Achieving net zero by 2028 will mean the farm will be capturing more greenhouse gases than we produce on campus.

In a complex organization with diverse activities and programs, achieving this goal in our on-site operations will not be easy. But we look forward to the challenges ahead and to sharing the lessons we learn.

The draft Climate Action Plan has identified the most impactful action areas, reflected in the goals below. Check back to see how we advance towards these goals.

two heat pumps installed along wooden sided exterior wall of a house.

GOAL 1. Replace heating/hot water systems with renewable options

  • Installed heat pumps at two houses used for educational convenings and retreats.
  • Replaced inn oil burners with an electrical hot water heating system.
  • Future: Install geothermal heating system in the Coach Barn using closed loop boreholes and water to air heat pumps.
brown swiss cows being fed in a barn

GOAL 2. Reduce emissions from dairy operations

  • Piloting applications of biochar to manure pits
  • Piloting linseed-based feeding supplements
  • Future: Introduce more fibrous forage in our pastures
  • Future: Expand use of biochar based on success of pilot
  • For more context, read, "Why Cows at Shelburne Farms?"
bearded man driving an electric mower with stone wall in background

GOAL 3. Reduce reliance on fossil-fueled vehicles

  • Reduced mowing schedule and acreage by 50% since 2020.
  • Replaced three gas mowers with electric mowers in our fleet of landscape equipment.
  • Future: Incorporate more electrical vehicles in the farm's fleet where appropriate.
two people in the distance pointing up into the green woods they're in

GOAL 4. Sequester more carbon in soil and trees

group of people gathered around man explaining biochar on manure pit behind them.

GOAL 5. Create educational experiences around our net-zero initiatives to leverage their impact

  • Offering professional learning to educators that showcases our onsite Climate Actions.
  • Sharing updates on many Net Zero initiatives on our website. 
  • Future: Expand partnerships with education organizations.
  • Future: Expand and deepen the visitor experience.
sheep in front of solar panels

GOAL 6. Expand use of renewable energy sources

  • Onsite solar panels and agreements with other providers are offsetting more than 60% of our electricity needs.
  • Future: Investigate additional solar opportunities.
man in green tractor lifting stack of shrink-wrapped cardboard cartons.

GOAL 7. Plan for reducing wider-scope emissions

We will examine opportunities to reduce the carbon impact of farm-wide purchases and travel/transportation.

Reaching these goals will involve every member of our staff, and an expanded team is assisting us in planning for and coordinating climate actions across our 1,400 acres.