Greening of the Summit

Our pristine mountain environment attracts a community of people dedicated to good stewardship. A walk across our campus is proof of our commitment to sustainability: a student-funded on-campus wind turbine, zero waste management initiatives, native landscaping and healthy buildings are among the most obvious indicators.

In good faith and commitment, Appalachian engages in the following activities which contribute to a sustainable summit. 


     Greening Initiatives

Carbon Neutral Event

Like last year, our 2016 Appalachian Energy Summit will be a carbon neutral event. First we will work to reduce our carbon emissions and \ will purchase renewable energy credits (RECS) and carbon offsets. These offset conference operations, accommodations, car and air travel, and food preparation. We have worked with Shift Equity and NC Greenpower to calculate and offset these emissions.


Conferences & Institutes

  • Many participants will be housed in hotel-like accommodations at Mountaineer Residence hall, a LEED® gold certified residence hall


Plemmons Student Union

  • Summit space utilizes building automation to increase HVAC efficiency
  • Summit space has temperature setbacks
  • Summit space and hotel-like accommodations have commercial solar thermal systems
  • Energy efficient high output lighting, including use of LED technology
  • Use of lighting motion sensors

Food Services

Appalachian Food Services

  • All meals served will have local and organic content
  • China, silverware, glassware, and cloth used
  • Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free options offered
  • All unopened leftovers donated to the local food shelter
  • Bulk items used (condiments, sweeteners, creamers, etc.)

Waste Reduction

Zero Waste

  • We are making every effort to be a zero waste event
  • Recycling containers available at all summit locations and meeting spaces
  • Pre and post-consumer food waste collection at all meal events
  • Use of bulk items rather than individual items such as condiments, sugar, cream, etc.
  • Use of reusable food service items when possible
  • Disseminate conference info and other information electronically
  • Promotion of 'BYO beverage' container

Water Stewardship

Plemmons Student Union and Building Services

  • Low-flow sink aerators
  • Dual-flush toilets
  • Green cleaning supplies


Parking and Traffic, Zimride and AppalCART

  • Carpooling platform created using Zimride to make it easy for participants to share the ride
  • AppalCART provides free and convenient in-town mass transit transportation for participants


  • "These come from trees" signs on bathroom paper towel dispensers in Plemmons Student Union
  • Renewable energy kiosk in Plemmons Student Union
  • Electronic invites, announcements, registration, advertising
  • Any printed material (Leadership Luncheon only) is sugar cane-based


National Recognition

The Princeton Review

Appalachian is one of the most environmentally responsible institutions of higher learning in the United States, according to The Princeton Review, scoring 98 out of a possible 99 points. Appalachian is among 322 colleges and universities across the nation included in "The Princeton Review's Guide to 322 Green Colleges" for 2013.


Sierra Club Magazine

Appalachian State University has placed 10th for 2013 on Sierra Club magazine's fifth annual ranking of the nation's top "Coolest Schools." The rankings salute the efforts of colleges around the country helping to solve climate issues and operate sustainably.


Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)

Since 2008, Appalachian has been a member institution of AASHE. Being a member institution of AASHE allows Appalachian to have access to resources and best practices of sustainability in higher education. 


Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS)

In May 2012, Appalachian received a STARS Gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS). Appalachian was one of 187 universities at time of submission to earn STARS Gold. 


American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment

Appalachian became a signatory of the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment on Earth Day 2008. Being a signatory requires Appalachian to eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions, accelerating progress towards climate neutrality and sustainability. 

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