When James Clayton Lane (’08) was earning his anthropology degree at UNT, he and his roommate, Matt Mayo, philosophy major and childhood friend, spent hours discussing environmental philosophy. Lane saw UNT constructing buildings with green technology on campus, like the Environmental Education, Science and Technology Building.
“Seeing how UNT was leading the way first hand really inspired me to set the bar high,” he says.
Consumed with efficiency
Soon after graduating, Lane worked for Capstone Mechanical and remembers sitting inside a Waco church, analyzing its air conditioning system and mentally engineering how the units could simultaneously heat water.
“It was all starting to click,” he says. “Nothing was efficient enough for me. My mind was constantly consumed with thoughts of how to be more environmentally friendly.”
So he began researching energy efficiency, staying up late reading books on sustainability, and took the knowledge back to his hometown of Wichita Falls and his family’s business, James Lane Air Conditioning and Plumbing. His grandparents started the mechanical contracting company in 1957, and he has been working there for years.
“I’ve gone from sweeping floors and crawling around in attics and ditches to managing the fire sprinkler department,” he says. “Now I install, inspect, test and evaluate fire suppression systems.”
Upgrading for the long haul
Lane is certified as a building energy analyst through the Building Performance Institute Inc., and he is a “Legacy” LEED AP (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional), one of the first accredited. This year, his family’s company was awarded a “Take a Load off Texas” grant to install more than 4,000 square feet of solar panels, estimated to reduce energy consumption by almost 90 percent.
Lane says the company also has upgraded its building for the long haul, with energy efficient lighting, improved ductwork and AC units, and added insulation. He is in the process of certifying the facilities as LEED Gold.
“I didn’t want to just do the bare minimum now only to have to do it all over again later,” says Lane, who is currently guiding the residential services area to a paperless system and developing a life safety plan for the building during a natural disaster.
Doing what you love
His passion continues off the clock. He bought a 1930s house and has been renovating it over the past year for long-term sustainability. Lane also is on the board of Downtown Wichita Falls Development. Promoting business growth and beautification downtown, the group raises money to buy old buildings so new businesses can reuse them rather than build new ones.
Even Lane’s favorite hobby is eco-friendly.
“I’ve been sailing all my life and windsurfing the last few years. When that board planes across the water, there’s just no other feeling than that of awe.”
His advice for UNT students is to “be who you are and do what you love.”
“I’m proud to say the ideals and principles I learned at UNT helped drive me toward a more environmentally friendly future,” he says.