Sustainable UMass

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Now showing 1 - 5 of 10
  • Publication
    UMass Amherst Continuous Commissioning Proposal: Potential Costs, Cost Savings and Required Resources
    (2012-01-01) Spade, Katrina; Burbank, Jason; McCusker, Katherine
    The UMass Amherst Continuous Commissioning Proposal was prepared by Physical Plant and Facilities Planning staff under the supervision of Pat Daly, Director of Physical Plant. It outlines a targeted approach for improving the performance and efficiency of existing buildings on campus. The goal of the proposal is to reduce unnecessary energy use on campus by systematically checking and adjusting controls and systems to optimize their efficiency, as well as ensuring that buildings satisfy their programmatic needs. The proposal recognizes the great potential for reducing the energy costs and carbon footprint of our existing buildings, as well as the need for improvements in occupant comfort and indoor air quality. To that end, the goals of the UMass Commissioning-Commissioning Plan are energy cost savings, improved occupant comfort, and reductions in GHG emissions. Initial estimates suggest that the payback for implementing the UMass Amherst Continuous Commissioning Plan will be approximately 3 years. (See page 19 for details on the estimated simple payback.)
  • Publication
    Holdsworth Retrofit and Renovation
    (2012-01-01) Fiocchi, L. Carl; Weil, Benjamin S; McCusker, Katherine
    The University of Massachusetts has a rapidly evolving commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the environmental sustainability of its operations. According to the most recent IPCC report, the buildings sector has more potential to contribute to climate change mitigation than any other sector.1 The energy efficient designs of the current spate of building projects are indicative of the University’s commitment to green building—reducing the energy intensity of the university relative to building area and activities. However, these efforts cannot reduce the total energy use or greenhouse gas emissions from current levels. Among the University’s assets with the greatest potential to achieve these goals are its existing buildings. Most of these are good buildings that have not reached the end of their useful life. Forty-two buildings, encompassing more than half of the general administration and educational space fall into the categories of “catch up and keep up” or “keep and renew” according to the university’s Building Disposition Report.2 Many of the existing buildings have great historical, aesthetic, and emotional value and have stood the test of time as the site of the academic, scientific, and cultural work that is their primary purpose. Can these buildings be updated to dramatically reduce their energy consumption and allow them to continue to function as valuable assets for the long term? What levels of energy savings are possible and reasonable? This report is designed to answer these questions for one representative building: Holdsworth Hall. The recommendations in this report are the product of a detailed and careful examination and exploration of the building and its operations. The investigations and proposed solutions are motivated by two principles: First, the architectural intention should be respected. The building as designed works well on many levels, and no recommendation should undermine currently effective systems and designs or compromise the aesthetic intention of its designers. Second, the building is a complex system, and no change can be considered in isolation. Single measures may achieve savings, but cannot maximize savings or performance without complementary changes in related systems. A final package of recommended measures will define a new building system with emergent properties that make for a qualitatively different and better building beyond simple energy consumption metrics. 1 (
  • Publication
    Measuring, Managing and Visualizing Building Energy Consumption & Carbon Emissions: Benchmarking at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
    (2013-01-01) McCusker, Katherine
    How much energy do the buildings at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMA) consume? The answer to this question is of interest to those tracking energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions, those paying utility bills, those studying building performance and perhaps to occupants of buildings themselves. Answering this question is complicated and timeconsuming because data on building-level energy consumption are not collected and reported in a consistent manner, in a central place, or often not collected at all. “Benchmarking”, or measuring for the purposes of comparison, provides valuable information about building energy consumption and performance, and most importantly, carbon emissions UMA is committed to addressing climate change, and has established a carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2E) emissions reduction goal. Because buildings (both their construction and operation) consume 40% of all energy, 72% of all electricity, and emit 39% of all CO2E (USGBC) UMA’s climate change mitigation strategy must address buildings. Having good data on energy consumption at the building level will allow UMA to make better strategic decisions about where to make the necessary energy savings, and to prove that the interventions have worked. Currently UMA reports data on campus-level energy consumption, costs and carbon emissions. UMA should also have a tool to benchmark its buildings’ energy consumption and carbon emissions with interpretation designed for various campus stakeholder groups (students, the Sustainability Manager, Campus Planning, Physical Plant, Facilities Planning, etc.) to make the task of addressing building-level energy consumption easier. The goal of this project was to establish a benchmarking methodology and tool to automate the tasks of measuring, managing and visualizing building-level energy data. This project concludes with a 3-year energy and carbon emissions comparison for all metered buildings (which amounts to 88% of the gross square footage of campus), a spreadsheet template to more easily do this work in an ongoing way, and several sample benchmarking reports. Designing a way to automate these tasks proved too difficult for the scope of this practicum project. However, it is possible to automate these processes in the near future because most of the necessary data exists on Metasys, the campus building automation software designed and installed in 2008 by Johnson Controls Inc., the company contracted by UMA to execute building energy efficiency measures. Metasys displays real-time outputs from every building utility meter and sensor (i.e. chilled and hot water flow rates, occupancy sensors, lighting, dampers, temperature and humidity readings, etc.) With the aid of a computer programmer, the automation part of this tool could be achieved.
  • Publication
    AASHE STARS Gold Report
    (2011-01-01) AASHE, Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education
  • Publication
    Climate Action Plan 2.0
    (2012-01-01) Small, Ezra
    The University of Massachusetts Amherst is committed to reducing the environmental impact of campus life and operations. The UMass Amherst Climate Action Plan (CAP), approved in 2010, was the first campus document to identify strategies to help the campus reach carbon neutrality by 2050, a goal to which former UMass President Jack M. Wilson committed the five UMass campuses in 2007 when he signed the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). In order to put this commitment into action, Former Chancellor Thomas Cole appointed the Environmental Performance Advisory Committee (EPAC) and charged the committee to implement campus sustainability projects and develop a Climate Action Plan (Chancellor Cole’s Letter: Appendix I). Having been guided by this initial plan for two years and having accomplished many of its initial objectives, EPAC began in February 2012 to prepare an updated CAP: this current document reviews those accomplishments, and presents a comprehensive plan for future sustainability efforts across all aspects of the Campus.