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University of Massachusetts Leads Environmental Sustainability Efforts Across All Five Campuses

UMass Trustee Committee Reviews Green Initiatives At State's Public Research University

BOSTON - The University of Massachusetts today announced significant progress towards achieving environmental sustainability, across all five UMass campuses, and renewed its commitment to take further action over the next decade.

A new report presented today to a UMass Board of Trustees committee highlighted sustainability initiatives at the University of Massachusetts, spanning a wide array of green programs at the University - from renewable energy use to green building, recycling efforts, and student involvement in environmental programs.

The presentation to Trustees came approximately 10 months after UMass President Jack M. Wilson signed the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, a national pledge among higher education leaders to neutralize institutional greenhouse gas emissions and to accelerate research and educational efforts geared at addressing global warming. As part of the commitment, the University is measuring its greenhouse gas emissions and developing a campus-by-campus action plan toward the goal of becoming climate neutral.

Over the past year, University leaders, students, faculty, and staff have embraced new sustainability efforts on the University's five campuses and have built upon existing green programs. In 2007 alone, UMass Amherst recycled 3,700 tons of solid waste and 3,995 tons of other materials.

"The Chancellors and I are pleased with the University's environmental sustainability initiatives, and today we are renewing our institution-wide commitment to sustainability and pledging to do more. Not only should the University of Massachusetts continue to be a national leader in energy and environmental research, but we also need to lead by example and reduce carbon emissions on our campuses. As we see today, UMass is thinking and acting green in both small- and large-scale ways and we are seeing very impressive results." said University of Massachusetts President Jack M. Wilson.

The report to Trustees outlined environmental sustainability efforts at UMass in eight areas: construction, energy consumption, renewable energy, transportation, recycling & waste management, facilities maintenance, information technology, and student involvement.

Innovative green programs at University of Massachusetts campuses include:

  • Since 2002, UMass Amherst has reduced its steam consumption by 24 percent, electricity consumption by 9 percent and water consumption by 36 percent
  • UMass Amherst uses biodiesel fuel and has some hybrid vehicles in the campus fleet
  • The designs for the Integrated Sciences Building and Studio Arts Building at UMass Amherst include various green building features
  • UMass Boston's recycling program includes paper, bottles and cans, cardboard, pallets, bulk recycling, hazardous waste recycling and composting. The campus also offers zero-waste dining composting and e-waste recycling.
  •  UMass Boston's student Sustainability Club works to raise environmental awareness and create behavioral change within the campus's student body.
  •  UMass Dartmouth committed to purchasing only Energy star appliances in campus buildings and dorms
  • UMass Lowell signed a 3-year contract to purchase 4,000 megawatts annually of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). RECs provide approximately 95 percent of annual consumption of residence halls.
  • UMass Lowell's custodial staff uses green cleaners for all buildings and dorms
  • UMass Medical School parking attendants use electric vehicles and the campus offers carpooling incentives

The University's green programs are also being designed to meet state mandates and targets. Over the past two years, Massachusetts state leaders have passed a number of nationally-leading environmental and green energy initiatives advancing innovative energy proposals and touting the Commonwealth's preeminence in energy reform and green initiatives. Governor Patrick has signed an energy and environmental bond bill and an executive order requiring state agencies to reduce energy consumption and green house gas emissions.

The environmental sustainability initiatives report was presented to the Board of Trustees Committee on Science, Technology and Research which met in Boston at the UMass President's Office. The University's Board of Trustee Committees on Academic and Student Affairs and Advancement also met today.

Libby DeVecchi


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