Students, faculty and leaders from colleges across the state came together last week to further discussions on energy conservation — with an ultimate goal of saving $1 billion in energy avoidance costs in mind.
Representatives from the 16 UNC-system schools and five private colleges in the state convened at the Appalachian Energy Summit for the second consecutive year. Attendees shared energy conservation goals and discussed the past year’s successes.
At the inaugural summit last year, each school pledged to reduce energy costs over the next 20 years to collectively save $1 billion in that time. UNC-system President Tom Ross and Gov. Pat McCrory also attended the summit to show their support.
“President Tom Ross was a big proponent of doing this,” said Phil Barner, UNC’s director of energy services.
Barner attended this year’s event and said there was a variety of workshops available to participants, including those centered around regulatory finance and energy generation and green building construction, as well as workshops geared toward students.
Chris Martin, UNC’s director of energy management, said he participated in a focus group that explored ways to engage the community college system in preparing technicians to do energy-efficient work. He said his group also worked on developing ways to offer energy conservation training to facility managers across the schools.
“Our group was looking at how to engage each other better and share expertise amongst ourselves,” he said.
Victoria Petermann, a junior and member of Beyond Coal, attended the inaugural summit last year. She said was impressed with the efforts that schools in the state are making to reduce energy consumption.
“We wanted to see how we could become part of the conversation as students,” she said.