Boston, MA (May 16, 2022) – U.S. Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08) introduced H.R. 7384, the Energy Conservation Opportunities on Campus Act (ECO Campus Act), to advance green infrastructure and transportation improvements at public four-year colleges and universities. Endorsed by the Association of Public Land Grant Universities and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, this legislation would establish a competitive grant program within the Department of Energy to fund projects that enhance campus energy efficiency, climate resilience, and clean energy adoption.
“As recently highlighted by the United Nations’ seminal 2022 report on climate change, a robust and sustained investment in clean energy infrastructure across all sectors is vital to the success of our shared national effort to address the ongoing climate emergency,” said U.S. Rep. Stephen F. Lynch.
“I am proud to introduce the ECO Campus Act to provide much-needed opportunities for UMass, Bridgewater State, and other public colleges and universities nationwide to electrify their vehicle fleets, improve building energy efficiency, install solar panels, upgrade energy and ventilation systems, and complete other essential environmental improvements as they continue to transition to sustainable campuses.”
As reported by the Association of Physical Plant Administrators (APPA), the average age of a U.S. college or university building is 50 years, with the collective replacement value of over 210,000 college and university buildings exceeding $2 trillion. Despite the urgency of completing campus renovations and repairs to increase campus climate resilience, the APPA recently estimated the physical infrastructure and funding need backlog for public universities at $76.1 billion—more than twice that of private universities.
“I commend Congressman Lynch for having the foresight to author such a profoundly important piece of legislation that will help achieve two goals: investing in public universities to provide us crucial funding so we can solve the most pressing issues of our time, and helping us address climate resiliency by becoming more environmentally friendly institutions,” said Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Boston. “As Boston’s only public research university, UMass Boston is proud to champion Congressman Lynch’s legislation and stands shoulder to shoulder with him to ensure its passage.”
“The Association of Public Land-grant Universities is grateful to Representative Lynch for introducing the ECO Campus Act to support energy conservation and climate resiliency on college campuses,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “The lack of funding for public college and university modernization has left a backlog of campus infrastructure needs, resulting in facilities that do not align with the nation’s sustainability goals. The ECO Campus Act wisely invests in energy efficient infrastructure, providing a sustainable learning environment for students. Through this bill, Congress has the double opportunity to both invest in students and an energy efficient future.”
To advance green campus upgrades in underrepresented communities and other areas that have disproportionately endured the devastating health impacts of climate change, the ECO Campus Act prioritizes geographic diversity as well as public colleges and institutions serving a significant percentage of minority students. Under the ECO Campus Act, a recipient may be awarded a grant up to $10 million towards the purchase and/or installation of electric vehicles, electric charging stations, solar panels, energy-efficient windows, and other critical construction, repairs, and renovations to improve campus climate resilience and sustainability and facilitate the transition to clean energy alternatives.
The following organizations have endorsed the ECO Campus Act: The Association of Public Land Grant Universities (APLU) and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)
The following Members of Congress have co-sponsored the ECO Campus Act: Reps. Richard E. Neal (MA-01), Bill Keating (MA-09), Diana DeGette (CO-01), Blunt Rochester (DE-AL), Sara J. Jacobs (CA-53), A. Donald McEachin (VA-04), Sean Casten (IL-06), Mike Thompson (CA-05), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Albio Sires (NJ-08) and Jamaal Bowman (NY-16).
Click here for the bill text.