Friday, January 24, 2014

UNC Ranked 8th in the World for Campus Sustainability

The Universitas Indonesia’s annual GreenMetric report rates campuses worldwide on their sustainability programs. For the second year in a row, Carolina ranked 8th in the world and third in the United States out of 301 universities. Campuses were evaluated in six categories: setting and infrastructure; energy and climate change; waste management; water usage; transportation; and education. The Tar Heel Bikes share program and increase in the number of sustainability-related courses were noted among accomplishments and helped Carolina hold its standing. The University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom ranked first, and three other U.S. universities—Northeastern, University of Connecticut, University of California Davis, and North Carolina A&T State University— made the top ten list. To see complete rankings, read more »

EcoReps Student Training, Saturday, January 25

EcoReps are Carolina’s trained peer-to-peer sustainability outreach team. Learn about campus sustainability initiatives that advance ecological integrity, economic prosperity, and social equity. Then learn the skills needed to effectively engage others. Training is scheduled for Saturday, January 25, from 10 am - 3 pm at the FPG Student Union, room 3209, and counts as a Public Service Scholars Skills Training. Email to sign up for the training.

Koury Oral Health Sciences Building Awarded LEED Gold Certification

Established by the U.S. Green Building Council, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction, and operation of high performance, green buildings. The Koury Oral Health Sciences Building achieved LEED Gold certification for incorporating a variety of sustainable strategies, including building orientation to optimize natural daylight, energy efficient fume hoods, and a condensate capture system that basically wrings out building humidity and reuses it for irrigation. The Koury Oral Health Sciences Building is the second campus building to receive Gold certification, following the Genome Sciences Building. LEED certified buildings save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to a healthier environment. View the Koury Oral Health Sciences LEED Scorecard to learn about the high performance building features.

Staff Sustainability Training, Tuesday, February 18, and Thursday, February 20

Sustainability is a core value and top-level priority at Carolina. Success depends on each of us taking an active role. Be the leader in your workplace by learning practical steps to become more economically, environmentally, and socially responsible. This workshop will help participants identify, measure, and promote sustainable change opportunities in their areas. Participants will learn about sustainability goals and initiatives at UNC, become “green events” certified, and learn how to conduct a Workplace Sustainability Assessment. Training is scheduled for two four-hour sessions, Tuesday, February 18, and Thursday, February 20, from 8:30 am - 12:30 pm, at the Administrative Office Building. Register soon, space is limited. Read more »

Bioinformatics Building Currently Ranks #3 in Battle of the Buildings

UNC’s Bioinformatics Building is currently in 3rd place as more than 3,200 competitors in EPA’s ENERGY STAR competition reach the halfway point. The Bioinformatics Building has reduced energy use by 31% in just six months through a variety of strategies, including reprogramming HVAC computer controls, HVAC tuning and optimization, and occupant education and outreach. So far, the top performing buildings of the competition have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 150,000 MtCO2e, which is equivalent to taking more than 31,000 cars off the road. Read more »

2013 Strategic Energy and Water Plan Now Available

2013 marked a year of significant accomplishments in UNC’s energy and water conservation efforts. Energy consumption per square foot has declined 33% since FY 2003 while potable water consumption per square foot has fallen 60% since FY 2000. Other key highlights include:

  • Cogeneration systems efficiently produce both steam – used for heating, humidification, domestic hot water, sterilization, and making distilled water in laboratories – and one-third of the campus peak electrical load. 
  • The new generator at Carolina North converts gas from the Orange County landfill into electricity for the grid. During the first five months of operation, the generator used 42 million cubic feet of landfill gas, and generated over 2.5 million kilowatt hours of power. 
  • Two new laboratory buildings— the Koury Oral Health Sciences Building and the Genome Sciences Building—are designed for minimum energy intensity and are LEED Gold certified. 
  • An integrated non-potable water system, including reclaimed water, stormwater, and condensate, supplies over 175 million gallons of non-drinking water for cooling tower make-up water, toilet flushing, and irrigation. 
The full 2013 Strategic Energy and Water Plan is available online.

