Leading by Example

Ground-mounted solar array at North River Wildlife Sanctuary

A bold goal for carbon neutrality by 2050 needs to start internally before we can help Massachusetts pave the way statewide.

At Mass Audubon, we're taking steps to do our part and reduce our carbon emissions from fossil fuel consumption. By installing or upgrading a wide variety of green features at our wildlife sanctuaries, Mass Audubon has reduced its annual carbon footprint by almost 50% since 2003.  

We've made improvements in several key areas:

Solar meter at Drumlin sheep and goat barn


Mass Audubon has worked to make our buildings more energy efficient by not only auditing and replacing natural gas, propane, and heating oil consuming appliances, but also increasing our usage of renewable energy.

Currently we generate more than 370,000 Kilowatt-Hours of electricity per year from 40 photovoltaic arrays at 20 locations. That's more than one-third (about 37%) of Mass Audubon's total annual electricity needs. We've supplemented this energy capture by using solar thermal water heating—letting the sunlight directly heat our water—at staff residences within three sanctuaries and hot water heating for the shower house at Camp Wildwood and the shower house, dormitories, and nature center at Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.

What we can't generate ourselves, we purchase from our partner, Green Energy Consumers Alliance (GECA). Since 2009, all Mass Audubon sites have been purchasing green electricity using GECA's New England Wind Power product. That means 63% of Mass Audubon’s remaining electricity needs are met through purchased, renewable energy.

Green Buildings

Mass Audubon is committed to the concept and practice of constructing green buildings.

We have applied green building standards to all new buildings, building renovations, and site improvements on our properties since 2014. So far, we've completed upgrades at 10 wildlife sanctuaries like Boston Nature Center and Joppa Flats Education Center.

Find out more about all the green buildings at our sanctuaries.


Transportation is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts. Mass Audubon is addressing this internally by replacing our sedans in our vehicle fleet with more efficient Prius hybrids and electric vehicles.

We've also installed electric vehicle charging stations at several of our wildlife sanctuaries.

Washing freshly-harvested CSA greens by hand at Drumlin Farm

Food, Water, & Land

Mass Audubon recognizes the need to reduce our carbon footprint in food and land sectors, which also hold important opportunities to adapt to climate change. To do so, we've instituted composting systems for food waste at many sites, implemented community supported agriculture (CSA) programs and community gardens at four of sanctuaries, and installed rain gardens or other, innovative storm water management systems across the Commonwealth.

Cleaning water and moving it through our towns uses large amounts of energy and emits greenhouse gasses, so we also conserve water where we can. We've so far replaced 177 toilets with dual flush models, and 33 of those use 1.6 gallons of water or less per flush. We've installed 6 waterless urinals and 24 waterless Clivus Multrum composting toilets. Where we can, we've replaced washing machines and dishwashers with WaterSense and Energy Star models. We even use rainwater stored in a cistern to flush toilets at the Joppa Flats nature center!