Using wood pellets as the fuel to heat large buildings such as schools can seem like an attractive choice. UMass Amherst environmental health scientist Richard Pelletier is examining whether burning this form of wood is harmful to public health.
UMass Amherst focuses on educational support and applied research for the renewable energy field through its Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment, whose Clean Energy Extension unit, part of UMass Extension, is devoted to outreach education and the delivery of new research-based techniques and technologies for practical application. UMass Extension is the Massachusetts partner in the national Cooperative Extension System, a public university network of outreach educational units linked through its federal partner, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In Massachusetts, Extension education began at Massachusetts Agricultural College, predecessor of UMass Amherst, in 1911 and was formalized at the national level in 1914. Today, UMass Extension has programs in agriculture and commercial horticulture, 4-H youth development, clean energy, and nutrition education. It also supports work in water resources, environmental conservation, food science, and food safety.