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Framingham State to go greener by converting power plant from oil to gas

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  April 13, 2012 04:53 PM

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This summer, Framingham State University will convert its power plant from oil to natural gas – a move that is expected to reduce the university’s carbon footprint by 30 percent.

The project is expected to start following graduation, and be completed in the fall. The conversion is part of a larger energy performance contract that includes various conservation measures, such as replacing current light bulbs with energy-efficient ones, and replacing parts of the heating and cooling system.

The total cost of the contract is $6.3 million, but the annual electricity and oil savings from the work is expected to be $657,000, according to the university.

The power plant conversion alone will be about $3.2 million, according to a university spokesperson.

The projects will be funded with $2.7 million from the State Department of Capital Asset Management, and another $250,000 will be paid through N-Star rebates. Framingham State will issue a bond for the remaining $3.35 million.

The plant conversion project is the university’s biggest step in its recent efforts to "Go Green."

“This is our number one action point in our Climate Action Plan,” said environmental science professor Carl Hakansson, who helped author the plan. “The 30 percent reduction in our carbon footprint is huge.”

Framingham State students, faculty and staff will celebrate the power plant project during the annual Green Festival on Wednesday, April 18, at 4:30 p.m.

Framingham State University has been recognized as a "Green College" by the Princeton Review for the past two years. The school has also successfully raised the percentage of its energy generated by renewable sources from 1 percent in 2007 to 17 percent presently.

Green initiative efforts have included installing photovoltaic cells on the McCarthy Center and Athletic Building; changing course schedules to reduce the number of days commuters have to drive to campus; construction of LEED-certified North Hall; and the elimination of trays in the Dining Commons.

“There are still a lot of things we need to do, but to accomplish what we have in a relatively short window is encouraging,” Hakansson said.

A full list of green initiative events and green campus tour dates and times can be found on the university's website.

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