September 15, 2014

A Stellar Green Summer

UMass Amherst recognized for sustainability initiatives

UMass Amherst scored big wins over the last six months thanks to its sustainability and energy efficiency efforts, bolstering the success which continues to make the campus a top destination of choice for students across the nation and globe.

Chancellor Subbaswamy said, “We have had an incredible season and are proud to be continually recognized as a go-to expert and national leader of the green campus movement.  The opportunities students have to learn, live, and lead sustainably here are phenomenal and we’re incredibly proud of that fact.”

The university was named a 2014 Climate Leadership Award winner by Second Nature, a national nonprofit that seeks to create a healthy, just and sustainable society by transforming higher education.  The university was one of two doctoral granting institutions in the nation to receive the award.  UMass was also simultaneously named state champion in the 2014 Northeast Business Leaders for Energy Efficiency Recognition Program.

The Second Nature Climate Leadership Awards (CLAs) are considered one of the most prestigious sustainability awards in higher education. They are presented annually at the Presidential Climate Leadership Summit to signatory institutions of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) that demonstrate innovative and advanced leadership in education for sustainability and climate mitigation and adaptation.

The CLA nomination was based in part on the in-depth climate related research taking part on the campus and the university’s efforts to infuse sustainability across its curriculum, encourage student-led sustainability projects and investigations, and build partnerships that foster sustainability in the community. This includes running academic programs such as the Sustainable Food and Farming Program, one of the most popular and fastest growing programs offered on the Amherst campus.

The Northeast Business Leaders state champion award, given by Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP), honored one institutional energy customer from each state in the Northeast for its commitment to sustainable innovation and for contributions in keeping the region a national leader in accelerating energy efficiency.

UMass Amherst was nominated by Western Massachusetts Electric Co., which supplies about 25 percent of campus electricity, as its most efficient customer. Other honorees in six states and Washington, D.C., included hotels, hospitals, research institutions and regional and global businesses.

UMass was cited for its comprehensive approach to energy savings in 2013 in new and existing academic and residential buildings, in particular the Life Science Laboratories, a state-of-the-art research space for interdisciplinary teams engaged in cutting-edge research, and the Commonwealth Honors College Residential Complex, two major construction projects completed in 2013.

In addition, with the help of a $6 million dollar grant from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, UMass Amherst launched its new Energy Extension Initiative, designed to serve as a resource on renewable and clean energy options for cities and towns, industry, hospitals, colleges and universities, nonprofits and other organizations across the commonwealth.

The campus is also proud of its second consecutive inclusion in the Princeton Review Green College Honor Roll, placing it among the nation’s top 24 colleges and universities for environmental awareness and responsibility.

With the launch of its new Energy Extension Initiative, the breadth and popularity of its green academic offerings, and the university’s mounting state and national recognition as a climate and energy efficiency leader, UMass Amherst is taking its land grant roots into the 21st century.