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Boston University Teams with National Grid to Lower Energy Use on Campus

By Jaclyn Brandt, FierceEnergy

Boston University (BU) and National Grid have teamed up for a Strategic Energy Management Plan (SEMP), in an attempt to help the university save money by lowering their natural gas consumption.

The goal of the plan is a reduction of 218,000 therms/year -- or 5 percent of their total natural gas usage. The partners said the savings should equate to around $750,000.

The incentives provided by the incentives will help another BU project -- sustainability@BU -- to implement conservation projects in 74 brownstone row houses across the BU campus. According to National Grid, "These measures could reduce energy consumption across all brownstones to a level equivalent to making 15 of the buildings net zero consumers."

"One of my favorite sayings is that the cheapest, most sustainable kilowatt-hour of electricity or therm of gas is the one you never use," said Marcy Reed, president of National Grid in Massachusetts. "It's especially exciting to work with a Boston landmark like BU, because they're taking advantage of an opportunity not only to save a whole lot of energy, but also to lead other institutions in the region by their example."

Boston University's 100 Bay State Road facility has saved nearly 100,000 therms in the last three years, largely due to equipment supplied by National Grid.

"Partnering with National Grid is a very important part of BU's long-term commitment to reduce energy consumption," said Boston University vice president of operations Gary Nicksa. "The agreement enables us to step up our game in terms of taking on larger and more technically complex conservation projects sooner than we could have without National Grid's support."

BU is focused on sustainability after the winters of 2014 and 2015 brought severe weather to the Northeast. The BU program has committees to focus on Recycling and Waste Management, Energy Conservation, Sustainable Building and Facility Operations, and Communications and Outreach. It is comprised of students, faculty, and administration to learn more about the campus and in the region.

Boston makes a good location for the program, because of the recent weather in the area. After the Polar Vortex of 2014, Northeast utilities and customers have been focusing on saving energy -- particularly natural gas -- during weather events. The coast of the Northeast is also being looked at for many renewable energy projects, including the first offshore wind farm in the United States.

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