LOWELL — UMass Lowell was already the most eco-friendly campus in the commonwealth, and now it is helping to green its host city too.
This month the city and university announced the Green Community Partnership — an alliance committed to driving down the carbon footprint of the Mill City.
The brainchild of Chancellor Jacquie Moloney and City Manager Eileen Donoghue has already attracted support from a diverse coalition of business, community and environmental leaders.
With funding from Lowell philanthropist Nancy Donahue and numerous community partners, $50,000 is already available for joint university-community projects. The first round of grant recipients will be announced on Earth Day, April 22.
“As the No. 1 sustainable university in Massachusetts, UMass Lowell has been on the leading edge of this important movement,” Moloney said. “Our efforts have saved millions of operating dollars and reduced our impact on the environment.”
“The Green Community Partnership will capitalize on the innovative spirit that Lowell is known for,” Donoghue said.
From its rooftop solar panels to its pollinator gardens, UMass Lowell is recognized as a national leader in sustainability and climate-change awareness. The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education rates UMass Lowell the highest among all colleges and universities in Massachusetts and among the top 2% globally.
Since signing on to the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007, UMass Lowell has committed itself to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
In 2010, the city of Lowell became one of the first communities in the commonwealth to be designated as a Green Community.
Since earning that designation, the city has continually made substantial investments to enhance the efficiency of its buildings and vehicles, resulting in a 31% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
In 2017, the council adopted a resolution supporting the goal of transitioning Lowell to the use of 100% clean and renewable energy, prompting concrete steps that have reduced the city’s fossil fuel usage.