UMass, WMECo Sign Agreement for Energy Efficiency Partnership

James Sheehan, center, vice chancellor for administation and finance, signs a memorandum of understanding describing the energy efficiency partnership between UMass and WMECo. Waiting to sign, at left, is Tilak Subrahmanian, vice president of energy efficiency at Northeast Utilities, WEMCo's parent. At right is Mark Sylvia, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources.

AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Amherst and WMECo/Northeast Utilities formally signed a memorandum of understanding on Thursday, May 22 setting specific goals for their continuing partnership, including the reduction of energy consumption on campus by 3 million kWh per year.

WMECo’s assistance under the special partnership includes energy efficiency incentive funding, technical assistance, and outreach/education programs on campus. Under the agreement, plans are being developed to reduce campus energy consumption by more than 2 percent annually for the next three years.

Mark Sylvia, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, noted that UMass Amherst is the largest energy user of any state facility and it “stands as a model” for reducing emissions and increasing energy efficiency.

Sylvia also announced a $75,000 state Leading by Example grant for UMass Amherst for a solar thermal array to preheat boiler water at the campus’s central heating plant. The array will increase operating efficiency.

Other special guests for the signing included Eric Friedman, deputy director of DOER’s Green Communities Division and director of the Leading by Example Program, and state Rep. Ellen Story of Amherst.

Tilak Subrahmanian, vice president and general manager for energy efficiency of Northeast Utilities, signed the agreement for WMECo. James Sheehan, vice chancellor of administration and finance, signed for UMass.

As part of the plan, WMECo will be involved at the early stages in the design of new construction, expansion and additions, and major renovations over 10,000 square feet. The effort targets energy efficiency to be at least 25 percent better than current state code.