We seek to build a vibrant national hub to accelerate clean energy research and educate tomorrow’s sustainable engineering workforce. This living laboratory will catalyze bold discoveries and user-centric solutions that improve our region, nation, and world.
A sustainable future requires innovative use-inspired solutions in the areas of energy, materials, transportation, climate adaptation, and human system interactions. UMass Amherst engineers are already leaders and path-breakers in these critical fields. A new building will provide immersive labs and learning spaces that prepare the next generation, foster collaboration, enable discovery and design, and serve as a test bed for technologies that address real-world sustainability challenges.
Revolutionary Infrastructure for the Future
The Sustainable Engineering Laboratories building will leverage and attract public and private sector investment. It will be an exemplar of solutions prioritized by the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Commonwealth’s Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2030.
A cutting-edge living laboratory, this building will be designed to explore and demonstrate novel energy technologies that can be replicated and scaled to deliver real-world solutions.
The building is envisioned to feature:
- Sustainable construction, achieving net zero carbon emissions.
- Test beds for efficient and just methodologies to generate, distribute, use, and store energy.
- A smart microgrid to couple new renewable energy generation and storage technologies to real-life use.
- An energy operations center that integrates data from campus and the surrounding region—a living lab to study and implement sustainable solutions.
- A clean room campus core facility to enable new sustainable materials and energy storage/conversion device research.
Collaboratories with industry partners and connections to organizations such as the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center.
An Exciting Outlook for Growth and Impact
A new interdisciplinary College of Engineering laboratory building will be the platform for dramatic growth in UMass Amherst’s clean energy and sustainable materials programs—increasing the impact of its revolutionary research and accelerating development of a diverse, world-class workforce. The envisioned structure would feature:
- 200,000 square feet dedicated to immersive teaching and research programs.
- Capacity to accommodate growth of 40+ new research groups across multiple disciplines—to recruit and retain high-caliber faculty, students, and research staff.
- State-of-the-art facilities to attract and educate ~700 more undergraduate and ~300 more graduate students, growing the engineering student population to ~4,000.
- Flexible learning and collaboration areas that support multimodal instruction.
- Student project space for hands-on “ideas to impact” learning.
- A home for new community-engaged, user-centric research programs.
An engine for innovation, this state-of-the-art sustainable building will anchor cross-cutting research to advance our nation’s net zero goals, address environmental justice, and propel the clean energy workforce and economy—for Massachusetts and beyond.
Examples of centers, institutes, and programs that may live within the new facility:
- Energy Transition Institute
- Wind Energy Center
- Ocean Renewable Energy/Wave Lab
- Transportation Research Center
- Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
- Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center
- Materials Science and Engineering Program
Building the Sustainability and Clean Energy Workforce
We train, educate, and mentor students at all levels to confer the knowledge, diverse perspectives, and depth of expertise requisite of the future clean energy and sustainability workforce.
This new research and innovation hub and living laboratory will not only drive equitable and solutions-based sustainability research for the world, but our graduates will directly infuse that expertise into every sector of the Commonwealth’s growing clean energy and sustainability workforce. Our students engage in hands-on, experiential learning activities and design projects that directly connect to real-world industry problems.