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Report Card 2011

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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

School details:

Endowment: $1,905 million as of June 30, 2009

Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina


Campus Survey: Yes (see response)

Dining Survey: Yes (see response)

Endowment Survey: Yes (see response)

Student Survey: Yes (see response)


Please note: Data was collected in summer 2010 and may no longer be current.


Data compiled from survey responses, when available, and from independent research, when needed. For more information on data collection and evaluation, please see the  Methodology section.

Overall grade  
A -
UNC Chapel Hill is committed to sustainability through a formal policy and plan. The Sustainability Advisory Committee has worked on initiatives related to energy, transportation, and waste reduction, and a sustainability office employs three full-time staff. The university regularly purchases Energy Star equipment, EPEAT Gold-certified computers, and environmentally preferable paper products. A four dollar student green fee contributes to a revolving loan fund for sustainability projects.
UNC aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 2000 levels by the year 2020 and has lowered building energy consumption since 2005. Numerous energy efficiency measures have been implemented, including a 32-megawatt cogeneration system, energy-efficient lighting upgrades, and HVAC system upgrades. The university generates renewable energy through on-site geothermal and solar systems.
Dining services spends approximately 20 percent of its food budget on local products. Organic, vegetarian-fed, hormone- and antibiotic-free, and fair trade food products are also purchased, as is sustainably harvested seafood. The university provides a reusable to-go container to every student with a meal plan. Pre- and postconsumer food scraps are composted at all meals, and the university recycles electronics in addition to traditional materials.
All new buildings must meet LEED Silver standards and exceed local efficiency regulations by at least 30 percent. Water use per square foot has decreased 57 percent since 2005 through the installation of dual-flush toilets, low-flow faucets and showerheads, stormwater retention and reuse, and a reclaimed wastewater system.
UNC is home to many sustainability-focused student groups, including the Carolina Garden Co-op; Carolina Environmental Student Alliance; and Fair, Local, and Organic Food. The Sustainability Living Learning Community houses 46 students and coordinates speaker events and field trips. There is a Green Games among residence halls. Seventeen paid student interns work on sustainability issues, and two eco-reps encourage sustainable living habits.
Alternative-fuel vehicles comprise nearly a third of UNC's motor fleet. Under the Commuter Alternative Program, community members who give up their parking permits receive benefits that include a 50 percent discount on the university's car-sharing program fee. UNC partners with Chapel Hill Transit to offer free public transportation for the entire school community both on and off campus.
The university and the UNC Management Company make only asset allocation information available to the public on a password-protected website.
The university and the management company aim to optimize investment returns, and the endowment is currently invested in renewable energy funds. Investment managers who consider environmental and sustainability factors are also used.
The university is unable to vote proxies, as virtually the entire endowment is invested in mutual funds.
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