Alumni Interview: UNH's Campus Energy Manager, Matt L'Heureux

In 2017, Matt L'Heureux graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a dual B.S. degree in Environmental & Resource Economics and Sustainability.  As UNH's Campus Energy Manager, Matt serves as the principal advocate for energy conservation and utilization for the Durham campus. He is currently a LEED Accredited Professional for Building Design and Construction and a Building Performance Institute certified Building Analyst Professional. Matt was recognized for his sustainability work on campus as part of the Campus Energy Outreach Initiative team, who received a bronze Sustainability Award in 2022.

An alumnus of UNH, Matt reflects on his Sustainability Dual Major (SDM) experience and offers advice to current students interested in sustainability. 

UNHSI: Did you have an “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to learn more about sustainability? 

Matt: I originally gained interest in sustainability during a high school internship with the NH Homebuilders Build Green Council. However, it was not until my sophomore year at UNH when exploring a range of sustainability courses that I realized sustainability is a lens to view the world through. From here I knew that furthering my education in sustainability would not only have a positive impact on myself, but also any organization I was a part of in the future. 

UNHSI : Can you provide an example of what your experience in the SDM meant for you? 

Matt: Coming from an Environmental & Resource Economics background it was great to interact with students all over campus with diverse majors that cared about sustainability. This really helped to reinforce the concept of interdisciplinary studies and not working in silos. It had the effect of pulling together everything I learned over four years and showing me how that could be applied in the real world. 

UNHSI: How are you applying what you’ve learned through the SDM to your current job? 

Matt: My focus in sustainability has been in the built environment. In these roles I’ve dealt with many interested parties (customers, engineers, consultants, sales, utilities, general contractors, subcontractors, etc.) and sometimes all of them on the same project. The SDM has given me tools to interact with these individuals as a group as well as to understand nuances within each discipline.  

UNHSI: Are there any particular SDM classes and/or key concepts that have really stuck with you or inspired you? 

Matt: Interdisciplinary collaboration, systems thinking, “10,000 foot approach”… these are a few of the concepts I think about often. It is truly quite easy to become focused on your little piece of the pie and where you fit in. The reality is the hardest problems can only be solved by a team of individuals and if you can help facilitate that you will have a huge leg up. 

UNHSI: What advice do you have for students of sustainability interested in working in your field? 

Matt: Network, network, network, and try new things. There are a lot of opportunities in sustainability and new ones appearing every day and having a broad network will help you find those opportunities. Also, never hesitate to reach out and express interest in a company or shadowing there may not be an open position, but you never know where it could lead. As the industry grows there is a lot of need for talented people within organizations even if they are not actively searching. 

UNHSI: Anything else you would like to add? 

Matt: I am always happy to help individuals find new opportunities they are passionate about in Sustainability. Add me on LinkedIn and if there is someone I can introduce you to or a topic I can help shed light on, I will!