Past Projects

Solar panels on the UMass Amherst Champions Center

Past Projects

Our green history

Since our founding in 1863 as an agricultural college, environmental consciousness has been a guiding tenet of UMass Amherst. Our campus has long been on the leading edge of sustainability development, education, and research and has always striven to use energy wisely. In the 21st century, we amplified our efforts to educate our students and the world about the greatest environmental danger of our time—the climate crisis.

Projects Happening Now


Future Projects

Aerial of Campus

Carbon emissions reduction

UMass Amherst has reduced campus carbon emissions by almost 30% over the past 15 years by combining aggressive energy efficiency projects, on-site campus renewable energy production, new energy-efficient buildings, energy storage technology, and energy resiliency.

Central Heating Plant at UMass Amherst

Central Heating Plant

In 2009, a new more efficient plant replaced the coal-fired facility that had powered campus since 1918, significantly reducing greenhouse gases. In 2015, we added a solar hot water system to our heating plant and in 2018 we installed a battery storage system.

UMAss Amherst Design Building

Green building guidelines

In 2010, UMass Amherst created guidelines that required all new campus buildings and major renovations to be certified LEED Silver plus.

Electric Vehicle charging station at UMass Amherst

UMass Climate Action Plan

Approved in 2010, this was the first campus document to identify strategies to help the campus reach carbon neutrality.

Wind Center Windmill

Wind Center

In 2011, the pioneering UMass Amherst Wind Energy Center (the first academic wind research center in the US) received a $3.2 million National Science Foundation grant for the training of doctoral students in interdisciplinary wind energy research. 

NE CASC Logo

Northeast Climate Adaption Science Center

Established on campus in 2012 as part of a federal network, this center gathers the scientific information and builds the tools needed to help fish, wildlife, and ecosystems adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Aerial of Campus in Spring

UMass Comprehensive Campus Energy Plan

Released in 2015, this report mapped out the next 10 years of responsible energy usage for the campus.

Student Farm

School of Earth and Sustainability

Established in 2016, SES provides students, faculty, the campus community, and the commonwealth with a central hub for innovation, research, education, and outreach related to sustainability in the natural and built environments. 

Central Heating Plant

Fossil fuel divestment

In 2016, UMass Amherst was the first major university to divest its endowment from direct holdings in fossil fuels.

Tesla Charging Battery in lot 22

Battery energy storage system

In 2019, we installed 360 lithium-ion battery modules that will save the campus a projected $2.5 million in energy costs over the next 10 years.

Campus Tree Plantings

UMass Carbon Mitigation Task Force

The task force was formed by Chancellor Subbaswamy in 2019 and charged with determining how quickly the campus could transition to 100 percent reliance on renewable energy sources.

Wave Energy Lab

Climate change research

Over $175 million in climate change research grants have been awarded to over 100 UMass Amherst faculty members since 2012.

Energy Transition Institute at UMass Amherst  

Energy Transition Institute @UMass Amherst  

This stakeholder-engaged research entity was established in 2021 to enable a fast and fair transition to a decarbonized energy system in the US.