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Sustainable Energy

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Heating and Cooling

UNC design standards require high efficiency centrifugal chillers, which use less energy to create one ton of cooling and releases fewer GHG emissions than other technologies. Recent installations include Butler Hancock, Campus Recreation Center and New West Campus Residence Halls North and South. Installations are planned for Kepner, Carter, Guggenheim and Crabbe halls.


Re-commissioned several building HVAC systems to optimize performance.


 Upgraded the Heating Plant pumping arrangement to improve efficiency.


Installed VFD’s on most pumps and cooling towers on campus.


 Expanded the building automation system campus to control additional equipment and implemented additional night, weekend and holiday temperature set backs.


 Replaced one of the original boilers at the Heating Plant with a new unit including economizer capabilities.


 Pump coolant lines have been re-piped to recycle the water as condenser water rather than dumping the water down the drain.

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UNC has invested in a small 10kw solar array on top of McKee Hall.  This was installed fall of 2008 and the cost was offset with an Xcel energy rebate of 50 percent of the $100,000 cost and a Governors Energy Office $10,000 grant.  In the last four years this system has generated 37,250 kWh of electricity without using any fossil fuels.

Learn more about the Parsons Grant Project

Check out our Energy Performance Project

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Controllable Breaker Panels

UNC installed a BAS controlled breaker system at Michener Library in spring of 2009. These control the lighting circuits and turn off the lights in unoccupied conditions. Michener was originally designed without any light controls. Since we are able to shut off the lights now it is projected to save ~ $40,000 annually.

LED Breezeway Lights At McKee Hall

UNC is currently installing new breezeway lights at McKee Hall. These are LED and only use 54 watts compared to the 250-watt lamps that were being used. The savings in energy costs plus rebates from our electric provider and reduced maintenance costs pays for the lights in just over 2 and ½ years and last for 10 years compared to the old style lasting 2 years.

Induction Lighting Retrofits on Central Campus

UNC has replaced all the walkway lights on Central Campus with induction type lights. By using this type of system over the high-pressure sodium style we cut the energy consumption by 65 percent. This savings, plus rebates from our electric provider, gave us a year-and-a-half simple payback on our investment.

Variable Frequency Drives

UNC utilizes variable frequency drives on most pumps and fans on campus. This technology allows UNC to use only the amount of power needed to accomplish the task and backs off on the motor speed needed. This saves as much as 50 percent of the power over running the motors at full speed and extends the life of the equipment.

Premium Efficiency Motors

UNC uses only premium efficiency motors when replacing old motors and in new construction.  These motors have an average return on investment of two years.

Additional conservation projects

  • Occupancy sensors installed in classroom and other spaces, and most vending equipment is equipped with occupancy sensors to shut off the lights during unoccupied times.
  • Replaced more than 20 older refrigerators with more efficient energy star rated units with a grant from the Governors Energy Office.
  • Most mechanical equipment now includes premium efficiency motors and variable frequency drives.
  • Dining services has replaced most ovens with Rational Combi Ovens providing increased efficiency and energy savings due to reduced cooking time.
  • Most lighting on campus has been upgrades to more efficient lamp types such as compact fluorescent, induction and LED. Most incandescent lamps have been eliminated.
  • Exterior lights are controlled by a combination of photo sensors and the building automation system.