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Salem State Achieves Greenhouse Gas Reductions and Plans for the Future

Salem State University reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 38 percent from the state’s 2004 baseline, just shy of the state’s 40 percent by 2020 reduction goal. Campus energy use intensity (energy use per building square footage) decreased 35 percent over the same time period, equaling Massachusetts’ energy use intensity goal for 2020.

As a campus where environmental activism is strong, propelling the university to a 2018 decision to divest from fossil fuels, Salem State has dedicated itself to achieving GHG reductions and demonstrating climate leadership through energy efficiency projects across campus, the installation of five rooftop solar arrays, and a focus on behavior change.

Campus 2050 Carbon Neutrality Goal

Salem State is looking ahead to 2050, the date of two important sustainability targets: SSU’s carbon neutrality goal and the state’s goal of decreasing emissions from operations by 80 percent. Transitioning our heating and cooling systems will present the most challenging part of this energy transformation. To develop guidance for this effort, the university has undertaken the North Campus Clean Energy Study.

Funded by a $100,000 grant from the DOER Leading By Example program, Salem State hired MEP Associates, a Salas O’Brien Company, experts in campus energy master planning, to develop a phased roadmap to shift North Campus buildings away from fossil fuels to clean energy by 2050. This assessment tool will envision energy efficiencies and fuel sources for the eight buildings served by the gas-powered steam plant and the two residence halls with their own gas boilers. Solutions will range from energy efficiency to positioning us to take advantage of the best technologies of the future. Partnering on the study are DOER, DCAMM and MSCBA as their support will be critical for implementation. Results are expected in April.

For more information on this study, please contact Tara Gallagher at

Learn more about sustainability initiatives at Salem State.

Tara Gallager
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