Because infrastructure energy use contributes by far the highest percentage of UNCG’s emissions, it is the primary area of focus for this plan. The steam plant, purchased electricity, and associated factors comprise approximately 71% of campus GHG emissions. The UNCG Climate Action Plan Energy working group teamed with Affiliated Engineers, Inc., an engineering firm with experience in energy modeling and efficiency strategies. Though UNCG has reduced its energy consumption 16% per gross square foot since 2003, its overall consumption has increased more than 8% during the same time period, moving away from the goal of climate neutrality. The University will begin to address this by implementing tactics that increase energy efficiency in existing buildings as well as establishing more stringent standards for new construction. A continued push for everyone in the UNCG community to take responsibility for their personal energy use on campus will also occur, as these improved habits can contribute a 5-10% reduction in consumption. In fact, a recent survey found that 100% of faculty, staff, and students told us they’d like to be part of UNCG’s energy solution. In addition, as technologies improve and the associated financial models produce shorter payback periods, UNCG will look to install on-site renewable energy facilities.
Since 2003, energy conservation measures have avoided over $11 million, at least $4.7 million of which came from reduced electrical consumption. Below is a graph illustrating UNCG Electrical Consumption as well as some examples of the University’s past, present, and future energy initiatives.