National Video Contest: Your Vote Counts

UMass Medical School is a finalist for the 2013 Second Nature Climate Leadership Award, an affiliate of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). Part of the process includes a video contest.

UMMS will be featured by Second Nature in its April “Celebrating Sustainability” series, which highlights the sustainability initiatives of the finalists for the 2013 Climate Leadership Awards. Second Nature, a national nonprofit that works to create a healthy, just and sustainable society by transforming higher education, will formally recognize UMMS on the ACUPCC and Second Nature websites on April 26.

In tandem with the series, UMMS is vying for the top spot in a public video voting competition. UMMS has produced a video that promotes the campus’s sustainability initiatives, and viewers will have the opportunity to vote for the most innovative and groundbreaking institution in each of five Carnegie classifications. UMMS will be competing in the special focus institution class. Voting takes place throughout April in partnership with Planet Forward:http://planetforward.org/climate-leadership-awards-2013/

“Stewardship of the environment, which is fundamentally linked to public health, is a core value of our mission,” said Melissa Lucas, sustainability manager at UMMS. “So many people on our campus are doing their part to help us become more sustainable, and their collective efforts have resulted in this national recognition as a finalist.”

Among the school’s notable sustainability achievements are: the opening of the 258,000-square-foot Ambulatory Care Center in 2010 which earned a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver designation from the U.S. Green Building Council. In 2013, the 512,000-square-foot Albert Sherman Center (ASC) opened and earned LEED Gold. An upgrade of the medical school’s co-generation plant completed in 2012 added a new high-efficiency, 7.5 megawatt, natural gas-fired combustion turbine and an associated heat recovery system for steam generation.

The addition of the new gas turbine, which replaces one of the plant’s original gas- and oil-fired steam boilers, has helped UMMS reduce its oil usage by 94 percent since 2007 – the equivalent of removing 14,300 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Since natural gas burns cleaner than oil and the new jet turbine is highly efficient, the expanded power plant will actually have lower green-house gas emissions despite its added energy capacity.

“University of Massachusetts Medical School has performed careful surgery on its energy needs, slicing down its oil usage to a scant six percent of what it was in just five years,” noted David Hales, president of Second Nature. “This aggressive yet practical approach to reducing its operational carbon footprint is part and parcel to the climate commitment as well as UMass Medical’s mission to advance the health and well-being of people.”

Video voting is open throughout the month of April. Any individual can vote once each day, so please remember to vote early and vote often. Share the link with friends and ask for their vote too.