New Virtual Resource Focusing on Water

Inspired by the campus “Water In Our World” theme, a new online exhibit explores the role of water in Carolina’s history. Photos and stories document important water features and events on campus. The exhibit is a collaboration between the University Library and the UNC Center for the Study of the American South. Read more »

North Carolina’s First Energy Policy Advisor Named

North Carolina’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources named Donald van der Vaart as the state’s first energy policy advisor. Previously serving as an engineering supervisor with the department’s Division of Air Quality, van der Vaart has an extensive background in energy, along with environmental and regulatory work in academia, state government, and the private sector. Van der Vaart will focus on increasing domestic energy exploration, development, and production in North Carolina, as well as promoting related economic growth and job creation. Read more »

NC State Leads New Manufacturing Hub in Raleigh

North Carolina State University will lead a new high-tech manufacturing hub on campus, collaborating with businesses and universities to develop next-generation power electronics. The Department of Energy is granting $70 million over five years, and participating businesses, universities, and the state will match that amount. The state of North Carolina has committed a minimum of $10 million throughout five years. The initial consortium will seek to invent, design, and make new semiconductor chips and devices for industrial and everyday electronics. Read more »

The Chapel Hill Farmers' Market Now Accepting Applications

The Chapel Hill Farmer’s Market is entering its sixth year at University Mall and is now accepting applications for the 2014 market season. The deadline for applications is January 31, 2014. Read more »

The Pate Scholarship for 2014 Cambridge Field Site

The Pate Scholarship offers financial support for the 2014 Cambridge field site study abroad program. This scholarship is awarded based on merit and need. Students will need to file a FAFSA to qualify. Apply by February 20, 2014. Read more »

The Marine Technology Society Student Scholarship Program

A professional society of ocean engineers, policy makers, and educators, MTS offers scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students studying marine sciences. Applications must be postmarked by April 15, 2014, and are available for MTS student members only. Student Membership for full-time college students and high school seniors and is only $25 per year. Click here to apply for membership. Read more »

Water Environment Federation Canham Graduate Studies Scholarship

The Water Environment Federation Canham Graduate Studies Scholarship provides funding to support education-related expenses. Recipients of the scholarship are expected to work in the water environment field for two years following completion of their degree. Apply by March 1, 2014. Read more »

Carolina in the News

Check out the recent media mentions of sustainability-related programs, practices, and people at UNC:

Carolina is #1 academic value among public campuses for 13th time in a row 
Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine 
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ranks as the number one value in American public higher education for the 13th consecutive year. UNC’s combination of stellar academics, low cost, and generous financial aid has once again bested its peers. For academic quality, UNC competes with elite private schools. Its 28% admission rate—even more selective than last year’s—means that only the most competitive applicants gain entry. Most students graduate on time, with 77% completing their degrees in four years. UNC is the only school on the list to meet 100% of financial need. Read more »

Researchers project N.C. ‘megalopolis’ by 2050 
North Carolina is expected to grow by at least a million people a decade for the next few decades, and researchers are beginning to get a sense of where they're all going to end up. Rebecca Tippett, with the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says it’s projected that, by 2050, there will be a megalopolis – defined as an area that includes several large cities – along the Charlotte, Triad, and Triangle corridor. Researchers at UNC believe city and county planners need to come together to best decide how they want this potential mega-region to look decades from now. Read more »

UNC researchers convert solar energy into fuel 
wunc 91.5 North Carolina Public Radio
The Energy Frontier Research Center at UNC-Chapel Hill has built a system that converts solar energy into fuel, so power can be used even after the sun sets. Instead of storing solar electricity in an expensive battery, researchers use the sun's energy to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen. Chemistry Professor Tom Meyer says the method could be useful and cost-effective for power utilities someday. Read more »

Thanks to UNC News Services for finding these great stories AND compiling the summaries! You can find more UNC media coverage and stories online at
January is National Soup Month. Warm up with a bowl of stewed fresh winter produce from the Farmers’ Market or simmered lentils, split peas, or beans from the bulk section of your local grocer. Make a big pot and freeze for later or share with friends. Here are three hot recipes to bring to a boil.

UNC – Greenhouse Gas Specialist – NC

UNC – Undergraduate Summer Research – NC

UNC – Energy Management – Undergraduate Intern – NC

Advanced Energy – Transportation Outreach Coordinator – NC

East Carolina University – Energy Manager – NC

Conservation Trust for North Carolina – Interns – NC

North Carolina Botanical Garden – Conservation Intern – NC

Farm Labor Organizing Committee – Field Organizer – NC

North Carolina Youth Conservation Corps – Crew Member – NC

Virginia Commonwealth University – Director of Sustainability – VA

John Hopkins University – Associate Sustainability Outreach Coordinator – MD

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Collegiate Leaders in Environmental Health – GA

LearnLab – Research Assistant – PA

Stetson University – Assistant Professor in Environmental Science and Studies – FL

Stetson University – Professor/Department Chair in Environmental Science and Studies – FL

