Susan S. Kaplan
Marketing & Outreach Coordinator, Department of Energy Resources
Massachusetts’ flagship university is now the flagship for greenhouse gas emissions reductions! Recently honored with a 2010 Leading by Example Award, the University of Massachusetts Amherst has successfully reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by a remarkable 26% from its baseline (2002-2004). As the largest energy user among state facilities, generating some 20% of total state government greenhouse gas emissions, this is quite an achievement.
Inspired by Governor Patrick’s Executive Order 484: Leading by Example—Clean Energy and Efficient Buildings, UMass Amherst met the 25% reduction goal three years ahead of the Governor’s 2012 deadline. The campus achieved this milestone through a combination of building efficiency measures, conversion to a 10 MW natural gas co-generation power plant, and the elimination of its coal-fired power plant. The University’s co-generation facility provides all of the campus’ heating needs and up to 75% of its electricity needs. As a result, UMass Amherst reduced its GHG emissions by 42,000 metric tons, which is equivalent to the emissions from approximately 8,000 cars on the road for one year. In addition, with the installation of the new combined heat and power plant, the campus avoided consuming 40 million kWh of electricity from the grid (a 50% reduction!).
As state agencies and institutions embrace clean energy, tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars are being saved now and into the future. Smart, economical, and good for the environment, a clean energy revolution is indeed underway in Massachusetts and state government is leading by example!