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UMass, Eversource sign energy efficiency partnership

(Daily Collegian File Photo)

The University of Massachusetts and Eversource have agreed on a partnership with hopes to increase the University’s energy efficiency.

Eversource, an energy providing company that serves much of Western Massachusetts, will collaborate with UMass in major construction and renovation projects that hope to make the University more sustainable and efficient in its power usage. Similar to a prior agreement signed by the two in 2014, the non-binding commitment hopes to save the University $1.8 million in annual energy costs through the first half of 2020.

“We are pleased to renew this important part of our working relationship with Eversource,” said Andrew Mangels, the University’s vice chancellor for administration and finance since 2015, in an official statement.

Mangels added, “The partnership has already contributed significantly to reducing electrical consumption on campus, and it has supported the UMass Amherst commitment to sustainability, reduced carbon emissions and responsible use of energy.”

According to published by Eversource in May of 2016, the partnership aimed to save nine million kilowatt-hours, the equivalent of taking 1,300 vehicles off the road. The company also stated, “This incentive is allowing UMass Amherst to fully upgrade their street and parking area lighting all at once, rather than through a phased-in plan as in past years.”

Building on their current partnership, the University and Eversource hope to make significant improvements to campus energy infrastructure. Their plans include LED upgrades, improving HVAC climate-control systems and the extension of the University’s Green Labs initiative, which focuses on the reduction of both airflow and energy usage in research labs on campus to improve safety.

The partnership and its sustainability goals may aid the University’s commitment to drastically decrease its energy consumption and carbon footprint. UMass, among other state agencies, must meet requirements set in Massachusetts Executive Order No. 484, signed in 2007.

According to the order, from 2002 to 2020, UMass must decrease its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent. Requirements also mandate that UMass decrease its energy consumption 35 percent by 2020 from its levels in 2004. Thirty percent of electricity consumption must also come from renewable sources.

In addition to decreasing energy costs through projects across campus, the partnership hopes to reduce CO2 emissions by more than 4,800 metric tons.

“We are excited to announce our ongoing collaboration,” said Eversource Vice President of Energy Efficiency Tilak Subrahmanian. “[The partnership] will help the University continue to cut energy costs, grow efficiently and contribute to a cleaner and healthier state environment.”

In addition to making energy consumption and efficiency improvements, the partnership will help UMass and Eversource recruit student interns, entry-level engineers and business graduates to positions in the utility company.

Will Soltero can be reached at wsoltero@umass.edu and followed on Twitter at @WillSoltero.

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