The 3rd Annual Massachusetts Sustainable Campuses Conference
was held April 17th, 2014 at UMass Lowell. Individuals representing all facets and sectors of the State came together to hear the best practices for creating sustainable communities. Most of the presentations focused on how higher education institutions are leading these efforts. I attended “Campus Sustainability Plan Updates” and heard from Bentley University, Framingham State University, and UMASS Lowell. All three institutions have signed the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) – a pledge made by the university President that commits the institution to eliminating its operational GHG emissions, supporting the educational research, and community engagement efforts that support the goal; thus, contributing to the ongoing annual public reports of progress. Bentley has set a climate neutrality date of 2030, Framingham State is aiming for 2060, and UMASS Lowell has set a date of 2050. Framingham State and UMASS Lowell are state-owned buildings. Through Executive Order 484
, they are required to reduce GHG emissions by 25% by 2012, 40% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. The ACUPCC and EO 484 also recommend and require institutions to utilize green building certification. EO 484 requires institutions to build and renovate to a LEED Plus green building standard. All campuses in Massachusetts are well supported in these efforts as the State has implemented terrific programs to advance energy efficiency, increase renewable energy production, and support the development of sustainable communities.