Environment

"UNC should assume a leadership role in addressing the state’s energy  and environmental challenges."

- UNC Tomorrow Commission Final Report and Recommendations, Sec. 4.6

 

HOW UNC IS RESPONDING > > >

At General Administration:

UNC Sustainability Policy – In response to the UNC Tomorrow Commission’s recommendation that “UNC should embrace sustainability as a core value among its institutions,” a system-wide task force (which included representation from all campuses) was formed to develop a proposed sustainability policy that would establish a series of goals to guide UNC campuses and other UNC entities toward greater environmental sustainability. Some of the proposed policies track existing legal mandates (such as energy consumption reduction) while others are aspirational, setting goals toward improved environmental stewardship and greater cost-savings through efficiencies.  The proposed policy will be presented to the Board of Governors for consideration later this year.

 

On UNC's Campuses:

  •  Researchers and scientists at UNC Chapel Hill are studying off-shore wind energy potential along the North Carolina coast. Funded with a grant from the Competitive Research Fund in response to a legislative mandate, the study holds great potential for identifying opportunities for our state in developing wind as a renewable energy resource, and will likely lead to the construction of demonstration wind turbines as early as next year. The study’s focus on legal and regulatory issues (in addition to the scientific, environmental, ecological, and financial areas of study) offers recommendations for legal and regulatory changes that could make North Carolina a national leader in wind energy development. The first phase of the study will be completed in June of this year, with additional work to follow in the coming year.

 

  • NC A&T is focusing on establishing an energy conservation program and creating a “Green” Campus” by implementing recycling programs and educational programs about sustainability; a sustainable energy conservation program at the campus will include a sustainability coordination office that will lead the campus’s efforts in sustainable master planning, design and construction, operations and maintenance, improved transportation, climate change mitigation and renewable energy.

 

  • NCSU Major Engineering Research Center (ERC) Award – With a National Science Foundation and other funding, NC State established The Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management (FREEDM) Systems Center.  The FREEDM Systems Center is partnering with universities, industry, and national laboratories in 28 states and nine countries to develop technology to revolutionize the nation's power grid and speed renewable electric-energy technologies into every home and business through research and development with a goal to not only distribute energy but also collect it at many points, thus enabling use of renewable sources and using domestic batteries (and vehicles) as energy sources. NSF awarded an initial five-year, $18.5 million grant, with an additional $10 million in institutional support and industry membership fees. More than 60 utility companies, electrical equipment manufacturers, alternative energy start-ups, and other established and emerging firms are part of this global partnership.

 

  • In its continued efforts to support excellence in undergraduate research, UNC Asheville’s Undergraduate Research Program includes environmental sustainability as one of its two main focus areas.

 

Check back here for more "In The Spotlight" features on how UNC's campuses and faculty are responding to the needs of North Carolina through teaching, research and scholarship, and public service.