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Alternative energy and other measures help UNC system campuses reduce energy costs

BOONE—Wind energy, geothermal systems, photovoltaic systems and use of methane gas are just some of the ways UNC system campuses are reducing their energy costs.

Working from a 2002-03 baseline, all universities in the University of North Carolina system are required by N.C. law to reduce energy consumption by 30 percent by 2015. Campus representatives met at Appalachian State University recently for the first Appalachian Energy Summit designed to share best practices and investigate ways campuses can meet the 2015 mandate.

Western Carolina University was the first university in the system to meet this goal, achieving it five of six years since 2005-06. The only other school in the system to meet the 30 percent reduction goal so far is the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in 2010-11, according to information released by the N.C. Energy Office.

Examples of energy efficiency measures in place or planned at UNC system schools are:

N.C. Central University’s energy performance contract will upgrade 10 existing buildings with 83 energy conservation measures, saving $670,000 a year.

UNC Asheville reduced energy use by 50 percent after installing its first geothermal system in 2002. The university has since expanded its use of geothermal systems to seven buildings across campus.

Appalachian State University’s first energy savings performance contract is saving nearly $600,000 a year in energy costs through upgrades to HVAC systems, energy efficient lighting and other measures.

Methane gas from a nearby landfill will provide electricity to a complex of support buildings at UNC Chapel Hill.

N.C. State University is undertaking a combined heat and power project that will improve electrical and steam efficiency by 35 percent and reduce greenhouse gases by 8 percent.

UNC Pembroke and Fayetteville State University have opened or are constructing buildings that meet LEED energy efficiency standards.

The UNC School of the Arts has implemented a “no incandescent” bulb program.

UNC Charlotte recycled two million pounds of material in 2010-11, equaling a landfill diversion rate of 36 percent.

Energy savings measures at N.C. A&T have reduced energy consumption and operating costs in 17 buildings that are expected to achieve an additional 15 percent reduction in energy consumption by 2015.

East Carolina University’s winter break shutdown results in a 30 percent reduction in natural gas use and a 15 percent reduction in electrical use.

For more information about the summit, visit and click on Appalachian Energy Summit.