Center for Urban Environmental Research and Education (CUERE):
CUERE is studying human settlements as ecosystems with particular focus on metropolitan Baltimore from 1797-2100 in order to answer the following: 1) What are the fluxes of energy and matter in urban ecosystems and how do they change over the long term? 2) How does the spatial structure of ecological, physical and socio-economic factors in the metropolis affect ecosystem function? 3) How can urban residents develop and use an understanding of the metropolis as an ecological system to improve the quality of their environment and life?.
CUERE is working toward improving estimates of potential nutrient and sediment reductions achieved through municipal street sweeping and storm drain cleanouts.
The Center is studying the gap between current decision making and the emerging understanding of landuse-hydrologic-ecosystem interactions. The project hopes to cultivate a systems-oriented application of science and engineering to sustainable development, focusing on land transformation decisions and ecosystem serves at the urban-suburban fringe.
The construction of an integrated spatiotemporal data warehouse is in progress and will provide a data-driven decision support tool for water resource managers.
Focusing on the Gwynns Falls watershed, CUERE is studying urban groundwater in environmental field observatories in order to better understand how a built environment affects the hydrologic cycle.
The Center is establishing a real-time observing system to determine patterns of the hydrologic cycle at sites throughout the Baltimore watershed. Real-time data will be broadcasted through a website which can then be accessed and utilized by the public at large.
Research is being done on the effects of water availability growth and limits to water supply using the Baltimore metropolitan region as a case study. Determining the availability of water will influence regulatory decisions.
CUERE is developing a well-instrumented pervious concrete demonstration/research site with long-term monitoring for performance evaluation and educational and outreach workshops to deliver design, specification, installation and permitting information to regulators, practitioners and community stakeholders
19.5% of the campus’ electricity is provided by renewable energy sources. UMBC purchases Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to support the generation and development renewable energy.
By combining the buying power of several University System of Maryland institutions, UMBC purchases natural gas and electricity at reduced rates.
By implementing strategic measures to reduce electrical load when the electric grid is stressed by high demand, UMBC receives energy rebates.
Facilities Management is working with an approved Energy Savings Company (ESCO) to perform an energy audit for the campus to identify and quantify additional energy savings measures.
Performing Arts and Humanities Facility will be designed to meet LEED Silver standards.
Chartwells (UMBC’s food service) Sustainability Initiatives
Climate Change Task Force
Faculty, staff and students dedicated to measuring, tracking and reducing UMBC’s carbon footprint in conjunction with the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.
UMBC has a comprehensive recycling program and also donates various office/classroom furniture and athletic equipment to charitable organizations. The campus purchases recycled paper products, cleaning products that are Green Seal certified and Energy Star appliances.
UMBC participates in the annual Recyclemania program.
Facilities Management’s fleet includes electric vehicles and compressed natural gas vehicles. UMBC Transit operates a fleet of buses with service to surrounding neighborhoods, park and rides, train stations and an intercampus shuttle to University of Maryland, Baltimore in downtown Baltimore. MTA buses also provide service to UMBC.
Employee vanpooling is planned as an initiative to reduce the green house gas produced by UMBC. Data maps are being reviewed to see which communities have a number of full time UMBC employees in residence. These employees will be introduced to the vanpool concept. The campus will host “lunch and learn” sessions in fall 2009 and a transportation fair in spring 2010. Mechanisms to enable employees to take advantage of $230/month in pre-tax benefits for vanpools or transit commutes will be in place by winter 2010.