Southern Illinois University – Undergraduate Research Experience in Convergence Ecology – IL

University of Illinois at Springfield – Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies (Sustainability) – IL

Wayne State University – Sustainability Internships – MI

Bard College – MBA in Sustainability – Assistant Director – NY

Bard College – MBA in Sustainability – Graduate Admissions Assistant – NY

Harvard University – Harvard Forest Summer Research Program in Ecology – MA

Plymouth State University – Hubbard Brook Research Experience for Undergraduates – NH

University of Texas at Austin – Environmental Science Institute – Research Experience for Undergraduates in Global Change and Sustainability – TX

University of Texas at Austin – Research Experience for Undergraduates in Subtropical Marine Ecosystems – TX

Kansas State University – Biology Research Experience for Undergraduates – KS

University of Arizona – Biosphere 2 Research Experience for Undergraduates – AZ

Gonzaga University – Director of Sustainability – WA

University of California, San Diego – Engineers for Exploration – CA

University of Central Oklahoma – Research Experience for Undergraduates – Turkey

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Prepare Your Campus Building for Holiday Break

As we look forward to time away from campus, please remember that our building systems continue to operate during the break. With your efforts, we can reduce our environmental impact and costs over the holidays. Read more »

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

University of Mississippi – Foodways Assistant Professor – MS

Washington and Lee University – Director of Sustainability Initiatives – VA

The Chapel Hill and Carrboro Police Departments accept unused or expired medications for safe disposal. Pharmaceuticals should not be flushed down the toilet where they can contaminate the water supply. Read more for Drug Drop Box locations »

Genome Sciences Building Wins Sustainability Award

The U.S. Green Building Council North Carolina Chapter recently awarded UNC’s Genome Sciences Building the 2013 Thomas Edison Award for Sustainability. The new Genome Sciences Building and Bell Tower amphitheater provide a vital link between north campus and the medical school and were built on a former surface parking lot. The LEED Gold building features energy efficient lighting, high-performance glazing, special concrete for thermal performance, integrated shading devices, non-potable water supplies, chilled beams in the laboratories, and a green roof. Read more »

UNC Sophomores Launch Electric Car Shuttle Service

Launched by two sophomore business students, Joey Skavroneck and Parker Draughon, Buzz Rides provides free, late-night transportation to UNC students using a fleet of four, small electric cars. Parties of four or more students can use the taxi-like service for rides to destinations that are within two miles of campus. The founders obtained advice from the 1789 student business incubator and investors funded the vehicles. Buzz Rides also provides mobile, interactive advertising. Read more »

UNC Charlotte Opens Football Stadium as “Zero Waste Facility”

Three games into its inaugural season, the new stadium has achieved an estimated 85-90% waste diversion rate. Guests are allowed to bring in clear, empty water bottles that can be filled at water bottle filling stations and concessions sold at the stadium are either recyclable or compostable. The only available trash cans are located in the stadium restrooms. Read more »

Duke Energy Proposes Clean Energy Purchasing Program

Tech companies with energy intensive data centers in North Carolina, such as Apple, Facebook, and Google, asked Duke Energy to help them meet their climate commitments by selling more renewably sourced electricity. Duke Energy submitted its Green Source Rider to the North Carolina Utilities Commission in November. Large customers will be able to purchase up to 1 million megawatt hours of green energy by paying a premium for the power. Duke Energy Carolinas owns primarily nuclear, coal-fired, natural gas, and hydroelectric plants. The Green Source Rider is expected to accelerate the demand for solar energy projects, which are falling in price. Read more »

Department Of Energy Dedicates Clean Energy Research Center

A new Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) will help manufacturers, utilities, and researchers overcome the challenges of integrating clean energy technology into the current energy infrastructure. Located on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory campus in Golden, Colorado, the ESIF is the nation’s first major research facility to focus on clean energy grid integration and wide-scale deployment. Read more »

UNC Publishes 2013 Campus Sustainability Report

The 2013 Campus Sustainability Report was presented to Chancellor Folt and the UNC community on November 15th, at the Campus Sustainability and America Recycles Day event. This comprehensive assessment of sustainable policies, practices, curricula, and behaviors highlights Carolina’s adoption of sustainability as a core value and strategic planning tool. Key findings include: 

  • Energy saving measures resulted in a 33% reduction in energy use per square foot since 2003. 
  • Investments in reclaimed water, harvested rainwater, and water efficiency have reduced Carolina’s potable water use by 60% per square foot since 2000. 
  • Two new laboratory buildings- the Koury Oral Health Sciences Building and the Genome Sciences Building- are certified LEED Gold.
  • Over 330 undergraduate and graduate courses offer sustainability-related content.
  • Expanded recycling and composting programs and a growing number of “Carolina Green Certified” events are reducing the campus waste stream.
  • The first pan-campus theme, a three-year focus on “Water In Our World,” encourages collaboration and engagement to address the many dimensions of water in our lives.
  • $778 million in research funding provides more opportunities for students and faculty to address the greatest challenges of our times.
  • 25% of food purchased by Carolina Dining Services (CDS) is obtained within 250 miles of campus or is third party certified. 

