Institute of Environmental Sustainability

PHO-UMC14-05 IES Classroom Imagery


The Institute of Environmental Sustainability combines academics and research with sustainable agriculture and community living. And it does it all in one amazing facility.

An emphasis on academics – The institute houses Loyola’s nationally recognized sustainability programs and prepares students to become leaders in environmental research, policy, and justice. Several bachelor’s and master’s degree options are available.

Cutting-edge research For years, our professors have been conducting research to address some of the world’s most-pressing environmental issues. Now, with state-of-the-art labs, they’ll be able to do even more.

Beyond the classroom Whether you’ve been living sustainably your whole life or are just starting out, Loyola has a program for you. From recycling to urban farming, we can show you how to live a greener life.

The institute is loaded with state-of-the-art technology to make it as energy efficient and forward thinking as possible.

ATRIUM- This space utilizes passive ventilation and the natural effect of heated air lifting to ventilate the space. The area is unconditioned, thus not heated or cooled, and can be considered the lungs of the building as the air in this space can be utilized in other parts of the building.

AQUAPONICS – The IES houses one of two aquaponic systems in the building. Both systems produce food and have students helping with management, production and for market distribution. The aquaponic system located in the entrance atrium is more ornamental in design but still grows fish and produces food.

CLEAN ENERGY LAB – This lab includes Loyola’s award winning Biodiesel program. Recognized many times by grants and other awards, the biodiesel lab has increased capacity and can process 100,000 gallons of waste oil into vehicle fuel although it will most likely be processing 20-30,000 gallons per year to start.

ECODOME – On the second level of the IES, is the Ecodome, a 3,100 square foot greenhouse and is used in sustainable food systems research projects as well as urban agriculture production.   Vertical farming elements are demonstrated in the Atrium and Ecodome spaces.

GEOTHERMAL – 91 wells reaching 500 feet into the ground provide heating/cooling energy for the facility. This is the largest system within the City of Chicago and the first in the State to be installed underneath the facility’s footprint. This system will save about 30% off our heating and cooling costs functioning like a large radiator into the ground, sending energy, in the form of heat, into the earth in the summer and drawing in heat during the winter.

  • Thermostat Displays: exhibit the real-time temperature of the coolant as it is sent into the well system and it returns to the building. Heat exchangers then transfer this energy into other coolant that travels around the building to condition spaces as needed.
  • The only outside energy needed to heat and cool the building is for fans, pumps and valves to control the system.

RAIN HARVESTING– Water falling on the roof of San Francisco Hall is collected in a 3,000 gallon cistern located on the first floor of San Francisco Hall. The water is then reused in the greenhouse operations for irrigation and landscape and for flushing the toilets located directly off the IES Lounge. There is also a connection to city water during times of drought.

GREEN ROOFS – Another part of the facility’s stormwater management is our green roofs. Loyola is a leader in green roofs, having more than any other University in the Midwest. The IES will have 3 green roofs providing stormwater capture, improving air quality, providing habitat and reducing the urban heat island.

SAN FRANCISCO HALL – Sustainability hits home at San Francisco Hall, which overlooks the greenhouse and is filled with eco-friendly features. And it also lives on at Engrained Café, a new sustainable eatery that serves local, organic food.

Institute of Environmental Sustainability interactive overview


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