UMass launches campus sustainability site
With the sudden outburst of new construction on campus, the University of Massachusetts recently launched a website detailing the sustainable projects and opportunities that have become part of the University.
Deemed the “Campus Sustainability Explorer,” the website, according to lead designer and developer Bill Stanton, is a “one-stop-shop for viewing, sharing and learning about sustainability at the UMass Amherst campus.”
The site, which can be viewed at www.umass.edu/livesustainably, is meant to connect viewers to information on a variety of sustainable topics associated with the UMass campus. According to a press release, these topics can vary from information on “green” buildings and research programs in sustainability to advocacy groups in the area. Viewers may also learn more about UMass’s reclaimed water treatment plant.
According to Stanton, the Sustainability Explorer came to fruition sometime following Governor Deval Patrick’s decision to issue Executive Order 484. Released in 2007, the order, deemed “Leading By Example: Clean Energy and Efficient Buildings,” set specific goals and standards that state facilities must meet in sustainability.
These standards, according to the executive order, include reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and energy used per square foot as compared to previous years. Additionally, the order instated new requirements for all construction and major renovation projects for state facilities over 20,000 square feet to meet Mass. LEED Plus standards. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a building rating system developed and maintained by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Stanton said the site was created to detail new sustainable construction on campus and eventually grew to showcase all campus sustainability. According to the release, the site has been in development for the past two years, with collaboration between Campus Planning and Facilities Planning and Stanton.
In the website’s “About” page are links to people connected with campus sustainability, featuring a wide variety of student and faculty members whose work involves furthering the goal of sustainability on campus.
“Before this tool, the information about new construction, transportation projects, food, waste, research center and advocacy committees was scattered across so many sites and sources, leading to duplicated efforts and redundant resources,” Stanton said. “The real holistic reason for developing this tool is to centralize and better present campus sustainability efforts.
“Before this tool, the information about new construction, transportation projects, food, waste, research center and advocacy committees was scattered across so many sites and sources, leading to duplicated efforts and redundant resources.”
For Stanton, there is an expectation that the University will continue to develop in sustainability and will increase efforts across campus.
“Ideally this will grow UMass Amherst’s involvement in sustainability as well as the perception both on campus and around the country that UMass is a school that is putting sustainability as priority in curriculum, research and operations,” he said.
Stanton intends the site to be primarily educational, sharing the projects and initiatives of the UMass campus with the world. Through the site, Stanton hopes to foster the understanding “that sustainability is a driving force on campus.”
Within the site, visitors can link not only to resources and information, but connect to news and events about sustainability on campus. Recent news and events includes UMass’ partnership with the Western Massachusetts Electric Company in an energy efficiency project on campus as well as the upcoming “No Impact Week,” beginning Feb. 23.
While the website is fairly new, Stanton sees a future in his project.
“It’s an evolving tool that will hopefully grow to include more projects and functions as sustainability on campus becomes increasingly institutionalized,” he said.
Mitchell Scuzzarella can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.