MIT and NSTAR celebrate energy efficiency success, extend ‘Efficiency Forward’ through 2015

Tue, 07/02/2013 - 9:13am
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT and utility company NSTAR recently concluded the first phase of “MIT Efficiency Forward” — a groundbreaking, multimillion-dollar pilot collaboration on energy-use reduction — and achieved their ambitious goal to reduce 34 million kilowatt-hours of electricity between 2010 and 2012. Representing a 15 percent reduction of electricity use on campus, these savings are equivalent to the electricity used by 4,500 Massachusetts homes.

On the heels of the program’s success, MIT and NSTAR have signed a second agreement to renew the program through 2015 and are designing a new portfolio of measures that have an ambitious goal of saving an additional 21 million kilowatt-hours annually.  For this second phase, Efficiency Forward will now also include thermal savings from the reduction of natural gas use on campus, with a goal to save 150,000 therms of natural gas annually over the next three years.

"NSTAR's expertise delivering large energy efficiency programs paired with MITs exceptional faculty, students and staff is now a proven model for distributing energy efficiency improvements across an entire campus," says Israel Ruiz, MIT’s executive vice president and treasurer. "It has not only enabled new ways to improve our energy efficiency, but has also allowed us to use our campus as a living laboratory to test new ideas."

“MIT is a leader in setting and achieving aggressive energy savings goals,” says Tilak Subrahmanian, vice president of energy efficiency for Northeast Utilities, NSTAR's parent company. “With Efficiency Forward, MIT and NSTAR have set a new standard for partnering with customers that continues to influence other energy-efficiency efforts across our commercial, industrial and technology sectors. We look forward to working together to achieve our new goals over the next three years.”

Since 2010, work through Efficiency Forward has touched nearly every building on MIT’s campus and started to influence the way the MIT community thinks about and uses energy. The construction of high performance, energy-efficient buildings such as the MIT Sloan School of Management — which beats the baseline building energy code by 45 percent — as well as the installation of energy efficient lighting and refrigeration; HVAC upgrades with advanced thermostats; and compressed air system consolidation have contributed to the success of the program. 

MIT students, staff and faculty can visit a stockroom on campus to swap out old bulbs for LED light bulbs free-of-charge. Faculty members have turned the campus into a living laboratory where students can explore campus energy systems in the classroom.

In the next phase of the program, MIT and NSTAR will continue to identify opportunities across the building stock with a dedicated focus on maximizing energy savings in new construction projects and renovations. MIT and NSTAR will also create a robust public outreach program to further educate students, staff and faculty on how they can support energy efficiency efforts around campus. 

Since Efficiency Forward launched in 2010, MIT has saved more than $4.4 million in annual operating costs from the energy efficiency and conservation strategies utilized during the program and is expected to capture $50 million in savings over the lifetime of the projects. MIT is expected to save an additional $2.3 million annually from the new three-year program. Efficiency Forward includes a commitment to reinvesting a portion of these savings into future projects.

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