Reporting System

Progress Report for University of Massachusetts Amherst

Submitted on Jan. 12, 2012; Last updated on Jan. 13, 2012

The Progress Report is intended to help signatories assess and track progress toward the goals outlined
in their Climate Action Plans and to share that progress with their stakeholders and the general public.

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General Statement of Progress

Since publishing the CAP, the University has hired on it's first full time Sustainability Manager and has grown the Campus Sustainability Initiative. The Environmental Performance Advisory Committee has been able to advance projects throughout campus and the University achieved STARS Gold in August of 2011. The campus has continued to green it's operations, specifically reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increased recycling rates, development of green building guidelines and new, innovative renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, alternative transportation programs like the bike share program and carpooling options for the campus community, and the continuation of supporting local food systems and creating them here on campus. Students continue to lead the charge in sustainability, which will be key to the success of these efforts. More and more students have shown interest in participating in the Sustainability Initiative through interning or the Eco-Rep program. There has been advances and there are pending advances in integrating sustainability into academics and research, specifically the proposal of a Five College Certificate of Sustainability. Teh University is making a concerted effort to elevate UMass towards the top of New England institutions to study sustainability and develop the skills necessary to tackling the complex problems of today's world. University Relations and Student Engagement have also shown support and commitment to Sustainability. The Office of Student Affairs and Campus Life and University Relations have shown new leadership in sustainability events and support for student organizations. The University will be bringing in a new Sustainability Communications & marketing Manager in early 2012.

A major challenge and opportunity stands before the University as we move into 2012 and beyond. Over the next few years the campus is going to grow at an unprecedented rate. New laboratory buildings and dormitories will be coming online. The Master Plan shows 1.8 million new square feet of construction by 2016. The campus must find a way to continue to accommodate this growth and stay competitive while also lowering the impact we have on our natural systems. Sustainability is the buzz word on campus and many different people and departments on campus are getting involved. However, there must be a strategic plan for managing this involvement, prioritizing and advancing the actions needed, and financially and administratively continuing to support the growth of the sustainability movement on campus. The Sustainability Manager who chairs the Environmental Performance Advisory Committee to the Chancellor will be leading these strategic planning efforts with students, faculty, and staff and will present an annual CAP Update to the Chancellor each year to show how we got here, where we are now, and where we are going.

GHG Emissions & Reduction Targets

Climate Neutrality Target Date: 2050
Interim Milestone Emission-Reduction Target Target Date Baseline*
8% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2016 relative to baseline emissions in 2008
16% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2020 relative to baseline emissions in 2008
[click to view Climate Action Plan - Climate Action Plan 2.0]

GHGs summary

GHGs for University of Massachusetts Amherst
Reporting Year Gross Emissions Net Emissions Full Time Enrollments Total Bldg. Sq. Ft. [action]
2008 130896.0 130896.0 25873.0 10309326.0 [ view ]
2010 120448.0 120448.0 27569.0 10815173.0 [ view ]
2012 138146.0 138146.0 28236.0 11209664.0 [ view ]
2013 153758.38 153758.38 26851.0 11401341.0 [ view ]
  • Change in GHG gross emissions


  • Change in GHG emissions per 1000 sq.ft. building space


  • Change in GHG emissions per full time enrollment (FTE)


Education, Research, & Community Engagement


  • How is your institution making climate neutrality and sustainability a part of the curriculum and other educational experiences for all students?

    Since signing into the ACUPCC, UMA has taken significant steps in integrating sustainability into curricular and extra-curricular activities. The Campus Sustainability Initiative was founded in 2008 by then student Josh Stoffel who later became the Sustainability Coordinator, started the Eco-Rep program. Designed to promote student facilitated learning around issues of sustainability, the Eco-Rep Program focuses on peer-to-peer education in residence halls. The curriculum was eventually redesigned to have more emphasis on internal development of Eco-Reps knowledge of sustainability. Over 50 student participate in the Eco-Rep program each semester focusing on issues such as utilities conservation, responsible consumption, and industrial agriculture/food systems. In addition to Eco-Rep Program the Initiative now houses 15 Student Interns each semester who serve on the Environmental Performance Committee (EPAC) Sub-Committees and perform research on topics ranging from waste reduction to transportation and have the opportunity each semester to make recommendations for greening the operations on campus. The Initiative also employees four paid Interns each semester, an Eco Rep Coordinator, the Student Sustainability Coordinator, the Communications Coordinator, and the Energy Coordinator. Students also serve on the Student Steering Committee, which meet bi-weekly to discuss issues on campus and act as a link for student concerns to the administration. The Campus Sustainability Manager, who was hired by UMA in Fall of 2011 oversees the Initiative and Chairs EPAC.

