As UNC Pembroke’s first director of sustainability, Jay Blauser sees a very different university 10 years into the future.
Blauser said the university will be generating some of its energy; growing some of its own food; using recycled water on its landscaping; and offering academic classes across campus that address sustainability. The move to campus sustainability will touch every corner of campus and every person on campus will be touched by the move toward sustainability.
That is just the beginning for a university on the road to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. Blauser joined the university in early February and will help guide UNCP towards a future that balances the demands for economic viability, environmental resilience and social equity.
The university’s new chief sustainability officer has hit the ground running, meeting with student, faculty and administrative groups. His first honoring-Earth Day event on April 22 will be a big one, he promises.
“We will roll out several initiatives that day, and the university will sign the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment,” he said. “This is an important nationally recognized agreement with measurable sustainability goals and a timeline to achieve them.”
Guiding Blauser’s work is the comprehensive sustainability policy signed by the UNC Board of Governors in 2009. It sets out a plan for all 17 UNC institutions.
“My first goal this spring is to establish a sustainability committee composed of students, faculty and staff,” he said. “Within a year, we will complete our baseline greenhouse gas inventory, and by year two, we will put our climate action plan in place.”
Blauser and UNCP are part of a larger North Carolina program that is striving to save the state $1 billion in energy costs by 2020. Reducing electricity and natural gas costs represents the biggest potential savings, but that is just one piece of a comprehensive plan, he said.
“The university will begin its second performance contract in 2014, which will be a lighting system upgrade,” Blauser said. “The good news about these programs is the state allows us to roll over the savings into the next energy reduction project, via House Bill 1292.”
The university’s first performance contract was a $4.5 million upgrade to four of its largest buildings that included upgrades to heat and air systems, motion-activated lighting, low flow water fixtures and other improvements. UNCP’s new energy manager, Terry Divine, will coordinate the second contract.
UNCP’s sustainability program will set LEED Silver as the standard for new construction and major renovations. Educating all 7,000 people on campus about what they can do to contribute to the program will be an important aspect of the program.
“We will go into every corner of campus because it is a learning process,” Blauser said. “A sustainability program is so many things. It will be ongoing and never ending.”
Following an honorable six-year stint in the U.S. Air Force, Blauser worked for Fayetteville State University as a construction project manager beginning in 2005.
“The university had formed a sustainability task force, and my boss said sustainability is going to be an important program,” he said. “I volunteered for the task force and became the part-time campus sustainability coordinator, then the full-time director.”
“With a degree in architecture, and a passion for sustainable development and design, this was a natural move for me. It’s been fun,” he said.
A Fayetteville, N.C., native, Jay Blauser earned an associate degree in architectural technology from Fayetteville Technical Community College, a Bachelor of Science degree from Fayetteville State University and a Master of Arts degree in human resources development, focusing on organizational behavior and development from Webster University. He is a certified sustainability manager, certified in stormwater inspection and maintenance and an accredited professional with the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system.
To contact him, please call (910) 521-6509 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. His office is located in Lumbee Hall, Suite 321.