The full 2013 Campus Sustainability Report is available online through the Sustainability Office website. Please email the Sustainability Office if you would like to receive a hard copy of the report.

Clinton Global Initiative University

The Clinton Global Initiative University engages the next generation of leaders to develop innovative solutions to global challenges. The 2014 conference will take place at Arizona State University in Phoenix, AZ, from March 21-23, 2014. The final application deadline is January 17, 2014. Read more »

C2C Fellows Climate Action Leadership Workshop

C2C Fellows is a national network for students and recent graduates aspiring to sustainability leadership in politics and business. Interactive weekend training workshops cover communication, entrepreneurship, environmental and climate science, media, and other topics. Apply now for the Southeast Regional Workshop, March 21-23, 2014, at the University of Florida - Gainesville. Read more »

Agricultural Innovation Prize

Launched by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the 2014 Agricultural Innovation Prize encourages students to develop innovative solutions to food systems challenges. The competition is open to undergraduate and graduate students across all academic disciplines. Apply by February 28, 2014. Read more »

Carolina in the News

Check out the recent media mentions of sustainability-related programs, practices, and people at UNC: 

Report: Polluted farm runoff linked to toxic green algae slime in U.S. waters 
The Washington Post 
Toxic algae is the byproduct of the same types of pollution that causes dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico and the Chesapeake Bay — phosphorous and nitrogen from livestock manure and chemicals sprayed on crops that spills from farms into waterways during moderate to heavy rains. The effects of polluted runoff are made worse by the changing climate, said Hans Paerl, professor of marine and environmental sciences at the University of North Carolina. “Global warming and intensification of major storms and droughts play major roles in the spread of toxic blue-green algal blooms worldwide.” Read more »

Green energy pays for itself in lives saved from smog 
New Scientist
Switching to clean energy might seem like the expensive option, but it would pay for itself almost immediately, according to a new analysis. By 2050, 1.3 million early deaths could be avoided every year by switching to clean energy. From estimates of how much society values a human life, researchers deduce that new energy supplies should be worth the cost. "The work strengthens the case for these new regulations by pointing out the air quality and health benefits," says Jason West at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who led the analysis. Read more »

Thanks to UNC News Services for finding these great stories AND compiling the summaries! You can find more UNC media coverage and stories online at

University of Arizona – Director of Sustainability Office (Req. #53771) – AZ

Arizona State University – Faculty in Energy Systems and Sustainability – AZ

Arizona State University – Faculty in Environmental Science and Sustainability – AZ

Sightline – Senior Researcher – WA

University of Saskatchewan – Assistant Professor of Sustainable Environmental Management – Canada

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

University of South Carolina – Assistant Professor of Sustainable Resort Development and Management – SC

Savannah College of Art and Design – Professor of Design for Sustainability – GA

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center – REU Summer Environmental Internships – MD

Oberlin College – Assistant Project Manager for Environmental Dashboard – OH

Miami University – Geo/Thermal Operation Manager (Req. #992828) – OH

Knox College – Sustainability Director – IL

Dickinson College – Assistant Professor in Environmental Studies – PA

Bard College – Graduate Admissions Assistant – MS Environmental Policy/MBA in Sustainability – NY

New York University – Sustainability Manager – NY

GreenerU – Sustainability Program Coordinator – MA

Worcester Polytechnic Institute – Director of Sustainability – MA

University of Vermont – Dean-The Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources – VT

University of Vermont – Faculty Position in Power Systems (Req. # 0040985) – VT

University of Vermont – Faculty Position in Complex Systems (Req. # 004087) – VT

Unity College – Sustainability Director – ME

Milwaukee Area Technical College – Associate Dean of Renewable Energy, HVAC, Quality Engineering– WI

University of North Texas – Sustainability Marketing Specialist (Req. #140183) – TX

University of Minnesota – Center for Sustainable Building Research Director (Req. #183907) – MN

Friday, August 16, 2013

Sustainability Social Thursday, August 22, 5 - 7 PM, at the FPG Student Union Art Gallery

Are you Carolina Green? Get involved, find your niche, and help make UNC a more sustainable campus! This is your opportunity to mingle with students and employees from across the University. Learn about Carolina’s many student organizations, departments, academic offerings, and internship opportunities. 

