With the Rist Institute for Sustainability and Energy, UMass Lowell is combining scientific research with community action.

Workers inside wind turbine


The Rist Institute for Sustainability and Energy is the university’s center for hands-on research on sustainability, climate change and renewable energy. Our goal is to create blueprints for human scale sustainability in communities throughout our region and across the world.

A Hub for Sustainability Research and Innovation 

The Rist Institute for Sustainability and Energy brings together the university’s extensive research enterprise, more than 85 faculty members and our dedicated students to power the next generation – and every generation to follow. 

We serve as the epicenter for UMass Lowell’s sustainability efforts, with an emphasis on: 

Juliette Rooney-Varga and Chancellor Jacquie Moloney with students

Tackling Climate Change Through Action

The Climate Change Initiative is an award-winning research center that addresses climate change through research, academic programs and community outreach. CCI draws on a diverse and multidisciplinary coalition of more than 30 faculty members in such areas as engineering, health sciences, arts, political science and business.

Three men in white lab coats work in lab

Sustainable Energy Research Partnerships

For more than 40 years, UMass Lowell has been a leader in wind, solar and nuclear energy – as well as energy storage and next-generation fuel systems. By partnering with industry, we have developed a model for addressing energy challenges through research collaborations. Companies can work side-by-side with our renowned faculty and talented students to develop tomorrow’s clean energy solutions.

Students install irrigation system in rooftop garden

Urban Sustainability for the 21st Century

Founded more than 125 years ago in the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution, UMass Lowell is sparking a new revolution in urban sustainability. Our campus serves as a living lab, where sustainability research becomes reality. The Rist Institute for Sustainability and Energy partners with the university’s Office of Sustainability to support a wide range of initiatives that make a real impact on our community and students.

Sustainabilty News

Steve Rogers, Brian Rist and Ruairi O'Mahony in the Rist greenhouse
Founded in 2019 through a $1 million gift from philanthropists Brian ’77 and Kim Rist, the Rist Institute for Sustainability and Energy is committed to finding practical, evidence-based solutions that can transform the cities we live in, the energy we use and the planet we inhabit. We also sponsor faculty and student sustainability-related research projects with a Fellowship Program and Climate Mitigation Awards.