|Submission Date||July 24, 2017|
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
PA-2: Sustainability Planning
|4.00 / 4.00||
Director, Sustainability Office
Does the institution have a published strategic plan or equivalent guiding document that includes sustainability at a high level? :
A brief description of how the institution’s strategic plan or equivalent guiding document addresses sustainability:
The Blueprint for Next is based on two pillars: 1. Of the Public, For the Public and 2. Innovation Made Fundamental
The Great Convergence is a campus-wide call for collaboration across disciplines at Carolina. The groundbreaking work of the future will occur at these intersections of expertise, and we will make funding, support systems, and spaces available for researchers to work together on practical, solutions-focused projects.
Through the collaboration of our environmental institutes and centers, and expansion of translational research and pedagogical initiatives across disciplines, Carolina will serve as a leader in understanding environmental conditions and the factors that influence them. With an interdisciplinary approach, we will provide educational and outreach solutions that benefit our global ecological and social communities.
Goals include "net zero water usage, zero waste to landfills, and net zero greenhouse gas emissions. To meet these "Three Zeros," we will expand our use of reclaimed water, maximize reuse and recycling, and minimize our use of coal and petroleum while switching to renewable sources of energy. At the same time, we will educate the campus community in best environmental practices."
A copy of the strategic plan:
The website URL where the strategic plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have a published sustainability plan (apart from what is reported above)? :
A copy of the sustainability plan:
The website URL where the sustainability plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have a published climate action plan (apart from what is reported above)? :
A copy of the climate action plan:
The website URL where the climate action plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have other published plans that address sustainability or include measurable sustainability objectives (e.g. campus master plan, physical campus plan, diversity plan, human resources plan)? :
A list of other published plans that address sustainability, including public website URLs (if available):
Sustainability Report- measures sustainability initiatives - http://sustainability.unc.edu/files/2015/10/Sustainability-Report-2013.pdf
Campus Master Plan
Strategic Energy and Water Plan
Five Year Transportation Plan
Dining Sustainability Plan http://files.dining.unc.edu/susty/2015-16_Annual_Sustainability_Guide.pdf
Landscape Heritage and Plant Diversity Task Force Report
Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Curriculum?:
A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Curriculum and the published plans in which each objective is included:
In 2017, UNC adopted a new Quality Enhancement Plan -- Creating Scientists: Learning by Connecting, Doing, and Making (QEP- http://qep.unc.edu/). The “Integrated Curriculum” program is designed to incentivize and facilitate innovative co-teaching opportunities that combine quantitative natural and/or social science with the arts and /or humanities. We hope that these courses will help prepare students to think differently and critically about their world, while drawing connections between seemingly disparate but fundamentally interrelated fields. An example of a currently-funded course is “Narrating Climate Change: Making the Global Personal” (Kim, English/Co
mp Lit; Wise, Geography)
As part of the Connecting objective, the College of Arts and Sciences issued a request for proposals for First Year Seminars that combine social or natural sciences and the humanities.
- The college also funded six new interdisciplinary courses including: "Climate and Energy Transitions" (physics and marine sciences), "Geography for Future Leaders: People, the Planet, and You" (geography) and "The Lived Experience of Inequality and Public Policy" (public policy and English and comparative literature)
The prior quality enhancement plan called "Making Critical Connections" focused on expanding undergraduate research and study abroad opportunities.
- Expanding undergraduate research contains many elements
+A new business class, Carolina Sustainability Consulting, provides undergraduate students the opportunity to engage in research and put theory into practice by devising strategies and crafting implementation plans to advance UNC’s sustainability goals and the Three Zeros Initiative. This is emblematic of the experiential learning requirements in place for all students. Working on strategically significant projects, students apply knowledge and acquire leadership skills valued in the marketplace such as change management, team work, identifying and overcoming obstacles, and developing buy-in.
+60-80 student directed Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships funded at $3,000 per student
+Carolina Research Scholar Designation for students completing requirements
- Embed internationalization as deeply as possible in the curriculum
+ require a global issues course for all undergraduates
+ UNC now has extensive partnerships with universities around the world and has one of the highest study abroad participation rates among public universities. More than 1/3 of UNC undergraduates study abroad in over 70 countries.
Developing an undergraduate curriculum to include research, multidisciplinary courses, and global issues is a key component of providing students with an understanding sustainability.
Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Research?:
A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Research and the published plans in which each objective is included:
The 2015 Sustainability Plan highlights support for cutting-edge student and faculty research and collaboration with industry and other partners to accelerate the transfer of ideas to practice. Goal: Solving major problems such as global health and disease, water supply and quality, climate change, energy supply and efficiency, poverty alleviation, and national security.
In 2016, with support from the NC General Assembly, UNC established the NC Policy Collaboratory to utilize and disseminate the environmental research expertise of UNC for practical use by state and local government. The Collaboratory facilitates and funds research related to the environmental and economic components of the management of natural resources within the State and of new technologies for habitat, environmental, and water quality improvement.
Studies underway include:
- Hurricane Matthew Disaster Recovery and Resilience Initiative
- Assessing Wildfire Impacts and Mitigation in North Carolina
- North Carolina Real-Time High Resolution Flood Mapping
- Public Health Impacts of Hurricane Matthew
- Improving Stewardship of Private Groundwater Wells
- Long-Term Planning to Improve Resiliency and Environmental Service of NC's Water and Wastewater Utilities
- Are Floodplain Buyouts a Smart Investment for Local Governments?
- The Origin and Fate of Lead in North Carolina Surface Waters
Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Campus Engagement?:
A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Campus Engagement and the published plans in which each objective is included:
The 2015 Sustainability Plan recommends that "students, staff, and faculty have the necessary tools and opportunities to develop a sense of community grounded in sustainability both at the University and beyond. To truly embed sustainability in our campus culture and establish a living laboratory for sustainability requires empowering everybody to make informed decisions about best practices both as individuals and as members of University classes, labs, offices, and workplaces."
-In 2016, Carolina Dining Services offered the free “Susty Series” about sustainability in dining.
-In 2016, the Sustainability Office and Carolina Dining Services hosted monthly sustainability lunches where students and staff interested in advancing sustainability could get to know one another and collaborate on projects.
- The Campus Theme “Food for All: Local and Global Perspectives” challenges all areas of the University to examine wide-ranging topics, including food cultures and nutrition, food security, world hunger, agricultural economics, resource management, sustainable development, climate change and international trade.
- Food-related art: The Carolina Global Center held a Global Photography competition
- Carolina Green Pledge takers commit to sustainable behaviors and attending sustainability-related enrichment opportunities. Approximately 2,500 people take the pledge annually.
-New Student Orientation features green residence hall shopping and packing tips, a sustainability social, and campus sustainability features tours.
-Over 3,800 subscribers follow news, events, and job postings on the Sustainability Listserve.
-Green Labs checklists help researchers reduce the environmental impact of labs.
-Green Games competition among residence halls promotes sustainability awareness.
Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Public Engagement?:
A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Public Engagement and the published plans in which each objective is included:
The stated mission of UNC Chapel Hill is teaching, research, and public service.
Faculty, staff, and students across the University participate in public engagement activities.
-The 2015 sustainability plan highlights a goal of engaging "the entire Carolina community in sustainability-related innovation and
entrepreneurship activities" Goals: Provide tools that incorporate sustainability into community decision making.
-The Water Institute works with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program, UNICEF, Wells Fargo Foundation, World Vision and more to research community supplied water systems, climate change effects on drinking water systems, and household water treatment.
-For the last 13 years, Institute for the Environment (IE)'s Center for Environmental Modeling for Policy Development has hosted an international Community Modeling and Analysis System conference and training program for hundreds of scientists and policy makers. New financing strategies, community engagement practices, and analytic tools are taking sustainability knowledge to all corners of the state and to locations around the world.
-IE and NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources provide 3-day professional development programs for teachers that focus on water, energy, and climate in NC.
-The Development Finance Initiative partners with local governments and nonprofit organizations to attract private investment to economically distressed communities.
- The Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention works with low-income communities across the state to advance healthy behaviors.
-More than 550 people registered for the 37th UNC Minority Health Conference and hundreds more watched from 60 broadcast sites in the US and Canada.
-The Community-Campus Partnership forges links with economically distressed communities in NC, and up to 5 fellowships are awarded annually for projects with an academic connection that employ innovative, sustainable approaches to complex social needs.
Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Air & Climate?:
A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Air & Climate and the published plans in which each objective is included:
As a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, UNC has taken a leadership role in implementing strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the impacts of climate change. Members of the campus community are reducing their carbon footprint attributable to energy supply, building efficiency, transportation, waste management, and individual behaviors. The 2015 sustainability plan committed UNC to climate neutrality through reductions in consumption, increases in efficiency and sourcing from cleaner energy or nonrenewable resources.
• Climate neutral by 2050
17% reduction in building-related (scope 1 and scope 2) greenhouse gas emissions since the 2008 peak
A 1,000 kilowatt generator at Carolina North converts gas from the Orange County landfill into electricity for the grid. The University and Orange County negotiated the Landfill Gas Recovery Agreement in 2009 as a way to reduce carbon emissions, provide a revenue stream to Orange County, and advance UNC’s carbon-neutrality goals. The University sells the electricity to Duke Energy and plans to ultimately use the waste heat for proximate buildings at Carolina North.
Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Buildings?:
A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Buildings and the published plans in which each objective is included:
The Campus Master Plan set goals that any new buildings maintain open space and facilitate pedestrian access. UNC has invested more than $2.3 billion in capital improvement projects since 2000 and expanded the square footage on campus by
58%. This 6.8 million square feet of new space was made possible by a statewide bond referendum, private gifts, and non-state sources.
New LEED certified lab buildings for Genome Sciences and Koury Oral Health Sciences were completed in 2012. The former Bell Tower parking lot now includes enhanced pedestrian access, the new Genome Sciences Building, a renovated campus chiller plant, a parking garage, and a stormwater management system below a new campus green.
• All new buildings achieve minimum LEED Silver performance standards
- all new buildings reduce energy and water consumption by 30% relative to code
The new 210,000 square foot Genome Sciences Building consists of office and classroom spaces and research facilities, including greenhouses. The building features a green roof, high-performance glazing, and integrated shading devices. The concrete exterior is thermally efficient, eliminates the need for a finish application, and contains slag waste from steel mills.
The 216,000 square foot Koury Oral Health Sciences building contains lecture halls, research space, and a 105-seat simulation laboratory that provides students the opportunity to practice their clinical skills. A daylit, five-story atrium with a café and ample seating serves as the social and event hub and is wrapped by the façades of new and existing buildings. A green roof manages stormwater and a medicinal garden provides an educational landscape.
• 100% of new, academic buildings accepted since 2011 are certified LEED Gold.
New design guidelines, more robust analytics, and rigorous commissioning reduce the energy and water use in new buildings and provide work and study spaces that foster productivity, collaboration, and health.
UNC Campus Master Plan- http://facilities.unc.edu/about/plans/campus-master-plan/
UNC Design Guidelines- http://facilities.unc.edu/design-guidelines/
Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Energy?:
A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Energy and the published plans in which each objective is included:
Building-related energy demand accounts for about 79% of UNC's GHG emissions and makes up the biggest piece of the campus carbon footprint, while representing a big opportunity for savings. The Energy Management department spearheads energy and water saving initiatives. Met goal of 30% reduction in energy use per square foot by 2015 relative to 2003. UNC Energy Policy: http://sustainability.unc.edu/initiatives/operations/energy/
• 31% reduction in energy use per square foot since 2003, avoiding $330 million in cumulative energy costs. Campus square footage
increased 41% over the same period. Many of the new buildings are energy-intensive research laboratories.
The Energy Conservation Measures Program is an existing building commissioning effort utilizing in-house labor, outside contractor
support, and minimal funding to achieve low cost energy savings. Analyzing and upgrading over 10 million square feet of building space
since 2009 has resulted in major savings.
Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Food & Dining?:
A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Food & Dining and the published plans in which each objective is included:
UNC is one of the largest campuses to sign on to the Real Food Challenge, committing to 20% real food purchases by 2020. Carolina Dining Services and its food service contractor - Aramark - achieved this goal three years ahead of schedule. This target is reflected in the Sustainability Plan and the Dining Plan.
Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Grounds?:
A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Grounds and the published plans in which each objective is included:
Pursuant to recommendations made by the Landscape Heritage and Plant Diversity Task Force, UNC:
• Adopted a formal tree protection plan, including a tree replacement fund
• Developed district-specific planting guidance for landscape designers
• Developed hardscape guidelines for the placement of bike racks and recycling facilities, pedestrian circulation, and streetscapes.