WHO: All new and returning students and employees interested in environmental, social, and economic sustainability. 

WHAT: Representatives from sustainability-related student groups and campus departments will briefly describe their activities and priorities to help you decide where you want to focus your efforts. Sustainable refreshments will be served while you mingle. 

WHEN: 5 – 7 PM on Thursday, August 22, 2013 

WHERE: FPG Student Union Art Gallery (catch the bus

SPONSORS: The UNC Sustainability Office and the Environmental Affairs Committee of Student Government.

You don’t need to wait until the Sustainability Social to be Carolina Green. View the full schedule of Carolina Green events during Week of Welcome.

EcoReps Recruitment Fair Tuesday, August 20, from 4 - 7 PM at Rams Head Plaza

EcoReps are Carolina’s trained peer-to-peer sustainability outreach team. Come learn about campus sustainability initiatives through games and trivia. Be part of a campus-wide student movement to promote environmental quality, economic prosperity, and societal well-being. EcoReps training, scheduled for September 14, counts as a Public Service Scholars Skills Training. Talk with an EcoRep and learn more, Tuesday, August 20, from 4 – 7PM at Rams Head Plaza. Read more »

Sustainability Features Tour Wednesday, August 21, from 4 - 5:30 PM starting at the FedEx Global Education Center on Pittsboro and McCauley

See Carolina’s green roofs, solar panels, and LEED Gold Lab building on a tour narrated by Sustainability Director Cindy Shea. There’s nothing like taking a tour to learn your way around a new city and with 40,000 people on campus, Carolina is a city unto itself. Don’t wait four years to find the coolest places on campus. Meet on the 4th floor of the FedEx Global Education Center at 4 PM Wednesday to get a scoop on some of the most innovative infrastructure and best study and meeting locations on campus.
Moving in? Whether moving to campus for the first time or the last, check out the green dorm room interactive website to learn how to live green on campus. For example, consider renting textbooks or buying used ones- you’ll save trees and money. Also consider repurposing used school supplies or swapping with friends instead of buying them new. And check out the Move-In Guide from the Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling to learn how to reduce waste when you arrive.

Learn to Lead Staff Sustainability Efforts

Sustainability is a core value and top-level priority at Carolina. Be the leader in your workplace by learning practical steps to become more economically, environmentally, and socially responsible. “Making the Workplace More Sustainable,” an interactive staff sustainability workshop, will help participants identify, measure, and promote sustainable change opportunities in their areas. Participants will learn about sustainability goals and initiatives at UNC, become “green events” certified, and have time to plan a Workplace Sustainability Assessment in their work unit. Based on participant feedback, training is scheduled for two, four-hour sessions, Tuesday, September 24, and Thursday, September 26, from 8:30 am - 12:30 pm, at the Administrative Office Building. Register soon, space is limited. Read more »

Have a Sustainability Idea that Needs Additional Support?

Do you have an idea for a sustainability-related campus initiative, program, or project? Need some help identifying the next steps or overcoming existing barriers? The Sustainability Advisory Committee invites students, faculty, and staff to share innovative ideas that will advance campus sustainability. The Committee will review project proposals and provide direct guidance and feedback to promising, feasible initiatives. Submittals received by September 16 will be considered at the September Committee meeting. Send a short description (no more than 500 words) of the initiative you want to make happen to Read more »

It's Easy Being Carolina Green

Start the fall semester with a quick refresher on how you can help Carolina have the greenest year yet. Get an A in Sustainability by: 

1. Recycling aluminum and steel cans, plastic and glass bottles, #2 and #5 plastic tubs, phone books, card stock, junk mail, magazines, newspaper, cereal boxes, frozen food boxes, and softcover books. Carolina separates recycling so bottles, cans, and plastics go in one container, mixed paper in another. Read more »

2. Saving energy. Turn off lights and appliances when leaving the room, close the sash on fume hoods in the lab, and dress appropriately for the season. Set the thermostat to 76 degrees in air-conditioned spaces and 68 degrees in the winter. Read more »

3. Conserving water. Take five minute showers and turn off the water while brushing your teeth.

 4. Getting on board with alternative transportation. Ride a bike, take the bus, walk or carpool. 

5. Reporting energy and water leaks and inefficiencies. Let Energy Management know when you spot a waste by emailing

Carolina Campus Makes Top 50 List of "Most Beautiful Campuses"

