Energy Efficient Purchasing Policy



In December 2005, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill adopted a Sustainability Policy. In this guide to fostering and demonstrating sustainability, Carolina committed to developing "policies, practices, and curricula (which) should, when possible, embody approaches that reduce life cycle costs, restore or maintain the functioning of natural systems, and enhance human well-­being." Continuous improvement in procuring and managing energy - and energy consuming equipment - while fully supporting UNC's mission of teaching, research and public service is part of this commitment.

Reducing unnecessary energy use saves money, curtails air and water emissions, improves overall environmental quality, and promotes human health and well-being.

Aside from the energy consumed to power building systems such as heating, air conditioning, and lighting, energy is also consumed by equipment plugged into electrical sockets. These "plug loads" vary widely but on average consume 30% of the electricity used in laboratory buildings and 20-25% of the electricity used in administrative buildings.

Evaluating equipment purchases in terms of maximizing efficiency can save energy, reduce heat buildup, and demonstrate wise resource stewardship. "Life cycle costs" of using the equipment are reduced, often with no increase in the "first cost" price.

Scope of Applicability

This policy applies to any faculty or staff member at UNC-Chapel Hill who purchases electricity-consuming equipment. Such equipment includes, but is not limited to, computers, appliances, research equipment, motors, pumps, food service equipment, and electronic equipment.


Policy Statement

To take advantage of the benefits outlined in the "Purpose" section above, purchasers of electricity-consuming equipment at UNC-Chapel Hill will henceforth consider energy efficiency as criteria in selecting equipment to be purchased. The purchaser should whenever feasible purchase an item certified under the EPA Energy Star program.

For Energy Star-Rated Equipment

When competitively bidding a piece of equipment, purchasers will insert the following statement in the bid document:

"ENERGY STAR is a government-backed program helping businesses and individuals protect the environment through superior energy efficiency."
Do the products that will be purchased meet the Energy Star specifications for energy efficiency?
Yes ______No  ______  
If NO, provide a justification statement as to why the Energy Star equipment cannot meet the intended function.

For categories of equipment for which there are no Energy Star ratings

Purchasers will insert the following statement in the bid document:

Are the products being purchased among the most energy efficient in their product category?
Yes ______ (Explain how you know.)
No ______ (Explain why you selected this equipment.)
Don't know ______ (No energy efficiency ratings are available for the equipment being purchased.)

State Contracts

It is recognized that the State Purchasing Office does not always consider energy efficiency ratings, such as EPA Energy Star certification, in selecting equipment to be included in state term contracts. For purchases of equipment that are covered under state term contracts in which there is no Energy Star certified equipment, purchasers will determine if Energy Star equipment is available in the marketplace, and if it is, will competitively bid those items considering Energy Star certification as necessary criteria to meet the campus sustainability commitment.


For purchases valued at $5,000 or greater, Purchasing Services will review purchase orders to ensure compliance with this policy. For purchases valued at less than $5,000, departments are encouraged to establish their own internal processes to ensure this policy is followed.



Related Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

Contact Information

Policy Contact

The UNC Energy Conservation Manager is available to assist purchasers in evaluating equipment purchase options. The Energy Conservation Manager can be contacted at 919-962-7283 or at

Other Contacts

UNC-Chapel Hill Purchasing Services
Campus Box 1100
104 Airport Drive, Suite 2700
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
Phone: 919-962-2251
Fax: 919-962-0636

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Article ID: 131334
Thu 4/8/21 9:06 PM
Wed 5/19/21 5:28 PM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Sustainable Carolina
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Chief Sustainability Officer
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
07/01/2020 12:00 AM
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
03/26/2019 12:00 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
03/26/2019 12:00 AM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
03/26/2019 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
07/01/2006 11:00 PM