Huston-Tillotson University - 2014

Andy Ferris | University of Texas at Austin

  • Andy Ferris
  • Andy Ferris
Metro Area: 
Austin, TX
Facility Type: 
Academic Buildings | Office Building

Andy Ferris has been instrumental in furthering Huston-Tillotson University’s commitment to addressing global climate change. In 2011, President Larry Earvin signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment demonstrating HT’s dedication to address global climate change. HT is targeting a 50 percent reduction in campus carbon emissions by 2030 and hopes to become one of the most sustainable HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) in the country.

With these sustainability goals in mind, Ferris’s fellowship focused on identifying energy and resource efficiency opportunities across campus by looking at individual buildings as well as campus wide systems. The analysis showed that PC power management software, vacancy sensors, improved recycling policies, campus energy-use monitoring and large-scale rooftop solar installations could help HT achieve its sustainability goals while offering significant financial benefits.

Installing PC power management and vacancy sensors in large facilities could reduce energy costs and improve efficiency in buildings with high energy demands. Restructuring the waste practices on campus would allow the university to achieve significant savings from increased recycling and decreased trash outputs. Implementing a campus energy-use software system could aid HT in monitoring energy consumption and identifying future efficiency opportunities. Finally, the installation of a high capacity rooftop solar array would represent the single biggest step forward in the university’s sustainability goals while offering substantial long-term financial gains.

The specific energy upgrades outlined through Ferris’s fellowship could reduce HT’s total annual emissions by more than 250 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Fellow Profile

The reason I applied for EDF Climate Corps:
I was interested in the EDF Climate Corps fellowship from the start of business school, as I had heard about it from a fellow from the previous year. I was looking for an opportunity to develop my financial skills while remaining in my target industry of CleanTech and sustainability. EDF offered a unique opportunity that was very appealing to me.

A recent professional or volunteer experience I've enjoyed:
I recently had the privilege of working directly with SunPower to evaluate potential utility-scale solar installations here in Texas. It was exciting to work directly with a major solar company and continue to hone my financial skills. It was my first experience working directly in the solar industry and exposed me to the challenges and issues that those companies face.

One skill I hope to make use of this summer:
I hope that I can use my engineering skills this summer. I have been working on my analytical and financial skills for the last year, which I know will be crucial to my success at Huston-Tillotson this summer. However, I am an engineer first, and I am hopeful that I can use my background to come up with unique and successful solutions for my host company.

My favorite class or activity in graduate school:
I have enjoyed my work with the Entrepreneurship Society. I have been exposed to cutting edge technologies and early stage companies. The people working in those industries have a high level of passion that is tough to duplicate in a professional setting.

My favorite outdoor place:
My favorite outdoor place is Lake Coeur 'd Alene in Northern Idaho. My family has been going to Coeur 'd Alene to fish, hike and bike since I was a child. It remains fairly undeveloped, and I enjoy the time I get to spend there experiencing the outdoors.

One thing I hope to achieve:
I hope to eventually own my own business in the CleanTech industry. I believe climate change is the greatest challenge mankind has ever faced, and that there is a responsibility for those who can to pursue opportunities in sustainable business. It is my hope to one day have a business that is successful enough to employ my own EDF Climate Corps fellow.