UMass Clean Energy Corps is an interdisciplinary service learning program. Led by Co-Directors Professor Ben Weil and Lauren Mattison, Clean Energy Corps accelerates the transition to clean energy in Massachusetts and beyond by assisting with municipal clean energy projects and contributing to development of the clean energy workforce.
Professor Weil founded and teaches the Clean Energy Corps course in UMass Amherst’s Building and Construction Technology program. Each spring semester, the class conducts clean energy studies and building audits at no cost for several cities and towns across Massachusetts.
Clean Energy Corps provides specific, actionable recommendations to retrofit facilities through energy efficiency, improved energy management, clean heating and cooling technologies, renewable energy generation, and energy storage. When appropriate, our recommendations include a combination of short term actions to improve operating efficiency and address any immediate issues without major capital expenditures and longer term solutions for decarbonization. We provide analysis to support our recommendations, such as calculations of potential energy and cost savings and greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
Our holistic approach also helps to create healthier buildings and improved work/learning environments by addressing issues with indoor air quality, humidity and temperature control.
Clean Energy Corps students obtain valuable experience in working with clients, delivering technical presentations, and applying their learning on data analysis, building science and diagnostics, and energy technologies.
Working with Clean Energy Corps
We select our projects on a case by case basis, depending on factors including the needs of municipal clients, the learning opportunity for our students, and the expected impact of our role in the project. Municipal representatives interested in working with us should write to Lauren Mattison. If we have capacity to take on new projects, we will talk with you to understand your community’s interests and needs, analyze your municipal energy use, and work with you to prioritize your facilities and identify a project that will be appropriate for both the community and our program. Communities are also welcome to contact us with specific project requests.
Projects typically include a site visit or online meeting early in the spring semester (between late January and early March) and a presentation of findings and recommendations by the student team toward the end of the semester (April or early May).
After project presentations, we offer ongoing support, as staff time allows, to see projects through to completion. Depending on the community’s needs, this may include guidance in preparing scopes of work for design and/or installation, impartial review of proposals, and assistance writing grant applications and pursuing funding for implementation from sources such as the Green Communities Program and Mass Save.
Results & Communities Served
Since 2016, we have worked with 30 cities and towns: Amherst, Ashfield, Bernardston, Buckland, Cohasset, Colrain, Conway, Erving, Gill, Goshen, Greenfield, Holyoke, Medfield, Monson, Montague, Natick, New Salem, Northampton, Northfield, Pelham, Rowe, Shelburne, South Hadley, Sunderland, Tewksbury, Warwick, Westhampton, Whately, Windsor, Worcester.
Our work has served as the basis for several successful Green Communities competitive grants and completed projects.
- Water and wastewater treatment (and manufacturing) plants with annual energy costs of $100,000-2,500,000 are eligible for free energy assessments from the UMass Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy through U.S. Department of Energy’s Industrial Assessment Center program. Write to Lauren Mattison for more information or to request an assessment.
- Resources for more information on municipal clean energy