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Campus & Community

Big Strides Toward a Small Footprint

How UMD Reduces Carbon Emissions to Create an Earth-Friendly Campus

By Office of Sustainability Staff

Sustainability UMD illustration

Illustrations by Matt Laumann

Measures designed to move UMD toward eventual carbon neutrality in 2050 are taking effect all over campus.

On Earth Day 2019, the University Maryland is showing how to create a big impact on the world—through its scholarship, research and climate leadership—while continually reducing its output of greenhouse gases.

The university has already achieved a 49% decrease in net carbon emissions, and the campus Climate Action Plan charts our path to carbon neutrality by 2050. It has reduced its solid waste stream as well, diverting millions of water bottles and single-use food service items from landfills, thanks to bottle-filling stations and the recent Anytime Dining program.

Take a look below at what Terps are doing to meet UMD's climate goals.

Airplane icon: 100% of university air travel emissions are offset with carbon management measures like local tree plantings and projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from regional landfills.  Solar Panels/Turbinres icon: 86% of purchased power is renewable. Campus buildings and parking areas generate 1.5 million kilowatts of renewable energy. By 2020, UMD will purchase only renewable power. Car icon: Faculty, staff and students logged almost 40,000 sustainable rides via UMD Smart Commute in its first year. New planned residence halls will reduce need for student commuting. Iribe Center icon: UMD has 17 LEED-certified buildings on campus, and all new buildings, starting with the Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Engineering, are carbon neutral. Power Plant icon: The Combined Heat and Power Plant will be re-engineered to make the campus district energy system more efficient. Farm icon: 27% of food served by Dining Services is sustainable and local, including vegetables from Terp Farm. Anytime Dining caused a 10,000-pound surge in food collections by the student-run Food Recovery Network. Building icon: Retrofits to existing buildings will make campus 20 percent more efficient by 2020. Purple Line icon: The coming Purple Line light-rail will introduce an efficient new mass-transit commuting option. M Circle icon: Over 25% of campus is covered by tree canopy. There are 15,000 trees and plants on campus.

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