UNC Chapel Hill ranked 27th on The Best Colleges list of most beautiful campuses. The list recognizes UNC Chapel Hill’s McCorkle and Polk Place landscaping, along with iconic landmarks, such as the Old Well. Carolina was one of four North Carolina universities to make the Top 50 list. Read more »

Solar Farm Coming to Orange County

A 5-megawatt solar farm, designed and managed by Chapel Hill-based Strata Solar, will be constructed on an unused tract of land in White Cross, NC. With more than 26,000 solar panels, the White Cross farm will be capable of powering up to 750 homes and displacing 4,224 tons of carbon dioxide annually. The solar farm will generate electricity and sell the power output to Duke Energy. Read more »

Triangle Companies Leading the Way to Sustainability

Green business is booming as local companies are increasingly prioritizing energy efficiency in daily operations while providing cleaner, greener goods and services. Clean tech, including renewable energy and transportation technologies, continues to grow even during this prolonged economic downturn. In 2008, Raleigh received a $3.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to help fund solar panels, energy-efficient technology, and hybrid vehicle charging stations. Since then, clean tech companies have invested more than $700 billion in capital and created 2,600 new jobs in the Research Triangle region. Read more »

Harvard Hires Sustainable Investment Vice President after Divestment Campaign

Harvard University has hired its first vice president for sustainable investment, Jameela Pedicini, following a student-led campaign to divest the University’s endowment from fossil-fuel companies. Pedicini will be responsible for researching and understanding environmental, social and governance issues at Harvard Management Company, the university’s endowment arm that oversees more than $30 billion of assets. She also will provide staff support to Harvard University’s Corporation Committee on Shared Responsibility. As the investment officer for global governance with the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, Pedicini advised institutional investors with collective assets of $1.5 trillion. Read more »

Carolina in the News

Check out the recent media mentions of sustainability-related programs, practices, and people at UNC: 

Even sharks no match for invasive lionfish 
NBC News 
It was once thought that natural predators, such as sharks and groupers, could curb lionfish populations by eating or out-competing them for food. A new study shows that this is not the case. “Lionfish are here to stay and it appears that the only way to control them is by fishing them,” said John Bruno, professor of biology in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences and lead investigator of the study. The research has important implications not just for Caribbean reefs, but for the North Carolina coast, where growing numbers of lionfish now threaten local fish populations. First introduced to the Atlantic Ocean by humans, this invasive species has no real predators in the Atlantic. Authorities from Florida to the Bahamas have started organizing fishing derbies as a way to control the lionfish population. Read more »

Hurricane warning system gets boost from UNC-Chapel Hill computer center 
News and Observer (Raleigh, NC) 
Coastal communities will be better informed during hurricane seasons, thanks to a storm-modeling computer program at UNC-Chapel Hill. The Renaissance Computing Institute, known as RENCI, is offering detailed storm-surge data in a format that allows local emergency managers to create their own customized analysis of incoming hurricanes, nor’easters and other weather events, said Brian Blanton, senior scientist and oceanographer at UNC. The Surge Guidance System uses real-time weather conditions, ocean circulation patterns, and wave height to evaluate storm-surge impacts along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. “The typical way you assess storm surge is to look at a big region, but the true nature of the coastline and tidal inlets can have a big impact on how storm surge is going to develop in a specific location,” says Brian Blanton, senior scientist and oceanographer at UNC. Read more »

Worldwide air pollution deaths per year number over 2 million, new study claims 
The Huffington Post 
A new study estimates that 2.1 million deaths each year are linked with fine particulate matter, tiny particles that can get deep into the lungs and cause health problems. Exposure to particle pollution has been linked to early death from heart and lung disease, including lung cancer. "Air pollution is an important problem. It's probably one of the most important environmental risk factors for health," said Jason West, an assistant professor of environmental science at the University of North Carolina and lead study coauthor. The study also found that 470,000 deaths yearly are linked with human sources of ozone, which forms when pollutants from sources such as cars or factories come together and react. Read more »

UNC documentary nominated for Emmy 
The Herald Sun (Durham, NC) 
UNC’s Powering a Nation journalism project, “100 Gallons: How Water Powers Life,” a multimedia documentary about water conservation, has been nominated for an Emmy Award. Available online, the documentary includes videos of everyday experiences with water. “We wanted to create a universal appeal, where you see people of all ages and all backgrounds interacting with water. That was our hook to get people to think about how critical water is to life,” says Josh Davis, the managing editor and video producer on the project, who graduated from UNC in 2012. Read more »

