pledge over five years or want more information? Contact Beth Katsinas, Director of Advancement, at or (217) 265-6285.