    The Sustainability Manager and faculty members along with current students are re-working the "sustainability pipeline" for undergraduate students to integrate the Eco-Rep Program and Internship Program into a 4 year pathway that includes courses such as Sustainability & Social Justice, Leadership & Activism, Critical Pedagogy, and Grassroots Organizing as well as an added Intern position in Environmental Justice.

    Staff and faculty are currently working with the Office of the Provost to increase the amount of graduates in departments with sustainability learning outcomes by proposing that the General Education requirements for each major include at least one course with a sustainability focus or relation.

    Efforts are being made to integrate sustainability into every aspect of the curriculum. Currently, a committee of staff, students and faculty are proposing for the UMA approval of the Five College Certificate in Sustainability Studies. UMA now has the Master of Science in Sustainability Science, which gives students the training they need for a sustainability-focused career in industry, government, or the non-profit sector. The curriculum consists of 4 core courses and 2 seminars covering the foundations of sustainable systems (environmental, social,/urban and economics/politics). Concentrations include Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, Environmental Quality, Water Sustainability, and Urban Sustainability. The UMA website offers an updated Green Courses List each semester here (

    The Student Farming Enterprise Program in the Plant, Soil and Insect Science department provides students the knowledge base, combined with the hands-on learning in organic farming and business development on the campus organic farm where they grow produce for campus consumption, run a student led CSA and most recently a student run Farmers Market on campus. In both Winter session and Spring of 2011-2012 Sustainable Food & Farming program will be offering new courses from Urban Agriculture to Botany, to Food Justice and Policy.

    Most recently the new Integrated Concentration in Science (iCons) was launched, which is a 4 year science program that focuses on teamwork on real-world problems, applications-directed case studies, discovery-based project labs, peer mentoring, and student driven collaborative learning. It offers a focus on Global Challenges and Scientific Solutions in the first year of the curriculum, Integrating Communication in the 2nd year, Discovery Lab in the 3rd year, and a Capstone Project in the final year.

    In Spring of 2012 the Campus Sustainability Initiative will be introducing a Green Games into the dorms, which will utilize social networking and energy dashboards for real time metrics for students to track energy consumption in competitive teams throughout the semester.

    In Spring of 2012 the USGBC MA Chapter – West Branch will be offering an ECO 696: Independent Study: LEED Exam Preparation for students to prepare to become LEED Green Associates. This course is just one offering from the new Building, Construction & Technology. Graduates of the Building and Construction Technology program help provide the required leadership and vision through their understanding of this technically competitive field. The study of science, business, and design serve as the base for expertise developed in this program of study which offers courses ranging from Energy Efficient Housing to Sustainable Sites to Retro-commissioning.

    Other academic programs at UMA that offer sustainability related courses and majors include Architecture & Design, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Environmental Conservation, Environmental Health, Food Science, Forestry, Geosciences, Journalism, Landscape Architecture, Natural Resources Conservation, Resource Economics, Plant Biology, etc. The University Without Walls now offers an online major in Sustainability Studies including courses in Funding Sustainable Enterprises, Intro. to Ecology, and Introduction to Sustainable Entrepreneurs.

  • Education methods in use

    • Other - UMA currently identifies sustainable related and focused courses and is in the process of proposing to include learning outcomes into every major.

  • Does your institution offer an undergraduate degree program(s) related to climate change/sustainability?

    see STARs report for University of Massachusetts Amherst

  • Does your institution offer an undergraduate degree program(s) related to climate change/sustainability?


  • Does your institution offer a graduate degree program in climate change/sustainability?

    see STARs report for University of Massachusetts Amherst



  • If applicable, how is your institution expanding research efforts toward the achievement of climate neutrality research?