N.C.’s Southern Cricket Frog populations declining 
Jonathan Micancin, a researcher and visiting lecturer with UNC’s Biology Department, has found that the Southern Cricket Frog has been disappearing from the upper coastal plains of North Carolina. “We don’t know yet why this is happening, but we can expect that it does not bode well for amphibians and other animals that share their habitats, including humans,” Micancin said. Some theories for the decline include development impacts on fragile habitats or the inability to survive drought or winter temperature weather conditions. The decline of the Southern Cricket Frog mirrors a disturbing national trend of amphibians disappearing at alarming rates. Read more »

Thanks to UNC News Services for finding these great stories AND compiling the summaries! You can find more UNC media coverage and stories online at

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Water Institute – Undergraduate Research Position – NC

Carolina Recycling Association – Executive Director – NC

North Carolina Conservation Network – Toxic Free NC – Executive Director – NC

North Carolina Sea Grant and the Water Resources Research Institute of the University of North Carolina – Deputy Director – NC

TableNC – Part-time IT Consultant – NC

Wake Forest University – Program Director of the Master Arts degree program in Sustainability – NC

City of Charlotte – Storm Water Quality Project Coordinator – NC

University of South Carolina – Office of Sustainability – Student Services Program Coordinator, Req.# 005786 – SC

Virginia Tech University – Campus Energy Manager – VA

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water – Climate Read Water Utilities – Postgraduate Internship – Washington DC

Florida State University – Director of Campus Utilities – FL

Oberlin College – Assistant Professor of Environmental Politics and Policy – OH

Yale University – Office of Sustainability – Sustainability Fellow – CT

Tufts University – Global Development and Environment Institute – Senior Researcher – MA

Sustainable Endowments Institute – Research Fellowship – MA

Rochester Institute of Technology – Golisano Institute for Sustainability – Pollution Prevention Institute – Marketing and Communications Program Coordinator – NY

State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry – President – NY

University of Louisiana at Lafayette – Director of Sustainability – LA

Portland Community College – Office of Equity and Inclusion – Director – OR

University of Washington Tacoma – Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies – WA

Climate Corps – Bay Area Fellow – CA

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Carolina in the News

Check out the recent media mentions of sustainability-related programs, practices, and people at UNC: 

Tax incentives for GE expansion a win-win 
Star News (Wilmington, NC) 
GE Aviation is investing $195 million to expand four facilities in North Carolina and add 240 jobs by 2017. GE Aviation’s investment will help secure North Carolina’s future as an aerospace manufacturing hub. John Kasarda, director of the Center for Air Commerce at UNC–Chapel Hill, commented that these advanced materials manufacturing sites “are the leading sectors, the fastest-growing parts of the industry.” “They are cutting edge, and I think it bodes well for the future of the aerospace business in North Carolina.” Read more » 

Thanks to UNC News Services for finding these great stories AND compiling the summaries! You can find more UNC media coverage and stories online at

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Planning a barbecue or summer soirée? Consider an eco-friendly grill to decrease your barbecue’s carbon footprint. Traditional charcoal grills release the most carbon monoxide and ground-level ozone. Cleaner propane and electric grills are less harmful, while solar-powered grills are truly green. Read more »

Green Residence Hall Room Virtual Tour

Preparing for Move-In? Take a tour of this Green Residence Hall Room to help plan your packing and shopping lists. Learn about sustainable items to bring to campus and how to live green once you’re here. Whether you're an incoming first-year, transfer student, or graduating senior, you play an integral role in advancing sustainability on campus. Read more »

UNC Tapped to Transform STEM Education

Carolina has been named one of eight project sites to improve the quality of undergraduate education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The Association of American Universities (AAU) awarded $500,000 to bolster an ongoing initiative in the College of Arts and Sciences to enhance introductory science education in biology, chemistry, and physics. Innovative instructional techniques and technologies will flip the format of large classes so that lectures are viewed before coming to class and scheduled meeting times involve interactive activities. The grant will enable UNC to hire additional science education lecturers and provide training for both junior and senior faculty through the Center for Faculty Excellence. The AAU plans to create a national STEM network to share best practices. Read more »

McCrory Cheers on UNC Energy Savings

Governor McCrory is praising energy-saving efforts that will avoid $25 million in costs at 13 UNC campuses. The collaboration, coordinated by the UNC General Administration and the State Energy Office, will result in the installation of more than 100,000 lighting fixtures in classrooms, residence halls, and other University facilities. Cree, a local manufacturer of LED lighting, will be a primary subcontractor. The cost of upgrading the light fixtures is guaranteed to pay for itself in seven years. Read more »

