University of North Carolina - Charlotte
Environmental Sustainability Report
Sustainable Operations and Practices
Energy Management and Water Conservation
UNC-Charlotte recognizes the need for increased energy and water conservation in
order to promote environmental sustainability and reduce utility costs. The university
is a major user of energy, with utility costs exceeding $5.5 million annually. This
energy is obtained from a combination of fossil fuels, nuclear and hydroelectric power
– which directly impacts air quality and depletes nonrenewable resources.
Goals for the future include:
Survey water-using equipment.
Install water-efficient upgrades where practical.
Use water-efficient equipment in the design of all new facilities.
UNC-Charlotte will develop and implement an energy management and
conservation program with a goal of reducing its energy usage by 5 percent over the
next five years. The plan will include:
Energy audits, energy monitoring and baseline determination
Upgrade of mechanical and electrical systems to more efficient units
to include chillers, pumps, cooling towers and lighting systems
Establishment of building energy usage guidelines
Auditing and monitoring plans
Benchmarking with private and state universities
Identification and implementation of energy conservation opportunities
Funding strategies to achieve goals
A UNC-Charlotte "Energy Awareness" program.
Pollution Prevention/Environmental Compliance
It is the practice of UNC-Charlotte to protect the environment and the health of
employees, students, visitors and the community from environmental hazards; to
reduce present and future risks of environmental hazards; to comply with the federal,
state and local laws pertaining to environmental management; and to maintain sound
conservation programs through pollution prevention and waste minimization. All daily
activities and routine operations of the university are to be conducted in a safe and
environmentally responsible manner.
Pollution prevention and waste minimization programs are designed to reduce the
toxicity and amount of pollutants released into the environment. Through proper
procedures and practice, releases to the air, water and land are controlled.
Procurement, receipt and use of hazardous materials are to be executed in such a
manner as to reduce and minimize generation of hazardous waste. Minimization
techniques include inventory control, micro scale chemistry, and recycling. Hazardous
wastes are managed under the following concepts:
Wastes are prevented or reduced at the source of generation whenever feasible.
Wastes that cannot be prevented should be recycled in an environmentally safe
Wastes that cannot be prevented or recycled should be treated in an environmentally
safe manner with disposal employed as a last resort.
Goals for the future include the establishment of a university environmental program
coordinator position to enhance and oversee the compliance program. This person will
provide expertise and better define roles and responsibilities throughout the university.
The UNC-Charlotte is pleased to be a part of the sustainability effort underway in the
state of North Carolina. The university is beginning systematic application of
sustainable measures addressing land preservation and conservation outlined by the
state. Environmental stewardship is now incorporated in all our operations and
planning. In 1975, The UNC-Charlotte Board of Trustees set aside a portion of the
campus as an experimental ecological reserve for use as an outdoor classroom and
laboratory. The reserve includes an old field, pine stands, mixed pine hardwood forest,
and a relatively undisturbed watershed of oak-hickory forest. A large portion of the
reserve is within the regulated floodplain of Toby Creek, a tributary for Mallard Creek.
The reserve is also used for jogging, biking and orienteering.
Cooperation between the university and the Mecklenburg County Parks Department has
established a greenway system that traverses the campus. As funding becomes
available the greenway will connect the campus to the University Research Park and
neighborhoods north of the university.
The Campus Master Plan has identified the need for storm water management for the
developing campus. Both the 1995 Campus Master Plan and the 2000 Campus Master
Plan "The Next Step" studied the potential of establishing small ponds along Toby
Creek to improve water quality. These ponds would also be utilized as areas of study
and enjoyment for the campus community. The greenway system will be integrated
with the ponds.
Goals for the future include:
Prepare a study to assess the condition of Toby Creek
Assess other wetland functions within the Toby Creek Floodplain
Determine wetlands that could be restored
Determine funding sources in order to establish environmental improvements
Alternative Fuel and Low Emission Vehicles
UNC-Charlotte currently has several alternative fuel vehicles. The Cameron Applied
Research Center has a pick-up truck and a GEM (EZ- GO) powered from their 2.5
Kilowatt solar charging station. They also have two Prisms that are powered from the
grid. The Cameron Research Center is very satisfied with their vehicles and currently
does not have any plans to increase their AFV fleet.
The Botanical Gardens has a battery-powered service vehicle powered from the grid.
They would like to have more AFV, but do not have funding at this time.
Facilities Management group has one natural gas-powered pick-up truck. The Grounds
Department is very satisfied with this vehicle. Facilities Management has recently
updated its vehicle replacement policy to include consideration of AFV when replacing
vehicles. The fueling station established for the current vehicle is capable of
supporting an additional vehicle.
The university has set a goal of converting 20 percent of its vehicle fleet to AFVs in the
next five years.
Construction Practices (Green Buildings)
UNC-Charlotte currently employs a number of recognized environmental sustainability
practices in its capital planning and construction program. These include:
Removal of inefficient "T-12", 40-watt light fixtures that include electric ballasts.
Replacing light fixtures that have been removed with more efficient "T-8," 32-watt
light fixtures that include electronic ballasts.
Designers are urged to use light systems with integrated motion detectors in
New buildings on campus are being designed and constructed with energy/utility
monitoring systems in an effort to compare energy/utility usage to industry
standards and identify inefficient systems.
Life cycle costs for building equipment are now being investigated during new
building design in an effort to provide increasingly efficient building systems.
Project specifications require all construction debris be sent to a construction and
demolition landfill. Debris is recycled if possible.
An interdisciplinary team of faculty members is providing green building consulting
and computer modeling services for selected new buildings during design.
Goals for the future include:
Review and revise the Campus Master Plan to locate, design and construct
buildings which meet campus growth needs, while maintaining "green space" and
efficient land use.
Develop sites utilizing existing topography and landscape features. Sites such as the
University Alumni House and Charlotte Institute will take advantage of existing site
Existing trees on campus are to be protected to the greatest extent possible.
Protection of trees will be standardized through the development of a Campus Tree
Specify the use of recycled building products (i.e. recycled drywall, structural steel,
brick, etc.) in new campus construction.
All new building designs will be compared to an energy usage baseline. The
university has set a goal of making new designs 20 percent more efficient by the
Require that designs include low energy and energy efficient building systems (i.e.
windows, lighting and mechanical systems).
Continue to analyze life cycle costs when specifying building systems.
Incorporate "green building" design criteria into the University's Design Manual
for capital construction.