Planning Process

The Carbon Mitigation Plan is the result of over a decade of work by UMass Amherst (UMA). In 2007,
former UMA President Jack M. Wilson signed the American College & University Presidents’ Climate
Commitment (ACUPCC), which committed the five UMass campuses to developing a plan for reaching
carbon neutrality. Since signing onto these commitments, UMA has been active in tracking and reducing
its carbon emissions. UMA finalized its first climate action plan in 2010 and in 2015 UMA developed a
Comprehensive Energy Plan. UMA has been successful in reducing campus carbon emissions by almost
30% over the past 15 years with an approach combining aggressive energy efficiency projects, on-site
campus renewable energy production, net zero buildings, energy storage technology, and energy

Over the past two years, UMA has dedicated additional resources to carbon mitigation planning with the
Chancellor’s charge for this plan in the spring of 2019 as the cornerstone of the work. The charge is a
result of both student advocacy and administrative leadership. UMA Student Government and the UMA
student chapter of Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (MASSPIRG) have carried out
conversations with the Chancellor on ways the institution can take action on global climate change
through its operations and the Chancellor's Sustainability Advisory Committee (CSAC) had in 2017
identified “Emission Reduction Plan” as one of the six top sustainability priorities for the campus.

CSAC formed the Carbon Mitigation Taskforce (CMTF) in the spring of 2019 to carry out the Chancellor’s
charge and the taskforce is made up of diverse stakeholders across the institution, with student, staff, and
faculty representation, see Table 1. The CMTF hired a consulting team in the end of 2019 to carry out this
technical feasibility study and support the CMTF with campus engagement. It has been a 12-month
collaborative process between the consulting team and the CMTF to create an accurate baseline,
complete rigorous feasibility assessments, and ensure community engagement throughout the process.

The planning process managed by the consulting team took place over five major stages:

  1. Discovery and Decision Criteria: Worked with CMTF members and UMA energy and sustainability staff to gather data, previous studies, and current plans to develop the business-asusual (BAU) reference case. Also worked to define values and boundaries for the study to answer the Chancellor’s charge which can be found in Appendix A. The CMTF also created a terms and definitions list to ensure transparency and a shared understanding of solutions, concepts, and carbon mitigation specific vocabulary which can be found in Appendix B.
  2. Solution Development: Worked with CMTF members, subcommittees, UMA staff and other third-party consultants to compile ideas for projects, programs, and other system change into the list of solutions considered. Met with smaller groups to refine ideas and core assumptions for either ruling out ideas or advancing them to the analysis stage.
  3. Scenario Analysis: Grouped solutions into portfolios to model the carbon mitigation impacts and life-cycle cost-benefits of different combinations of solutions. Results were shared at early and later stages of refinement through informal and formal presentations with UMA subject matter experts, formal UMA working groups, and CMTF members. Input from these groups helped the consulting team refine modeling assumptions and develop the final draft outcomes and recommendations for this plan.
  4. Stakeholder Engagement: Shared final draft outcomes with community and UMA stakeholder groups. Common questions and feedback from this group helped shape this report the final formal presentation library.
  5. Report and Recommendations: Create this report and a library of supporting presentation materials to answer the Chancellor’s Charge, recommend a preferred strategy and outline implementation phasing for leadership consideration.

The CMTF identified three areas of importance for a CMP that were beyond the scope of the consultant
assessment but important for implementation of a CMP: engagement, policy, and detailed building
assessments. The CMTF created three sub-committees of CMTF members to dive deeper into the three
campus-specific topics and the sub-committees have met throughout the 12-month process, reporting
updates to the CMTF and collaborating with the consultant team. The main goals of the sub-committees
were to provide additional information to inform the planning process beyond the required data and
information to the consultants, and to outline recommendations to inform the next steps for carbon
mitigation. The engagement sub-committee also worked closely with the consultant team to carry out
engagement with the UMA community. The recommendations to UMA from the engagement and policy
sub-committees are included in Appendix C and Appendix D, respectively.

The CMTF held monthly meetings with the consultant team, in which the sub-committees and consultants
provided updates and the taskforce offered feedback and direction. The process and outcomes of each
meeting have been documented by the taskforce. The co-chairs of the taskforce have also held weekly
check-in calls with the consultant team, and set-up additional meetings with key-stakeholder groups
throughout the process to confirm assumptions, request data, and ask for input.

This report provides the results of the twelve-month process to answer the Chancellor’s charge and
provides a carbon mitigation plan. Creating a plan is just a start to UMA’s carbon mitigation, and the next
sections of this report outline the outcomes of the engagement process as well as the technical process of
data collection, analysis, and conclusions.