Boston University uses electricity, natural gas, steam, and fuel oil to heat and power its large, urban campus. In FY14, the University consumed 199,126,547 kWh of electricity, and 1,063,071 MMBTUs of oil, natural gas, and steam for heating and cooling buildings and for laboratory processes. Facilities Management & Planning is working continuously to reduce both energy consumption and demand.


Boston University uses electricity to power lighting, HVAC, and other equipment in every building on campus. FM&P works to achieve a balance between comfort and efficiency when installing lighting retrofits and advanced HVAC technology. The University purchases its electricity from third party suppliers and the local distribution company, Eversource Energy. Through Eversource, FM&P has taken advantage of incentive programs to help fund and encourage the replacement of aging, inefficient equipment with new energy-saving technology. For example, occupancy sensors, which can potentially save about 30% of energy for lighting, were installed at 33 Harry Agganis Way, FitRec, Walter Brown Arena, Mugar Library, in the garages at both 700 and 730–750 Comm. Ave., and the College of Arts & Sciences.


Domestic steam is generated and sold by Veolia Energy to the Boston University Medical Campus. The Medical Campus uses the steam for process needs and for heating needs throughout the year in the majority of their properties.

Fuel Oil

The University uses fuel oil for winter space heating in brownstones on Bay State Road and other properties. Several properties have switched from oil to cheaper and cleaner-burning natural gas. Oil, until 2010, was used to fuel the East Campus Boiler Plant at 763 Comm. Ave. This plant provides steam heat to 2.3 million square feet of facilities along Comm. Ave., including the George Sherman Union, College of Arts & Sciences, School of Theology, Metropolitan College, School of Social Work, School of Law, Mugar Library, Pappas Law Library, and Warren Towers.

Natural Gas

The University purchases its natural gas from competitive markets. The natural gas we buy is transported by the local gas company, National Grid. At BU, natural gas is used for steam generation, space heating, domestic hot water, HVAC, and cooking equipment. Natural gas is our preferred choice of fuel when feasible because it emits lower levels of harmful byproducts into the air. Compared to oil, natural gas has a lower carbon ratio as well as lower nitrogen and sulfur content.

In summer 2010, the natural gas main was extended 2,900 feet from 10 Buick St. to the East Campus Boiler Plant at 763 Comm. Ave., and the plant’s burners were upgraded to allow the burning of natural gas. Converting the boiler plant from oil to natural gas as a primary fuel source is expected to reduce the campus carbon footprint by 3,800 metric tons per year and, at current market pricing, is expected to save the University over $1 million annually in fuel and operating costs over the next 10 years.