Loyola University Chicago

School of Environmental Sustainability

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.