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University leaders focus on campus energy efficiency July 17-19

BOONE—Energy efficiency measures implemented by North Carolina universities in 2011-12 resulted in $67 million in savings for the state. A steady focus on energy efficiency is expected to result in $1 billion in total savings during the next 20 years.

The conversation of how to make campuses more energy efficient will continue July 17-19 when university chancellors, provosts, chief financial officers and others gather for the University of North Carolina Energy Leadership Challenge being convened by the Second Appalachian Energy Summit at Appalachian State University.

The leadership challenge and summit are closed to the public; however, the opening keynote address by Amory Lovins on July 17 will be open to the public. Lovins, director of the Rocky Mountain Institute, will speak at 7 p.m. in the Holmes Convocation Center. His talk, “Imagine a University,” will be followed by a discussion with UNC President Tom Ross.

“One of our greatest successes in the first year of the energy summit was the creation of the University of North Carolina Energy Leadership Challenge,” said Ged Moody, university sustainability director at Appalachian. “We created a system-wide initiative that includes an annual and mid-year meeting in which campuses come together in teams to share best practices, look for opportunities to enter into a joint contract to receive the best price possible for energy purchases, to reduce and stabilize the university system’s average annual energy expenditures, and transform and stimulate the North Carolina economy.”

Moody said other goals were to position the UNC system and private university colleagues as national leaders, educate students to be leaders of a more sustainable future and create a culture of collaboration as institutions pursue economic and environmental sustainability.

More than 250 individuals are expected to attend the July event, including students and campus sustainability, physical plant and design and construction professionals.

Topics for discussion during the summit include:

  • campus-based energy efficiency
  • high performance campus design
  • transportation-oriented opportunities
  • student leadership and engagement
  • finance, regulatory and energy generation

“Solutions sessions” on the last day of the event will be led by experts from North Carolina. They will focus on:

  • designing and constructing a net-zero energy building
  • understanding renewable energy system partnering and finance
  • smart grid technology and university campuses
  • creating and managing an energy savings performance contract

In addition, Anthony Cortese, co-founder of Second Nature, will speak to summit attendees. Second Nature is a nonprofit organization that works to create a sustainable society by transforming higher education. Cortese’s talk is not open to the public.

The UNC system spends $226 million a year on energy. “We have the goal to save the state more than $1 billion in savings over the next 20 years,” Moody said. “Through ongoing energy savings activities, the UNC system saved $67 million last fiscal year and we see the potential for that number to grow.”

For more information about the summit and energy leadership challenge, visit