Every year UMass Amherst designates millions of dollars for energy conservation projects, which upgrade or replace inefficient physical structures or technologies on campus. The program is designed as an eventual payback system, where the annual savings that the project creates actually pays for the initial cost of the project within seven years. After the initial payback period, the projects will continue to reduce utilities costs.
The Sustainability Initiative works to aid in the selection of projects through the Utilities and Procurement subcommittee of the Environmental Performance Advisory Committee (EPAC). For the 2011 fiscal year, the University funded $3.5 million of energy conservation projects which range from replacing steam lines to installing motion sensors for lighting in the two most heavily used academic buildings, Machmer and Herter. To ensure student involvement in this process, the Sustainability Initiative’s energy programs intern works directly with the Utilities and Procurement subcommittee by attending monthly meetings to discuss possible projects. Interns are chosen based on their knowledge of new technologies, energy conservation and installation issues.
Overall, since its creation in 2005, the University has dedicated $17 million through the E+ Program for a variety of projects across campus. Some of them include steam line replacements, the installation of a 2 MW turbine in our Central Heating Plant, variable frequency drive installations and a $4 million chiller replacement project in 2010. UMass Amherst aims to continue its pledge to reduce energy use well into the future.