Photo by Zeina Sader, student at Framingham State
Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, along with local legislators, lauded Framingham State University today for undertaking a comprehensive initiative to make the school more eco-friendly.
The lieutenant governor's visit to campus this morning preceded an official ribbon-cutting signifying the opening of the school's newly-finished power plant conversion from oil to gas, which is anticipated to reduce the university's carbon footprint by 30 percent.
At the event, Murray said the school is helping to exemplify green initiatives that Gov. Deval Patrick's administration has been working toward since 2007, when Patrick signed an executive order requiring state agencies, including all state colleges and universities, to significantly reduce their environmental impact.
"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," Murray said, according to a statement.
The state helped fund the university's power plant conversion, a project that fell under a wider eco-friendly plan that also included switching out 7,500 lights on campus with more efficient fluorescent lamps, installing controls to turn off lighting in some areas based on occupancy, and making more efficient upgrades to the university's heating and cooling system.
The project cost a total of $7.1 million, with the university funding about half that cost. However, university officials say they will now save $735,000 a year off their energy bill, equaling nearly $15 million over 20 years.
The school also received rebate checks totaling $322,012 from utility provider NStar in December as part of the company’s energy efficient incentive program.
The university has undertaken other efforts separate from the project in its overall Climate Action Plan, which it updates every year. These efforts include installing solar panels on some campus buildings, and obtaining a gold LEED certification for the new North Hall from the US Green Building Council.
The university also constructed a single-stream recycling system, did away with lunch trays in the dining halls and restructured course blocks to decrease commuting days for students and faculty.
Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org