Pittsboro Students Build Sustainable Cottage

Sustainable technology students at Central Carolina Community College recently completed construction of the 450-square-foot “Chatham Cottage.” Built to Energy Star standards and equipped with low-flow plumbing fixtures and green building materials, the cottage encourages sustainable living. The cottage was funded by a $30,000 grant from the Progress Energy Foundation. The proceeds raised from auctioning off the house will fund next year’s building project. Read more »

Ag Officials Tour Locally Grown Food Hub in Durham

U.S. Department of Agriculture officials recently visited Durham’s Eastern Carolina Organics (ECO) to learn about an emerging business model for distributing regionally grown, mostly organic food to the larger wholesale market. ECO markets and distributes food from farms around the Carolinas and Virginia to restaurants, institutions – including Carolina Dining Services, and retailers. Firsthand Foods, a company which uses a similar wholesale model for the distribution of ethically raised livestock, shares the warehouse space. “There are very few [small] scale producers who are able to access wholesale markets,” said Sandi Kronick, ECO’s chief financial officer. “We give local farmers the strength to help them keep growing.” Read more »

Solar Lending Heats up for N.C. Banks

In the last couple years, North Carolina-based banks have put tens of millions of dollars into solar and other alternative energy projects. After installing a 1.7- megawatt solar array atop its corporate data center, Raleigh-based First Citizens Bank has financed $12 million for nine solar projects since 2011. State and federal tax credits for alternative energy have also attracted investors looking to offset tax liability. Solar developers say financial institutions are a leading source of equity financing. Read more »

Yadkinville Plant Makes Polyester Yarn from Recycled Plastic Bottles

High-tech yarns and fabrics are currently the heart of North Carolina textile manufacturing. Unifi Manufacturing Inc. spins yarn from ground-up plastic bottles and other polyester waste at its Yadkinville plant. Plastic pellets, formed when the bottles are melted down, are extruded through the tiny holes, and joined into threads of various shapes and thicknesses to achieve different textures and lusters. Last year, the Yadkinville plant recycled more than 410 million plastic bottles for yarn. Read more »

Colorado Energy Saving Mortgage Program Provides Incentive for Zero Net Energy Homes

Colorado is set to create more construction jobs, increase state and local government tax revenue, and move its housing market to Zero Net Energy (ZNE) homes, which produce as much on-site energy as they consume. The Energy Saving Mortgage Program offers an $8,000 incentive to ZNE homebuyers. Homebuyers will also benefit from lower energy bills. Read more »

Oregon Legislature Unanimously Passes Tuition Free Higher Education

Hoping to alleviate the burden of student loan debt, Oregon has passed a plan to provide tuition-free education at state universities. Advocates of the plan describe it as a “pay it forward” model. Students will attend state universities free of charge then pay three percent of their paycheck for 24 years to fund the program for future students. The bill passed the Oregon legislature unanimously the same day that the interest rate on federally subsidized Stafford Loans doubled from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Read more » 

Innovative Carbon Use Challenge

The Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation invites proposals for technologies that convert greenhouse gases into valuable carbon-based products. Selected proposals will receive CAD $500,000 funding in seed grants. Apply by July 31. Read more »

Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group – Executive Director – NC

University of Virginia – Associate Director of Sustainability – VA

Stormwater Utility Administrator – VA

Consortium for Ocean Leadership – Senior Policy Manager – DC

Brown University – Energy and Environment Programs Outreach Coordinator – RI

Florida Gulf Coast University – Postdoc/Research Associate Position Wetland Biogeochemistry – FL

Rochester Institute of Technology – Golisano Institute for Sustainability – Pollution Prevention Institute – Marketing and Communications Program Coordinator – NY

State University of New York – Office of Sustainability – Project Assistant – NY

Worcester Polytechnic Institute – Director of Sustainability – MA

Emerson College – Associate Director-Coordinator of Wellness Education – MA

Curry College – Diversity Coordinator – MA

Yale University – Yale Sustainable Food Project – Communications Coordinator – CT

Macalester College – Facilities Services – Director – MN

Verdis Group – Senior Associate – NE

University of Texas at Austin – Zero Waste Coordinator – TX

Strategic Energy Innovations – Assistant Project Coordinator – CA

Farmer Foodshare – Volunteer – NC

Read more » Contact Katy Phillips

HOPE Gardens – Volunteer – NC

Read more » Contact Amanda Wilkins