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Sustainability Report Highlights Significant Progress on Climate Action

By Maryland Today Staff

The University of Maryland recently released its Sustainability Progress Report, featuring an array of sustainability achievements from the past year.

Produced by the Office of Sustainability, the report highlights the 49 percent reduction in campus greenhouse gas emissions since 2005. By investing in renewable energy and regional projects that decrease greenhouse gas emissions, the university cut its net carbon footprint by 70,000 metric tons from 2016 to 2017.

A major factor in this reduction was the new Carbon Neutral Air Initiative, through which the university shrank net greenhouse gas emissions associated with air travel by investing in verified carbon-offset projects that capture methane from regional landfills. UMD also invested in projects that continually take carbon out of the atmosphere by planting trees in our watershed with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

In addition to highlighting campus actions and achievements, the Sustainability Progress Report provides the University Sustainability Council and campus community with data that inform planning around sustainability issues.

“The university continues to make progress in its sustainability efforts and is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and environmental impacts,” said Scott Lupin, director of the Office of Sustainability. “We continue to do this through extensive collaboration and broad outreach efforts and by building consensus-based strategies.”

Other successes outlined in the report include:

  • UMD became the research lead for the University Climate Change Coalition, a network of 18 research universities leveraging their collective expertise to accelerate local climate action;
  • The Department of Transportation Services launched the Smart Commute program to encourage the use of sustainable transportation;
  • Facilities Management secured financing from the Maryland Clean Energy Center to support implementation of a $21.5 million energy efficiency project;
  • McKeldin Library installed the campus’ first permanent indoor biowall.

Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Strategic Communications for the University of Maryland community weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.