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UML Celebrates Earth Day with Sustainability Program

UML staff members standing in front of rooftop garden Photo by Tory Wesnofske
UMass Lowell and the state Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) celebrated Earth Day and the completion of the $23.1 million Accelerated Energy Program, which has already reduced energy consumption and costs, on Monday. Shown in the garden are, from left, Chancellor Jacquie Moloney; Lydia Sisson, UMass Lowell graduate and co-founder of Mill City Grows; DCAMM Commissioner Carol Gladstone; Joanne Yestramski, senior vice chancellor for finance, operations and strategic planning; Francey Slater, Mill City Grows co-founder; and UMass Lowell Director of Sustainability Ruairi O'Mahony.

04/22/2019
Lowell Sun

LOWELL -- UMass Lowell and the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) celebrated the completion of the university's $23.1 million Accelerated Energy Program (AEP) at a ceremony Monday.

Through the AEP - the largest such program completed in the commonwealth to date - UMass Lowell has implemented more than 100 energy-saving measures in 30 buildings across campus. The effort is part of the university's ongoing initiative to maximize sustainability in its operations and has already resulted in the savings of millions of dollars, gallons of water used and pounds of CO2 emitted every year.

"UMass Lowell is an outstanding example of how to grow in a manner that is both environmentally and fiscally responsible," said Chancellor Jacquie Moloney, highlighting the campus' growth in enrollment as well as square-footage in the last decade.

The savings and benefits include:
  • 6,000 pieces of mechanical equipment and lighting have been updated or replaced
  • $1.2 million in annual energy savings
  • 1.7 million fewer gallons of water used each year
  • 9 million fewer pounds of CO2 emitted each year
  • The elimination of $10 million in deferred maintenance across the campus
Moloney also thanked DCAMM Commissioner Carol Gladstone, who spoke at the celebration, for the division's support.

Gladstone praised UMass Lowell's commitment to reducing its environmental impact while enrollment increased by 57 percent and new and renovated buildings added 1.5 million square feet to the campus.

"It is great to be back here to celebrate the completion of this project. You are inspiring all of us to raise the bar on sustainability," Gladstone said.

At the event, UMass Lowell also announced its gold Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) status, a national sustainability measure that has ranked the university No. 1 in Massachusetts and in the top 10 nationally for its commitment to sustainability.

That commitment to sustainability is one of five pillars in the university's 10-year strategic plan. In addition to the campus' operations, UMass Lowell officials said its students and researchers are working with industries at the forefront of the sustainability movement.

Among the examples Moloney highlighted are a sustainability-themed art installation by Ingrid Hess, an award-winning assistant professor in the Department of Art and Design, as well as the university's partnership with Mill City Grows to create a rooftop garden where greens including arugula, kale and Swiss chard are being grown. Both the garden and the art installations are located on the second floor of the University Crossing student center.