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Electricity and energy use account for 90% of UMD’s greenhouse gas emissions making energy both an environmental and economic concern. Reducing energy use is a top priority in making our campus more sustainable, yet with growing energy needs at a busy research university, this can be a complicated undertaking.

solar array                                                     UMD Energy Research Workshop 2016

In Facilities Management, this is an ongoing challenge that has been on the forefront for decades; in fact, even with a 40% increase in the size of our campus, energy efficiency projects helped the campus avoid adding any extra boilers in our heating plant.

UMD buildings are heated by a central natural gas-fired heating plant with three main boilers. Although natural gas is relatively clean-burning, it is also a non-renewable fossil fuel that contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.

The electricity we purchase comes from Minnesota Power.  Although our utility is committed to reducing emissions and integrating renewables into their fuel mix, their generation is still dominated by fossil fuels.  Energy efficiency, conservation and renewable investments are all important ways to reduce our carbon emissions.

New LED lighting along campus streets and parking lots cuts energy use in half and is Dark Sky compliant.

Energy efficiency and conservation

Efforts to reduce our energy usage on campus include building energy efficient buildings, upgrading our district energy systems, using building controls, and adopting a (new, January 2015) Campus Temperature Standard.

UMD has earned 56 Energy Efficiency Project rebates from our conservation partners at Minnesota Power since 2007 (our baseline for Greenhouse Gas reporting), totaling almost $400,000.

How does reducing energy use and looking for clean energy sources help our campus?

  • Saves money
  • Reduces pollution and UMD’s greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute significantly to climate change

Minnesota GreenCorps representative Sam Domeier did a study on Energy Conservation at UMD. His research was presented at the Department of Commerce.

Renewable Energy

UMD faculty and students have built several renewable energy demonstration projects, for both Solar and Wind technologies. Such as...

Green Revolving Fund

The UMD Green Revolving Fund invests in energy-saving projects at UMD to save energy and become a more sustainable campus. These projects provide long-term financial savings to the University, and energy rebates help to pay back into the fund, building equity and helping fund future projects.

Other resources

UMD Energy Action Plan

Greenhouse Gas Inventory