For the past three years, Appalachian State University has been leading the way in transforming the University of North Carolina’s energy use and future through the annual Appalachian Energy Summit hosted on campus.
More than 250 campus leaders from across the system’s 17 institutions, as well as the state’s private colleges and universities, attend each year to share best practices and hear from leaders in energy efficiency. Undergraduate and graduate students also participate.
This year’s event is July 28-30 with the theme “The Disruption/Innovation Cycle.” Speakers include Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute, Peter Kelly-Detwiler of NorthBridge Energy Partners LLC and David W. Orr, Oberlin College’s Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics and senior adviser to the president.
The UNC system’s goal is to save $1 billion in energy costs over 20 years. Noted achievements include:
The Appalachian Energy Summit is the annual gathering for the University of North Carolina Energy Leadership Challenge. It has five long-term goals:
The Appalachian Energy Summit Mid-Year Meeting continues the event’s work through a day-long workshop hosted by another campus during the winter.
“When over 250 professionals of this caliber gather, great connections and rich conversation always occur,” said Ged Moody, Appalachian’s sustainability director and organizer of the event.
“In addition, the summit’s working groups connect professionals by skill sets, interests and job responsibilities so they can collaborate year-round on activities in the areas of academic integration, campus-based energy efficiency, finance and regulatory opportunities, high-performance campus design, transportation opportunities, and student leadership and engagement.”
Moody said this year’s summit theme, “The Disruption/Innovation Cycle,” inclines participants to embrace the innovations that disrupt our time-tested technologies, processes and business models.
This year’s Appalachian Energy Summit is a carbon neutral event. Event organizers have reduced carbon emissions as much as possible and worked with Shift Equity and NC Greenpower to calculate and offset remaining emissions by purchasing renewable energy credits and carbon offsets.
Dr. Sheri N. Everts - Good Evening and welcome to the third Appalachian Energy Summit. I am Sheri Everts, Chancellor of Appalachian State University, and I am honored to bring greetings to each of you, and to recognize the importance of this initiative. The Summit provides opportunities for professional engagement with colleagues from across the state, a model for collaboration, and a real and powerful path to a more sustainable future for higher education in North Carolina. The work accomplished through this initiative has garnered national attention, and we are proud to join with you, our colleagues across the state, in developing policies and procedures that will benefit our state for years to come.
Appalachian prepares students to lead purposeful lives as engaged global citizens who understand their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. Indeed, the important work accomplished through this initiative not only benefits our institutions but also engages our students in real world research that yields meaningful results. At Appalachian we work diligently to keep three facets of sustainability in mind as we go about meeting our mission: 1) is the action economically sustainable? 2) is the action in line with our commitment to take care of the planet? and 3) is the action equitable for the people with whom we share the planet?
Sustainability at Appalachian State University is not a trend, it is a tradition. One has only to look at programs like the Renewable Energy Initiative. REI is a student-led effort funded by a fee proposed and voted upon by our students. I am pleased to be recording this message in Appalachian Hall – one of Appalachian’s newest buildings under consideration for LEED certification and part of the Brad and Carole Wilson Honors and Engagement Community. Summit Hall, the residence hall connected to this building, hosts a commercial-scale solar thermal system funded by REI.
This example of campus innovation is just one of many on our campus and on campuses across the state. I commend you for your leadership in sustainable energy and for the work you do each day to move this initiative forward. Such commitment to research, creativity, innovation and practice is making a difference now and for our future. Thank you for your tireless efforts and for being a critical part of this amazing and beneficial collaboration.
Sustainability at Appalachian State University is not a trend, it is a tradition. The university is an active steward of the state’s interconnected financial, cultural and natural resources. Through engaged scholarship, Appalachian balances critical, creative and global thinking in a living laboratory, transforming theory into practice and fostering responsible citizenship.