University of Massachusetts Lowell, Carbon Neutral Masterplan

The Carbon Neutral Masterplan is a comprehensive roadmap spanning four million square-feet, including multiple laboratory buildings, that charts a clear course for UMass Lowell to achieve its carbon neutral goal by 2050.

The project grew out of a multi-year strategic planning process in support of campus sustainability objectives, legislative mandates, and university commitments. The plan focuses on engineering and economic analysis of current and projected energy conditions on UML’s primary campuses. Sites are prioritized based on key criteria: actual energy use intensity, energy consumption change over time, target energy use intensity, combustion energy consumption, and facility condition. Projects are prioritized using the following hierarchy: load reduction, electrification, and renewables.

Practical project application showcases years of expertise implementing deep energy retrofits, hybrid heat pump ground-source, air-source heat pump plants, central plant, and utility distribution infrastructure upgrades. Recommended solutions and a hierarchy of options are provided to enable flexible and scalable implementation. In addition to meeting campus energy and sustainability goals, projects prioritize opportunities for student engagement and research to help foster a Living Lab campus.

Lifecycle cost analysis of dozens of options was developed to select and refine the preferred solution, demonstrating the net present savings versus a more conventional electrification solution. The Carbon Neutral Masterplan defines the infrastructure and utility plant systems needed to reach fossil fuel free during normal operation. The capital investment plan details the construction and operating cost estimates at each stage of transition to heat-pump based systems.

Projects Highlights


University of Massachusetts Lowell


Lowell, MA


4,000,000 ft²


2021 Leading by Example Award from DOER

BR+A Principal