HCN News & Notes

UMass Amherst Decarbonization Collaboration Wins Leading by Example Award

AMHERST — A collaboration among UMass Amherst, UMass Dartmouth, UMass Lowell, and Salem State University to work together to decarbonize each campus has been recognized by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources with a Leading by Example (LBE) Award, which was presented to representatives from each campus at a ceremony earlier this month.

The LBE Awards recognize Commonwealth agencies, public colleges and universities and municipalities, and public-sector staff and volunteers for outstanding efforts related to clean energy and the environment that have resulted in measurable impacts.

The four-campus collaboration began during fiscal year 2020-21, when all four campuses decided to undertake a collaborative strategic planning process to decarbonize their campuses. Representatives from each campus held a series of meetings to allow for a free exchange of ideas, challenges, and lessons learned so that others might get a better result. The group kept various state agencies abreast of their discussions and how the work may affect formulating new policy. The group is also committed to sharing their information with similar institutions and agencies across the commonwealth.

To qualify for the award, the campuses had to meet various criteria, including sustainable practices, environmental benefits, cost savings, and education and outreach efforts.

The UMass Amherst Carbon Mitigation Taskforce is co-chaired by Ezra Small, sustainability manager for the UMass Amherst physical plant; and Dwayne Breger, environmental conservation and clean-energy extension, School of Earth and Sustainability.

“I can’t think of a more important task than to develop a plan that transitions our campus energy system to 100% renewables and zero carbon emissions within the next 10 to 15 years, and I am grateful to have co-chaired the Carbon Mitigation Taskforce for UMass Amherst along with Dwayne Breger,” Small said. “I’m happy to have traded notes and shared best practices with my colleagues at the other awarded institutions to help each other along the way, and I think we are all at the forefront of the most crucial issue of our time of addressing climate change.”