The University of Maryland is a small city unto itself with a population of roughly 50,000 by day and more than 300 facilities on 1,250 acres. It’s also a major research university with energy-intensive labs, instruments, computing servers, etc. To power this enterprise, UMD relies on a variety of energy sources including wind, solar, and natural gas.
By 2020, all electricity delivered to campus by regional power plants will come from renewable sources. More than 9,000 solar panels on campus will also contribute to decreasing dependence on fossil fuel. Remaining carbon emissions associated with power will come from the on-campus combined heat and power plant (CHP), which uses natural gas to produce steam and electricity simultaneously. CHP is already an efficient process but we are investigating ways of making it more efficient and, therefore, decreasing the amount of natural gas needed to power campus. Affordable renewable energy options that can generate enough thermal energy for the university remains elusive, but we will continuously seek viable alternatives.
To help reduce the environmental impact of this energy use, the university has implemented a number of energy reduction and conservation measures. More details about these projects can be found in the Progress Report and the Climate Action Plan. The President’s Energy Initiatives, announced by President Loh in April 2014, encompass some of the major energy projects currently taking place on campus.
President’s Energy Initiatives
- Efficiency upgrades in existing buildings will reduce campus electricity use 20% by 2020.
Carbon Neutral New Development
- New buildings will be designed with high energy efficiency levels, and energy consumption will be zero carbon.
- By 2020, all purchased electricity will come from renewable energy sources.
All Terps can help reduce Maryland’s energy use by practicing conservation while they study and work on campus:
- Take advantage of natural light, and turn off lights when they’re not in use or when you leave a room.
- Turn off computers and monitors when not in use.
- Look for Energy Star rated electronics.
- Unplug electronics when not in use.