Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray today joined with officials from Framingham State University and state and local officials to celebrate the completion of the conversion of the University’s Power Plant from number six fuel oil to natural gas, a move that is expected to reduce Framingham State University’s carbon footprint by up to 30 percent.
“Since 2007, Governor Patrick and our Administration have set an ambitious clean energy agenda for Massachusetts,” said Murray. “In addition to working with businesses and municipalities to invest in clean energy, we are also leading by example and investing in energy efficiency initiatives for state buildings across the Commonwealth. This project at Framingham State University is a great example of our work that is helping to protect the environment and reduce our reliance on foreign fossil fuels.”
In 2007, Governor Deval Patrick signed Executive Order 484, which required state agencies, including all state colleges and universities, to significantly reduce their environmental impact.
In order to fulfill the goals set out by the Executive Order, Framingham State University undertook an Energy Performance Contract in collaboration with the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) and NSTAR. The EPC undertaken by Framingham State University is a model for the recently announced Accelerated Energy Program (AEP) launched this year to help state agencies meet the goals of Executive Order 484.
The project also included replacing approximately 7,500 lights on campus with more efficient fluorescent lamps and installing occupancy controls to turn off lighting in specified areas. Other initiatives included installation of new pipe insulation, replacement of old motors with high-efficient motors and replacement of an old steam chiller in the library with a new high-efficiency electric chiller.
“Not only have our efforts to go green resulted in the University becoming a more environmentally responsible campus, they are saving us hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, which can be directed toward more critical needs,” said Framingham State President Timothy J. Flanagan. “I’m extremely grateful to our student Green Team, Facilities Department, faculty and staff members who played a role in making Framingham State a leader in the Commonwealth when it comes to environmental stewardship.”
“Climate change is an elusive concept, the effects are hard to grasp until you get a chance to see the world from a macro scale and over time,” said Framingham State Rep. Chris Walsh. “The problem is that it is the seemingly unconnected local actions that, taken as an ethos, have been the cause and will be the solution for rampant global warming. The work that Framingham State University has undertaken in understanding and modifying their energy consumption and practices reflects their commitment to the environment in a very real and tangible way. As the newly elected Vice Chair for the Global Warming and Climate Change Committee in the House of Representatives I applaud the University’s focus on this issue and willingness to lead by example.”
The cost of the project was $7.1 million and is being funded through DCAMM. Framingham State University is assuming debt service on $3.6 million of the total cost. The annual energy cost savings is estimated at $735,000, which adds up to nearly $15 million saved over the estimated 20-year life of the project. The University is expected to reduce its CO2 greenhouse gas emissions over the life of the contract by approximately 105 million pounds.
In addition to the Energy Performance Contract, other steps taken by the University to “Go Green” include:
- Installation of solar panels on the Athletic Center and McCarthy Center
- Elimination of lunch trays in the Dining Hall to conserve water and installation of water-saving dishwaters
- Alteration of class schedules to reduce the number of days commuter students have to drive to campus
- Implementation of a composting system that recycles organic waste
“The Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance is excited to celebrate this major milestone,” said DCAMM Commissioner Carole Cornelison in a press statement. “DCAMM looks forward to continuing our work with the Division of Energy Resources and Framingham State University to reduce their energy consumption.”
The Patrick-Murray Administration has invested nearly $23 million in clean energy projects and programs in the Commonwealth’s 110 designated Green Communities, where approximately 3 million Massachusetts residents live. These investments have helped to create a booming clean energy sector. According to the 2012 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report released last year, the Massachusetts clean energy economy grew by 11.2 percent from July 2011 to July 2012 and the sector now employs 71,523 people at 4,995 clean energy firms across Massachusetts, 1.7 percent of the total Massachusetts workforce.