Landscape Heritage and Plant Diversity Task Force Report
UNC Design Guidelines
Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Purchasing?:
A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Purchasing and the published plans in which each objective is included:
Environmentally preferable purchasing and comprehensive waste management practices can decrease the environmental impact and cost
of the campus supply chain and individual behaviors. One of the goals of the Sustainability Plan is to reduce the total volume of materials coming onto campus and to reduce the non-recyclable/non-compostable
materials that are purchased or used on campus as well as to purchase responsibly sourced products.
The electronic procurement website defaults most virgin paper purchases to 30% recycled. In FY 2015, 91% of University paper purchases from our primary online provider were for post-consumer recycled paper or Forest Stewardship Council-certified recycled-content paper. The UNC's Men's Basketball team periodically wears uniforms made from recycled plastic bottles. The jerseys are made from at least 96% recycled polyester, while the shorts are made from 100% recycled polyester. Twenty-two bottles go into making each uniform.
Sustainability Plan- http://sustainability.unc.edu/initiatives/sustainability-plan/
Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Transportation?:
A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Transportation and the published plans in which each objective is included:
University-funded air travel, student and employee commuting, and UNC-owned vehicles contributed 20% of the University's total GHG emissions. Programs to improve mass transit and multi-modal transportation and increase the use of alternative fuels drive Carolina's transportation strategies. Goals: Reduce reliance on single occupant vehicles and fossil fuels. 20% reduction in petroleum use relative to 2005. The Climate Action plan details goals to reduce air travel of empolyees by improving teleconferencing and to increase fuel efficiency of campus fleet based on CAFÉ standards.
•39% of employees and 82% of students arrive on campus via a means other than a single-occupant vehicle. •Alternative fuels, synthetic lubricants, and more efficient vehicles have reduced Carolina's annual petroleum consumption by 23% relative to 2005. The fleet contains 347 flex-fuel vehicles that use a blend containing 85% ethanol, 25 diesel vehicles than run on a B20 blend containing 20% vegetable oil, and 28 neighborhood electric vehicles that replaced old gasoline-powered vehicles. •The Chapel Hill Transit (CHT) fare-free system provides more than 7 million rides annually and offers real-time, online bus locators to reduce waiting time for riders. Funded primarily by UNC student and employee transit fees, as well as the Town of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, CHT is the second largest transit system in North Carolina serving a 160 square mile service territory. •The University's first bicycle share program, Tar Heel Bikes, was launched by students in August 2012. Tar Heel Bikes provides 30 bicycles for free, short-term loan to residential students. •Ride Sharing programs: Zipcar is a subscription-based service that enables member departments and individuals to check-out eight cars parked on campus for a low hourly rate.
Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Waste?:
A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Waste and the published plans in which each objective is included:
The Sustainability Plan coupled with the Three Zeros Initiative set a zero waste goal for campus by 2050. Goal: Reduce waste going to landfill via campus-wide sustainable materials management practices and individual behavior change.
A comprehensive indoor and outdoor recycling and composting program captured 47% of campus discards in FY 2016. In addition to bottles, cans, and paper, the Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling (OWRR) now collects #2, #4, and #5 plastic tubs. Paper, the largest component of the office waste stream, no longer needs to be separated by type. All recyclable paper may now be placed in the mixed paper bin. All bins on campus have been relabeled to reflect these changes. Food waste from UNC dining halls, catering, and several high volume Green Events venues, including the Schools of Government and Social Work and the Botanical Garden is picked up regularly by OWRR and Brooks Contractors. The pre- and post-consumer food waste is turned into a nutrient-rich soil amendment at Brooks Contractors' Goldston processing facility.
Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Water?:
A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Water and the published plans in which each objective is included:
Investments in reclaimed water, harvested rainwater, and water efficiency reduce Carolina's potable water use. A comprehensive stormwater management program improves the quality of runoff to local streams through new practices and infrastructure. The Sustainability Plan includes the goal of water neutrality by 2050.
Goal: 20% reduction in potable water consumption per square foot relative to 2003. Progress: 60% reduction in potable water consumption per square foot since 2000.
- Utilitize new reclaimed water system and identify cost-effective opportunties to expand it.
- extensive rainwater harvesting
- aggressive efficiency measures
- ongoing leak detection.