    The Environmental Institute (TEI) is currently working with the Vice Chancellor of Research & Engagement to reorganize and better communicate the sustainability research opportunities at UMA and connect research initiatives across campus. There are number of National Research Centers and Institutes at UMA that students can conduct research and participate in relating to climate neutrality, including the Wind Energy Center, Polymer-Based Materials for Harvesting Solar Energy (PHaSE), the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (CEERE), the Center for e-Design and Realization of Engineered Products and Systems, Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA), Fueling the Future Center for Chemical Innovation - Fuel and Solar Cells, Environmental Biotechnology Center (Geobacter Project), Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC), The Northeast Climate Science Center, and micro-biotic bio-fuel production is being developed in the Department of Microbiology.

  • Does your institution have a program to encourage student climate and or sustainability research?

    see STARs report for University of Massachusetts Amherst

  • Does your institution have a program to encourage faculty climate and or sustainability research?

    see STARs report for University of Massachusetts Amherst

Community Engagement

  • How is your institution expanding community outreach efforts toward the achievement of climate neutrality?

    Two specific engagement initiatives that should be highlighted here is the "IdeaLab: A Sustainable University" program taking place during Spring 2012 and the Five College Blue Sky Initiative also taking place in Spring 2012. IdeaLab is a collaboration between the Office or the VC of Research & Engagement, the Campus Sustainability Initiative and is facilitated by the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA). Idealab is a new, intensive, experiential workshop for students that takes you through a highly dynamic process proven to create viable initiatives and business concepts. Students will explore ideas in a highly creative environment, learn to evaluate them and quickly iterate to come up with the best solution to a problem or opportunity. This is open to undergraduate or graduate students passionate about protecting and preserving the planet and interested in learning how to create an innovation or viable business that addresses critical sustainability issues on the UMA campus. The BlueSky Initiative was initiated by the Five College Board of Directors who have issued a call for ideas for new initiatives and programs in academic, co-curricular, and operational aspects of sustainability. The Campus Sustainability Initiative and the Sustainability Manager will take the lead on this initiative at UMass Amherst. Over the next few months during Spring 2012 semester, it will convene a set of Blue Sky meetings of faculty members, administrators, staff members, and students to brainstorm possible programs and projects spanning the curricular and co-curricular lives of our students and the administrative and operational activities on each of our campuses, among our campuses, and in our region. UMA will provide an online survey and offer two open forum meetings that will be led by the Environmental Performance Advisory Committee. The Sustainability Manager and other sustainability staff and faculty are now working with a number of organizations and departments on campus relating to service-learning and community service activities and public policy engagement. The sustainability curriculum for the Eco-Rep Program and Sustainability Initiative Internship Program is being constructed by a collaboration with staff from the UMass Alliance for Community Transformation (UACT). UACT is a unique partnership of UMass students, faculty and members of grassroots community organizations that works together to design programs that build community, promote social and economic justice, advance cross-cultural understanding and serve the educational and civic objectives of our Land Grant University. Students interested in sustainability will now engage more in the UACT principles of building a practical understanding of community organizing as a tool for social change, developing and practicing critical and liberatory pedagogies and popular education while building learning communities, exploring concepts of privilege, oppression, and identity on individual and structural levels, developing student leadership through student facilitation and overall programmatic participation, building student commitment toward social justice, and build mutually beneficial partnerships with community groups organizing for social change. The goal for this collaboration is to create more sustainable leadership in the student body to advance the goals of the Sustainability Initiative and ensure that the student involvement continues each year, and to increase the number of students in UACT's collaborations with communities in Massachusetts and beyond, specifically the Alternative Break program that sends students to work with communities from Massachusetts to Virginia each year to work on community development, sustainable agriculture, and equality.

  • Does your institution participate in community climate change and or sustainability partnerships?

    see STARs report for University of Massachusetts Amherst

  • Has your institution advocated for federal, state, and/or local public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance your goal of climate neutrality?

    see STARs report for University of Massachusetts Amherst

Many of the above questions correspond to AASHE's Sustainability Tracking Assessment & Rating System (STARS) credits. For signatories that are STARS participants you may find more detail on their efforts in the areas of education, research, and community engagement by accessing their STARS report.

