News 2011: UMass Dartmouth to move ahead with wind turbine

News 2011: UMass Dartmouth to move ahead with wind turbine
UMass Dartmouth to move ahead with wind turbine

Project will be one part of comprehensive effort to reduce energy costs and shrink the campus carbon footprint

UMass Dartmouth announced today that it is moving ahead with plans to build a 600-kilowatt wind turbine that will annually produce the same amount of energy as burning approximately 39 tons of coal. The turbine will eliminate the emission of 1,161 pounds of sulfur dioxide and 489 pounds of nitrous oxide; and reduce emission of 295 tons of carbon dioxide annually. 

The turbine project is one component of a $35 million plan developed in conjunction with the state's Division of Capital Asset Management (DCAM) and the Department of Energy Resources' (DOER) Leading by Example program to modernize the UMass Dartmouth power systems, and to reduce energy consumption. Other components include installation of a high-efficiency co-generation plant and installation of solar panels on residence halls and athletic center roofs. 

"Universities have a responsibility to lead on the big issues of the day, and modernizing our energy systems -- along with our many other green activities -- will be a dramatic indicator of our commitment to sustainability,'' said UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack. "Students, whose futures will be shaped by the actions we take today, are teaching us that learning, working and living green are not just the right things to do; they are good business for any university that wants to attract innovative, talented, and curious students." 

"We are very excited to see this wind turbine project moving forward at UMass Dartmouth," said DCAM Commissioner David B. Perini.  "Chancellor MacCormack and the faculty, staff and students of UMass Dartmouth should be commended for their strong commitment in the areas of renewable energy and sustainability, and we look forward to this opportunity to support their efforts through this important project." 

"UMass Dartmouth is leading the way on the South Coast by pursuing a coordinated approach to becoming a clean energy campus.  With this wind project, the university is continuing to integrate renewables into its campus-wide sustainability efforts," DOER Commissioner Mark Sylvia said.  "UMD should be applauded for combining the proposed wind project with its soon-to-be completed 269 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system and recently signed university building-wide performance contract to fund $48,000,000 in deep energy efficiency measures.  All told the campus will reduce its energy consumption and replace fossil fuel base electricity with clean, renewable power. DOER's Leading By Example Program is proud to be working with UMass Dartmouth, DCAM and other state facilities on making these projects happen across Massachusetts, saving money and creating a cleaner energy future for our citizens." 

Other Leading by Example efforts at UMass Dartmouth include DCAM's recently-executed nearly $50 million energy performance contract - the largest performance contract underway by DCAM, with savings expected to exceed $2.9 million when construction is completed.  This is part of a statewide effort to dramatically increase the number of large energy efficiency projects at state facilities.  UMass Dartmouth's 269 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system is financed with $671,600 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding through the DOER. 

"It is exciting UMass Dartmouth will host the first wind turbine in the UMass system and helps to distinguish us as leaders in the green economy," said Professor D. Steven White, director of the UMass Dartmouth Sustainability Studies Program. "In combination with the solar panels being installed on campus and the Commonwealth's LEED  mandate for all new construction and remodeling, we are walking the walk through our sustainability efforts." 

Studies indicate that the energy savings from the wind turbine alone will be the equivalent of $5,000 annual scholarships for 25 students per year or the full cost of several athletics teams. Most significantly, the turbine would considerably downsize the University's carbon footprint. 

The turbine will be located just off the campus Ring Road, approximately 2,500 feet from Alden Avenue and 1,500 feet from Old Westport Road. The overall height of the unit will be 243 feet, which is 12 feet shorter than the University bell tower. When the ground elevation is considered the turbine height will be approximately 30 feet shorter than the bell tower. 

These initiatives are occurring as UMass Dartmouth students and faculty are receiving national recognition for their sustainability efforts, including the following: 

* The UMass Dartmouth Charlton College of Business chapter of Net Impact, an international organization dedicated to advancing sustainable business practices, was recently ranked among the top 20 of 270 Net Impact chapters worldwide. 

* A national journal recently published a scholarly paper authored by a UMass Dartmouth Public Policy Professor and an online graduate student focusing on the environmental impact of commercial shipping. 

* The Charlton College of Business recently released a research paper indicating that a company's commitment to the environment is more likely to result in employee job satisfaction than a company's financial success. 

* The national sustainability business blog Triple Pundit -- People, Planet, Profit recently highlighted UMass Dartmouth for being the first university in the world to release an A-level sustainability report based on Global Reporting Initiative guidelines, the gold-standard of such reporting. The report was researched and written by Charlton College of Business students under the supervision of faculty. 

* The campus has also embarked on an aggressive paper and copying reduction program, recycling, and water conservation effort. 

* UMass Dartmouth leads the Marine Renewable Energy Center, a consortium of research institutions and businesses working to accelerate the development of ocean-based energy technology. 

* The University provides the science for the Massachusetts Estuaries Project, which is working to restore and protect the Massachusetts coastline. 

* The campus is also providing the research necessary to achieve balance between the environmental and economic interests associated with commercial fishing.