WCU was presented with the Utility Savings Initiative Leadership Award last month from the N.C. Energy Office representative.
Working from a 2002-03 baseline, all universities in the University of North Carolina system are required to reduce energy consumption by 30 percent by 2015. WCU was the first university in the system to meet this goal, and is still one of only two schools in the system to hit the mark so far.
The university’s conservation efforts have resulted in $13.8 million in energy savings since 2002-03, according to Lauren Bishop, WCU’s energy manager.
WCU was able to meet its energy savings goals through a variety of efforts, including taking older buildings offline and ensuring new construction employs high building standards and energy efficiency. The university’s energy management specialist Caden Painter digitally monitors the heating and cooling in university spaces daily.
Student involvement has helped further reduce energy consumption on campus. This past winter, WCU students bested Appalachian State University students in achieving a higher percentage of reduced energy usage during a three-week national energy conservation competition.
“We really launched a lot of new programs this last year, and we’re really involved with student affairs, and we want to continue on that trajectory,” Bishop said.