Monday, February 27, 2017

The Student Sustainability Committee, which allocates over $1.1 million each year to sustainable projects on campus, has recommended that the School of Architecture’s Root to Roof initiative receive $94,750 in funding, pending final administrative approval. Once fully executed, this funding will allow integration of locally harvested wood into the School’s design studio and seminar activities. The Root to Roof project was created by the School’s Fabrication Coordinator, Lowell Miller (pictured), who leads a team that includes Professors John Stallmeyer and Aaron Brakke, as well as graduate student Austin Johnson.

According to Miller, “Root to Roof is a program established to educate students about the sustainability and availability of urban wood for the design and fabrication of furniture, outdoor installations, homes and buildings. This program also aims to illuminate the importance of carbon sequestration, carbon footprint and short-term vs. long-term environmental impact with regard to the usage of urban trees.” Over the life of the three-year project, there are projected carbon savings from keeping wood solids out of landfills. Additionally, the project will raise funds through sales of wood products to units across campus.

Since last fall, Miller’s Root to Roof efforts have included support for Professor Stallmeyer’s outdoor furniture design studio, the results of which have been installed on the tiered lawn and courtyard adjacent to Temple Hoyne Buell Hall. This semester, Root to Roof is linked to a studio taught by Professor Brakke, in which students are designing installations for public park space in collaboration with the City of Urbana.

Proceeds from the grant will permit acquisition of milling equipment needed to prepare locally harvested wood—from the university’s forestry plot at Windsor and Race in Urbana, and from the City of Urbana—for use in fabrication projects. The School already has an agreement with the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences in the College of ACES to make use of a kiln for drying newly harvested wood.

The Student Sustainability Committee “is a student-led organization charged with the distribution of two student fees – the Sustainable Campus Environment Fee and the Cleaner Energy Technologies Fee. With the ultimate goal of making the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign a leader in campus sustainability, SSC reviews, recommends, and funds projects that increase environmental stewardship, inspire change, and impact students.”