- 27% of total campus water use is now from nonpotable supplies
Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Diversity & Affordability?:
A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Diversity & Affordability and the published plans in which each objective is included:
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has ranked as the number one value in American public higher education for 16 years because it offers students high-quality academics at an affordable price. Goals from the Sustainability Plan: •Enable all qualified students to enroll at Carolina regardless of their ability to pay. •Meet 100% of students' financial need. •Keep tuition as "free as practicable" and in the bottom quartile among Carolina's 10 public peers. •Recruit and retain faculty, staff, and students from targeted minority populations.
Progress: • UNC meets 100% of the need for all eligible financial aid applicants.
• 96% of undergraduates receiving financial aid received need-based scholarship or grant aid.
• Even with tuition increases, the debt burden of undergraduates is lower now (in adjusted dollars) than it was in 2000, and the proportion of a student’s need met with grants is higher. Average need-based loan is $4,529 for full time undergraduates.
• Tuition and fees at Carolina rank lowest among its 10 public peer institutions.
• 19% of incoming students are the first in their families to attend college.
• 35% of the student body is non-white.
• Use a share of tuition proceeds: 38% of each campus-based tuition increase is reserved for financial aid.
• Share profits from campus auxiliary services: Proceeds from the sale of trademarked UNC merchandise and annual profits from Student Stores and campus vending help fund financial aid.
• Targeted recruitment and scholarship programs encourage students from all backgrounds to enroll and succeed at UNC.
Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Investment & Finance?:
A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Investment & Finance and the published plans in which each objective is included:
"Carolina's leadership will hold firm to five criteria for investment in any initiative arising from The Blueprint for Next.
In all of our work we will:
• Aspire to preeminence;
• Help serve as an economic powerhouse for the state;
• Prepare our graduates for the new economy and contemporary life;
• Adopt a global mindset; and,
• Address big societal questions.
The Sustainability Plan furthers calls for a process to formalize evaluating and prioritizing proposed sustainability investments and policy efforts.
• Identify and attract investors and partners for funding vehicles and other
• Assess and establish new funding strategies
• Align capital investments with campus sustainability goals
• Align endowment management, fundraising efforts, and investments with
campus sustainability goals
In fall 2014, the UNC Board of Trustees unanimously passed a resolution requesting "that UNC Management Company research targeted investments for the University's endowment assets that advance environmentally friendly clean energy strategies consistent with applicable asset allocation and investment objective policies."
Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Wellbeing & Work?:
A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Wellbeing & Work and the published plans in which each objective is included:
The Sustainability Plan calls for providing environments, programs, policies, and services that enhance the social, mental, and physical well-being of the University community.
Employees grappling with work-life issues have access to employee assistance programs, emergency loans, elder and child care, and educational assistance ranging from tuition waivers to loans to training and development programs. Carolina offers recreational programs for staff and recreation center memberships for employees are only $150 annually.
Periodic events enable employees to obtain free health screenings, take fitness classes, and watch healthy cooking demonstrations. A full-time dietician offers nutrition guidance to employees trying to improve their health. The Carolina Campus Community Garden provides free produce to the lowest income workers on campus and teaches recipients, many of whom are from other parts of the world, how to incorporate local produce into their diets.
Miles of campus walkways are increasingly connected to adjacent greenways, including new ones at the Carolina North property. Regularly scheduled events encourage workplace teams to get out and walk or jog together.
Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas (e.g. arts and culture or technology)?:
A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas and the published plans in which each objective is included:
Does the institution have a formal statement in support of sustainability endorsed by its governing body (e.g. a mission statement that specifically includes sustainability and is endorsed by the Board of Trustees)? :
The formal statement in support of sustainability:
UNC System Sustainability Policy:
“Therefore, it is the policy of The University’s Board of Governors (the “Board”) that The University, including General Administration, the constituent institutions, and affiliated entities, shall establish sustainable development and resource management, or “sustainability” as a core value of institutional operations, planning, capital construction, and purchasing practices.”
The institution’s definition of sustainability (e.g. as included in a published statement or plan):
Is the institution an endorser or signatory of the following? :
|Yes or No|
|The Earth Charter||No|
|The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI)||No|
|ISCN-GULF Sustainable Campus Charter||No|
|Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment (formerly known as the ACUPCC), Resilience Commitment, and/or integrated Climate Commitment||Yes|
|The Talloires Declaration (TD)||Yes|
|UN Global Compact||No|
|Other multi-dimensional sustainability commitments (please specify below)||No|
A brief description of the institution’s formal sustainability commitments, including the specific initiatives selected above:
The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.