MIT Aggressive On Energy Efficiency

The smart folks over at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) appear to take emissions reductions seriously, and in 2010, the school launched Efficiency Forward, a multi-million dollar energy conservation and efficiency initiative in conjunction with NSTAR, Massachusetts’ largest investor-owned electric and gas utility, to reduce campus-wide energy use by 10 million kilowatt-hours by the end of the year.

Now, according to MIT, it has blown past that goal with a savings of 13 million kilowatt-hours in 2010 over 2009–beating its goal by 30%.  These emissions reductions were achieved via a campus-wide lighting retrofit project, a project that reduces a dorm’s fan energy by 40% and two high-performance, low-energy-use capital projects: the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and the new Sloan School of Management, both of which incorporate heat-recovery strategies, high-efficiency building envelopes and heating and cooling methods that significantly reduce energy consumption.


image via MIT

The Efficiency Forward Plan calls for a campus-wide reduction in annual electricity use by at least 34 million kilowatt-hours within three years, or about 15% of MIT’s overall annual electricity use (an amount equivalent to that used by 4,500 Massachusetts homes in a year). The plan calls for $14 million in investments, and is expected to result in a total estimated savings over the lifetime of the efficiency measures in excess of $50 million.

MIT and NSTAR conceived of the plan as a new model for enhanced utility efficiency programs in support of the Massachusetts Green Communities Act and the state’s desire to make statewide energy efficiency as significant as new-source electricity generation in reducing overall carbon emissions.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.