Sustainability, conservation and environmental literacy are long-standing practices at UNC Asheville, a lens through which we shape our academic, social and operational practices. UNC Asheville’s long-term commitment to energy conservation has led to a number of innovative campus procedures. As a result, UNC Asheville has the lowest energy consumption based on BTU’s per square foot among all campuses in the University of North Carolina 17-campus system and among all state agencies. Additionally, UNC Asheville uses a combination of both in-house and utility owned meters. For more information please click on the campus operations button below.
Ground-Source Heat Pump Systems
The university installed a geoexchange system under the Main Quad as the new source of heating and cooling for Rhoades Hall. Thirty four wells are buried five hundred feet deep, and are connected by seven miles of pipe. This ground-source heat pump system operates by continuously circulating liquid through the well-and-pipe system. The earth’s constant 58 degree temperature is used to warm the building in winter and cool it in the summer. UNC Asheville also has ground-source heat pump systems at the Sam Millar Facilities Complex, Pisgah House, and New Hall. As an example of the impact that these systems can have, New Hall’s energy costs are 85% lower than Carmichael’s, which has about the same square footage. The systems buried under the main quad (and the mini quad by Whitesides Hall) are ground source heat pumps. Sometimes they are erroneously called “geothermal” systems.
Locations of our wells and buildings served:
- New Hall – 15 wells, 500 feet deep (first installation on campus~2003, rumors are that it was the first in state university system).
- Sam Millar Complex – 13 wells, 500 feet deep.
- Quad = 34 wells, 500 feet deep (serves Rhoades Hall and Rhoades Tower).
- Chancellors Residence = 8 wells, 300 feet deep.
- Overlook = 86 wells, ~300 feet deep, some a little less.
Building Automation Systems
Another aspect of UNC Asheville’s commitment to energy conservation was the installation of a central, campus wide Building Automation System. The system allows the university to remotely fine-tune heating and cooling in nearly all of the campus’ facilities. Not only does this save a lot of energy, but it also saves the campus a significant amount of money by allowing the university to find unnecessary operations and system instabilities. Campus Operations strives to maintain a sustainable and efficient environment, following guidelines laid out by TPM.