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UNC Asheville's Sustainability Practices Recognized by State

Sustainability, conservation, and environmental literacy are long-standing practices at UNC Asheville, not just as a scientific endeavor, but as a lens through which we shape our academic, social, and operational practices. Our comprehensive strategic plan both reflects this focus and expands it, making long-term economic, social and environmental sustainability a core value that informs all our endeavors. 

UNC Asheville's long-term commitment to energy conservation has led to a number of innovative campus practices. As a result, UNC Asheville now has the lowest energy consumption based on BTU's per square foot among all campuses in the UNC system and among all state agencies. UNC Asheville's efforts have been publicly recognized by the State Energy Office for leadership in energy conservation initiatives.

Because of their long-term planning process for sustainable building, UNC Asheville's bond-funded buildings, funded by the 2000 Higher Education Bond Referendum, have set new campus standards for energy efficiency and sustainability. The New Hall classroom building, for example, employs geothermal heating and cooling, a "green" roof, an excellent building envelope, and extensive daylighting. As a result, New Hall uses just 20 percent of the energy than that of an adjacent, similar size classroom building constructed in 1966.

Another aspect of UNC Asheville's commitment to energy conservation was the installation of a central, campuswide Direct Digital Control (DDC) system, which has dramatically reduced costs by allowing heating and cooling to be delivered only when and where it is needed. Among the results, the Karpen Hall classroom building now costs $35,000 less per year to heat and cool.

UNC Asheville's students have taken a leadership role in demonstrating the campus commitment to sustainability. In 2006, the students initiated a Green Campus Initiative Fee to fund sustainability initiatives, energy efficiency and conservation on campus, and established a Student Environmental Center. Since that time, the Student Environment Center and its advisory board have used funds from Green Campus Initiative Fee to purchase an electric GEM Car for University Police, to install dual flush toilet valves in a number of campus buildings and occupancy sensors for light fixtures in Highsmith Student Union. The students have worked closely with Dining Services to initiate a post-consumer composting program and establish a vegetable garden to augment the supply of local produce.


For more information concerning energy conservation, contact John Pierce, UNC Asheville Vice Chancellor for Finance & Operations, 828/251-6742 or

For more information concerning student green initiatives, contact Bill Haggard, UNC Asheville Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, 828/251-6474 or