University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

People and Nature: Our Future is in the Balance
National Wildlife Federation®
11100 Wildlife Center Drive • Reston, VA 20190 •
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
North Dartmouth, Massachusetts
Spring 2004, Energy
Campus Profile
The University of Massachusetts was founded in Amherst, Massachusetts, in 1863. In 1991, a
new University of Massachusetts structure combined the Amherst, Boston and Worcester
campuses with Southeastern Massachusetts University and the University of Lowell to form the
current five-campus system. Southeastern Massachusetts University became the University of
Massachusetts Dartmouth. UMass Dartmouth provides educational programs, research and
continuing education services in the liberal and creative arts and sciences and in the professions.
UMass Dartmouth has nearly 8,000 students, more than 3,200 of whom live on campus. It offers
more than 61 undergraduate programs of study and 19 graduate programs, and has more than 300
full-time faculty.
Gerald Lemay
Project Leader, UMass Dartmouth Solar Decathlon
285 Old Westport Road
North Dartmouth, MA 02747-2300
Phone: 508-999-8535
E-mail: [email protected]
The Solar Decathlon is an international contest sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy
(DOE) in which University teams design and build solar homes, transport them to the National
Mall in Washington, D.C., and compete in 10 events to determine which is the best home.
Fourteen teams participated in the 2002 contest. The second contest, in September 2005, will
feature 19 teams. UMass Dartmouth is donating its home to Habitat for Humanity.
Our goals include:
• Becoming a regional center for designing and building sustainable solar homes that
serves as a resource for information, education and training.
Partnering with Habitat for Humanity (HFH) to include sustainable solar technologies in
their homes.
Participating in the 2005 and subsequent Solar Decathlons.
National Wildlife Federation • Campus Environmental Yearbook • 2003-2004
Collaborating with Oak Ridge National Laboratories and Loudon County HFH in their
Net-Zero Energy home projects in Lenoir City, TN.
Promoting sustainability by example, especially through the development of sustainable
practices at UMass Dartmouth.
1. HFH Update: Currently, we are collaborating with three different HFH affiliates and we
have initiated a thriving HFH chapter on our campus. Our HFH partners include Loudon
County HFH, which partners with Oak Ridge National Laboratories in Tennessee to build
Net-Zero Energy (NZE) homes; HFH of Greater Plymouth, Massachusetts, which plans
to build and dedicate its first NZE home by Thanksgiving 2004; and Washington, D.C.,
HFH, which will be the recipient of our contest home after the 2005 Solar Decathlon
2. Five Houses: First, our 2005 contest home will be built at the Washington, D.C., Home
Depot parking lot during the summer of 2005, flat-bed hauled to the National Mall for the
21 days of the competition, and then delivered, installed and dedicated to a Ward 7 HFH
family in the District of Columbia. Second, with the money saved by not transporting the
contest home, we are building an NZE home in Kingston, Massachusetts, in collaboration
with HFH of Greater Plymouth, Massachusetts. Our third home is the two-story 600
square foot home being built in Lenoir City, Tennessee, under the leadership of Jeff
Christian, the director of building technology for Oak Ridge National Laboratories, and
Linda Morrison, the resource coordinator for Loudon County HFH. Fifteen students from
the UMass team, three drivers, and Gabrielle, our youngest decathlete, traveled to Lenoir
City during spring break, lived with host families and worked with HFH volunteers
building with structural insulated panels (SIPs) and learning about NZE construction
practices. At the end of the work week, the home was weatherized. Our fourth building
project is a 12 foot x 17 foot two-story test home being built at our test site on campus.
We are working with a local client who would like to exchange resources for this home.
Finally, our fifth building project is a small 8 foot x12 foot two-story structure we call the
“Grid-in-a-Box.” It provides the infrastructure for a code compliant home. This
infrastructure includes electricity, potable water, wastewater retention, cable and
3. The D.C. Kickoff: Ten team members made the D.C. trip to the weekend kickoff event in
September 2003. On Saturday of that weekend, Carol Casperson, executive director of
DC HFH, met Deirdre and Gerald at 6:30a.m. for a guided tour of DC HFH projects.
They visited a potential site for the contest home. In October 2003, we flew Carol in from
D.C. to UMass Dartmouth as our guest of honor at the UMass Dartmouth Solar
Decathlon Project kickoff media event. Carol had lunch with the students in the UMD
HFH chapter and spoke at the kickoff event hosted by our chancellor, Dr. Jean
4. Communication Efforts: Our website,, has been online
since December 2003. It was launched to coincide with the end-of-semester celebration
National Wildlife Federation • Campus Environmental Yearbook • 2003-2004 • Page 2
featuring food, music, brainstorming and a motivational speaker. We have also started a
monthly newsletter, maintained a contact list of all the people we speak to at invited
gatherings and events, and followed up donations with acknowledgments and thank you
literature. We have expanded our list of collaborators to 25 companies and resourceful
Challenges and Responses
We would like to continue to engage the other three colleges at UMass Dartmouth in the project,
and we plan to work even more with all of the five colleges (Charlton College of Business,
College of Engineering, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Visual and Performing Arts,
College of Nursing), the administrators, the staff and the students at UMass Dartmouth.
Presently, we have 50 people attending our weekly meetings that consist of cookies and coffee
and a Power Point Into Week presentation; all are invited to stay for the guest speaker
presentation for the course. Of those 50 people, approximately 15 are already dedicated project
enthusiasts. By August of 2005, we will need a community of 50 to 75 fully committed people to
safely and joyfully complete all of our objectives.
The team’s other challenges include:
• Raising funds by canvassing the small businesses in the community,
Maximizing the matching grant potential of our donors and enlarging this base,
Securing an owner for our test home,
Collaborating with HFH of Greater Plymouth on the design and construction for their
Kingston, Massachusetts, home,
Reaching out to the community both on and off campus to diversify the participants in
the project, including a virtual education program and presentations to community
Developing educational materials for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Leaders and Supporters
We have been running an ongoing course called “The Design of a Sustainable Solar Home.” In
the fall semester, this course is taught by an architect and an engineer. In the spring semester we
feature guest speakers from the disciplines of architecture, engineering and community service.
The project is ongoing but will probably cost $250,000. This includes both cash and in-kind
donations. This project is funded in part by grants from the U.S. Department of Energy, the
Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust, the Crapo Foundation, the Chancellor’s Office at the
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and the Provost’s Office at the University of
Massachusetts Dartmouth.
National Wildlife Federation • Campus Environmental Yearbook • 2003-2004 • Page 3
National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology® Program
NWF has supported us in the promotion of our project.
From the very beginning of this project we have wanted to make sure that our Contest Home has
a useful purpose after the contest. This is the reason we have partnered with Habitat for
Humanity. The Washington, D.C., Habitat for Humanity affiliate will receive our contest home.
When it came time to introduce the team at the DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory
reception in Washington, D.C., in September 2003, a statement spontaneously emerged that
meaningfully describes our approach to this contest. The UMass Dartmouth Solar Decathlon
Project is “a delightful mix of architecture, engineering and community service.”
National Wildlife Federation • Campus Environmental Yearbook • 2003-2004 • Page 4