Energy & Finances

Energy Efficiency Projects

  • Number of Energy Efficiency Retrofit Projects planned, but not yet implemented:


  • Number of Energy Efficiency Retrofit Projects completed since signing the ACUPCC:


  • Number of buildings that have received a green building certification since signing the ACUPCC:


  • Number of green buildings planned or scheduled for completion in the next 2 years:


  • For all buildings, the green building certification/rating used is:


Renewable Energy

  • Annual output (in kWhs) for each renewable energy system utilized by University of Massachusetts Amherst

    • Solar output: 21188 kWh

    • Wind output: 0 kWh

    • Biomass output: 0 kWh

    • Fuel Cell output: 0 kWh

    • Geothermal output: 0 kWh

  • Other GHG mitigation efforts:
    In FY11 UMA produced 72% of it's consumed electricity and purchased the rest (28%) from the utility provider. Our award winning Combined Heat and Power Central Heating Plant uses oil and gas to produce electricity and steam for the entire campus and since it has been commissioned it has helped UMA reduce GHG emissions by 30% since 2004. In 2011, the central heating plant was recognized as the cleanest plant of its size in New England and has been recognized for maintaining 80% efficiency over six consecutive quarters. For more information go here:

    These reductions are a result of discontinuing the burning of coal on campus and switching over to the CHP, as well as the successes of the ESCO performed in 2004. The challenge for the University moving into 2012 is the projected growth of Phase I of the Campus Master Plan of over 1.8 million SF of new construction and an equivalent of more than 22,000 MT eCO2. The Sustainability Manager is working with the Environmental Performance Advisory Council to the Chancellor to identify reduction targets, develop a strategic plan to continue to reduce emissions during this unprecedented time of growth. For more info on EPAC go here:

    EPAC is prioritizing mitigation efforts outlined in the Climate Action Plan and exploring new initiatives that keeps UMA in the forefront of campus sustainability. These initiatives must include effective policies that will incentivize the expansion of energy efficiency measures and harnessing renewable energy. The projected emissions reduction resulting from the current phase of the E+ Project is more than 1,000 MT eCO2. For more information on E+ see the Financial Data section below or go here:

    The University will be installing more solar photovoltaic systems on campus this year in addition to the existing Solar Array on the UMass Research Farm ( and Mullins Center parking light project. The 60K-100K Visitor Center Solar Canopy project will save the University approximately $70,000 in electricity each year while promoting sustainability to perspective and future students. For more information go here:

    The Sustainability Manager is currently working on a solar hot water project for pre-heating the make-up water of the Central Heating Plant. Partners include Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and Beam Engineering ( This project could save the University over $100,000 year. The University is currently in the bid process for a 2MW solar photovoltaic array at the UMass Center for Agriculture Hadley Farm where experimental panels will provide sustainable and renewable power while at the same time protecting prime agricultural land from development. See article here:

    Food Systems also have a GHG footprint and UMA is doing everything it can to reduce the impact that feeding 30,000 people has on the planet. The University now has several student led initiatives in this area including composting in the campus eateries (, a student farmers market and CSA (, and the UMass Permaculture Gardens ( In Spring of 2012 the Chancellor will be urged to sign UMA onto the Real Food Challenge (

    UMA is also seriously changing the way it approaches capital construction projects and existing buildings. The green building initiatives on campus range from a growing retro-commissioning program (, a LEED-EBOM Pilot project (, a green buildings guideline policy published by Green Building Research Graduate Students that prioritizes LEED for New Construction credits ( and a campus wide sustainability viewer (

    Waste Reduction efforts also mitigate GHG emissions. UMA is currently expanding organic waste and hazardous waste reduction programs. Projects taking place include composting in dorms (, cafeteria recycling and composting in the largest cafe on campus, the BlueWall (, sustainable move-out (, and in the Fall of 2011 students organized the first time UMass participated in the EPA Gameday Challenge at the final home football game of the season. Students worked with Athletics, Physical Plant, Office of Waste Management, and Auxiliary Services to place composting bins throughout the stadium and resulted in UMA placing 4th place in the nation in Organics Reduction.

Financial Data

finance methods...

Non-public data

This data is available to signatories with reporting system access.
"" fields in which no data was submitted have been omitted from this report