In October 2012, I was approached by the University of Montevallo Director of Facilities and Energy Officer to assist them in researching and creating new policies that would allow UM to reach compliance with Alabama Governor Robert Bentley’s Executive Order 25, which mandates that all state institutions reduce their energy expenses by 30% from 2005 levels by 2015.
Since UM is a member of COPLAC, I first conducted research into all 26 national COPLAC schools, to see where these universities stood in terms of various energy-efficiency and waste reduction policies. I then expanded this research to include Alabama’s public higher-ed institutions, and multiple campuses associated with the American Association of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). Here’s the executive summary of that research.
From this research, I then worked collaboratively with UM ‘s Energy Officer to create a list of policy recommendations, which were then presented to and approved by our Director of Facilities and Vice President of Financial Affairs.We called it our Energy-Efficiency Policy Portfolio.
At their direction, from my role as a Senator in our Student Government Association, I wrote a resolution requesting the formation of a new campus committee with the directive of creating an implementation plan for these policies, for final top-level administrative approval. I also worked with the UM Environmental Club to collect over 300 letters of support from UM students (10% of our campus population) to show widespread student support.
This resolution was then presented by myself to our campus’ Faculty-Senate, who gave full endorsement and passed on a list of student recommendations for the charge, composition, and timeline of the committee to our campus President.
Along the way, I expanded the charge of the committee, so that the new “Energy Expenses and Waste Reduction Committee” could be a standing committee, and continue to support new projects at UM long after I was gone. To this end, I secured a commitment from Alabama Power Company to support a no-cost, no obligation energy audit of campus, opened the door for further corporate innovation and buy-in, and a directive to explore the creation of new internal funding mechanisms to support energy savings projects with a guaranteed Return On Investment.
I worked with a good friend and designer to create the additional reports that will help them move forward for future progress, which are both listed below: