Central Gas Line
Solar powered trash compactors and recycling bins have infiltrated the BU campus, along with a reusable mug-toting population who are taking shorter showers and turning lights off when they leave a room. But what’s exciting people on campus now took place 4 feet under.
Continuing its efforts to reduce the University’s carbon footprint, Facilities Management and Planning undertook one of the largest conversion projects to date: extending the natural gas underline pipeline an additional 2,900 feet to the Central Plant, which is responsible for 25 percent of the Charles River campus’s heating and cooling and provides services to buildings such as the Mugar Library, College of Arts and Sciences, Warren Towers and the George Sherman Union.
The pipeline stretches down Commonwealth Avenue from Buick Street to University Road, behind the George Sherman Union and Mugar library, to the Central Plant. The new installation allows the University boilers, which use approximately 1.3 million gallons of number 4 heating oil annually, to run on natural gas, the cleanest of all fossil fuels.
Compared to number 4 heating oil, natural gas has less sulfur, carbon, and nitrogen, and when burned, leaves almost no ash particles, which mitigates greenhouse gas emissions and improves air quality. This project will reduce the University’s CO2 emissions on campus by 3,800 metric tonnes annually, and eliminate our reliance on heating oil at the central plant location. This is equivalent to more than a 2.5% greenhouse gas reduction for Boston University.
Because crude oil is an international commodity and natural gas a domestic product, it is anticipated that the future oil market will be more volatile than the natural gas market. In addition, substantial electric and boiler maintenance savings are expected as a result of the conversion as natural gas is a cleaner burning fuel.
Construction took place following the 2010 commencement and was completed that summer. Work took place on Buick Street, Comm Ave., University Road, and behind the GSU, Mugar Library, and Central Plant. Construction took place primarily at night to avoid additional congestion from BU Bridge project.
In 2006 Boston University upgraded the five boilers in the central plant for more efficient heating and cooling, and to allow the use of dual fuels. To learn about the East Campus Steam Plant, please visit the Boiler Efficiency Upgrade.