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Urbana Explores Clean Energy Implementation

Producer: Alex Winton Reporter: Jackson Thompson

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been leading the way in using clean energy in their campus buildings, with the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) building being one of their flagship green buildings. According to Philip Krein, a member of ECE's faculty in the building's design team, the ECE building has been utilizing green energy for some time now, drawing all of its energy needs from renewable resources such as heat recovery wheels and solar panels.

The building is a "Zero Energy" facility, meaning that it uses only clean energy to meet its electricity needs. While there are many clean energy sources available, Krein notes that many people are hesitant to embrace them due to cost and other issues. For example, some people consider solar panels to be unsightly and space-consuming. However, Krein believes that as technology advances and becomes more accessible, people will be more open to using clean energy sources.

The University of Illinois is not alone in its move towards clean energy. The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD) has also taken steps toward reducing its carbon footprint. The MTD has rolled out hydrogen fuel cell buses that use electrolysis, a process that uses hydrogen fuel and produces only water waste. These buses do not rely on power grids for energy, which sets them apart from other electric vehicles. Although the details of the buses' performances are not yet clear, MTD's managing director, Karl Gnadt, says that passengers have responded positively to the new buses.

"They like the way they ride. They're very quiet. They're very smooth. Our bus drivers and operators really enjoy driving them too for the same reasons. Our maintenance team enjoys working on them. So really all across the board, we've gotten very positive feedback from, " Gnadt said.

As more organizations adopt clean energy practices, it's becoming increasingly clear that clean energy is not just a trend but a necessary step towards a more sustainable future.

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