Energy Policy



UNC-Chapel Hill is committed to promoting energy efficiency and conservation for the benefit of our students, faculty, staff and community. Beyond reducing utility bills, careful energy management benefits the environment and extends the life of equipment while simultaneously maintaining a comfortable environment for learning and working.

The University has already committed to climate neutrality by 2050. State legislation requires us to reduce energy consumption per square foot 30% by 2015, relative to a 2003 baseline. New buildings must be at least 30% more energy efficient than the current state building code. Petroleum consumption is to be reduced 20% by January 1, 2010 and 75% of new vehicles are supposed to run on alternative fuels. Achieving these goals requires active support and participation by all members of the campus community. Some of the savings will result from infrastructure changes, some from operations and maintenance practices, and some from occupant behavior.

Scope of Applicability

UNC’s distinct categories of behavioral energy conservation are outlined below and are applicable to all members of the UNC community.


Policy Statement

Building Management and Occupancy Schedules

Temperature Set Points
Season Occupied Set Points Unoccupied Set Points
Summer 76-78 deg F 83 deg F max.
Winter 69-71 deg F 64 deg F min.
  • Set points are in accordance with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommendations for occupied spaces (ASHRAE Standard 55).
Occupancy Schedules
Building Type Occupied Time
Standard building type 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., M-F
Gymnasiums In accordance with listed hours of operation
Teaching labs 7 a.m. - 8 p.m., M-F during school year
Residence halls 24 hours per day, except holidays and extended breaks
Libraries 24 hour temperature/humidity control, ventilation control by schedule only
Research laboratories 24 hours per day
  • Operation schedules will be modified in cooperation with the building manager as needed to accommodate non-standard building operations.
  • Humidity limit is 60% in all cases.
  • Occupied set points will be achieved during normal building hours.

Occupant Behavior

  • Dress for the weather.
  • Turn off lights and equipment when leaving a room, even for short periods of time.
  • Departments shall ensure that lights and equipment are turned off in common areas at the end of the workday.
  • Ensure doors and windows are closed overnight and when building is heating or cooling.
  • Unless required for remote access, turn off personal computers and equipment at night; configure to power down automatically when not in use.  

Purchasing Practices

Energy efficiency should be standard criteria in all requests for proposals, specifications, and contracts for products and/or services.

  • Purchase Energy Star rated equipment per the UNC Energy Efficient Purchasing Policy.
  • Purchase and install laboratory equipment that minimizes energy and water use.
  • Purchase fuel efficient vehicles that run on alternative energy sources.
  • Prohibited Equipment includes:
    • Incandescent and halogen lighting without prior written approval from UNC Energy Management.
  • Discouraged Equipment includes:
    • Office refrigerators, hot plates and personal heaters, except as needed to achieve specified temperature ranges and for medical purposes.

Renovation and Construction

  • Renovation and construction projects must comply with the UNC Design and Construction Standards, NC State Building Codes, and NC General Statute 143-64.
  • Manage space to reduce the need for new square footage.
  • Co-locate spaces with high ventilation requirements and place in separate air handling zones.
  • Co-locate spaces with high cooling requirements and place in separate air handling zones.
  • Space management practices should encourage collocating programs with complementary schedules.

Transportation Practices

  • Walk or bike when traveling around campus whenever possible.
  • Use public transportation or carpool whenever possible.
  • Plan activities to eliminate or combine trips and reduce vehicle use.



Related Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

Contact Information

Policy Contact

Sustainable Carolina
100 Europa Drive, Suite 490
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
Phone: 919-966-9922

Other Contacts


Report energy saving opportunities to

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Article ID: 131335
Thu 4/8/21 9:06 PM
Fri 5/6/22 2:38 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.
07/01/2009 12:00 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
07/01/2009 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.
07/01/2009 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
07/01/2009 12:00 AM