UNC System avoided $103 million in utility costs in 2013-14

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The University of North Carolina System avoided $103 million in utility costs in the 2013-14 academic year, according to Len Hoey, energy engineering manager at the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Hoey spoke to more than 200 energy professionals from across the state who attended the mid-year meeting of the Appalachian Energy Summit, which was held at UNC Charlotte Thursday, February 12.

Total avoided utility costs system wide since 2002-03 is $499 million, he said. "We are on track with our goal of (saving) $1 billion (in utility costs) by 2020 and $2 billion by 2025."

In opening comments, William Johnson, assistant vice president for finance and capital planning at UNC General Administration, said, "We are making the business case for renewable energy and need to continue to do so. Not simply because of the savings," he said, "but because we are doing the right thing. We must continue to go forward. The University of North Carolina system is an economic engine for the state of North Carolina."

"The momentum of the Appalachian Energy Summit is astounding, even to me," said Ged Moody, director of sustainability at Appalachian State University. "The many professionals in attendance today, the enormity of our savings, the palpable excitement among these colleagues, all bode well for the energy future of the university system and the state as a whole."

Attendees at the conference met in groups after opening remarks to continue work in the following area of focus on the 17 university campuses: academic integration, campus-based energy efficiency, finance and regulatory opportunities and energy generation, high performance campus design and transportation opportunities. Host Mike Lizotte, sustainability director at UNC-Charlotte, said, "This is an event about participation, the work does not end or begin at the summit. This is only an opportunity to make visible all the work everyone does." 

About the Appalachian Energy Summit

The Appalachian Energy Summit first convened in 2011, bringing together campus leaders from the state's 17 public institutions and seven private colleges and universities to share best practices, build peer relationships and develop energy-savings initiatives to address a state mandate to reduce energy consumption 30 percent by 2015.

The 2015 Appalachian Energy Summit will be held on the Appalachian State University campus in Boone, July 13-15. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will be the keynote speaker Monday, July 13, at 7:30 p.m. in the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts on campus. His talk is free and open to the public.

Also participating in July summit are Amory Lovins from the Rocky Mountain Institute and David Orr, renowned higher education sustainability expert. Themed "A New State of Energy," the three-day event is open to campus leaders from the UNC System, seven private colleges and universities and selected industry leaders and selected participants from other states.