UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst breaks ground on $125 million engineering laboratory facility

April 24, 2023
The 78,000-square-foot Sustainable Engineering Laboratories will bring a number of centers and laboratories under one roof.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst has broken ground on a 78,000-square-foot engineering laboratory facility.

The university says the $125 million Sustainable Engineering Laboratories (SEL) facility is designed to inspire interdisciplinary innovation and unite the research of a number of centers and laboratories under one roof.

Anchoring the building will be university research institutions in sustainable, equitable technology and transportation: the Energy Transition Institute, the Wind Energy Center and the UMass Transportation Center. Also envisioned to be housed there are new hubs for collaboration and innovation, such as an energy data and operations center, ocean energy and energy storage laboratories and an autonomous vehicle technology laboratory.

UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said, “When its doors open, this state-of-the-art facility will be one of the first carbon neutral, geothermal buildings on campus, thereby advancing our UMass Carbon Zero goals and serving as a model for sustainable design and construction.”

College of Engineering Dean Sanjay Raman said the immersive teaching and learning facility is designed to leverage and attract public and private sector investment. 

The SEL is envisioned to feature:

  • Sustainable construction that achieves net-zero carbon emissions.
  • Test beds for 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 carry out sustainable solutions.
  • Flex learning classrooms and collaboration/demonstration spaces.

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