BU Signs Landmark Energy Partnerships

Boston University has taken another big step towards our goal of reducing energy consumption 10% by 2017. In a landmark move, the University has signed memoranda of understanding (MOU) with both National Grid, the University’s natural gas provider, and Eversource Energy, our electricity provider.

“BU is one of the largest consumers of energy in the commonwealth of Massachusetts. The basic idea of an MOU is that it is an efficient mechanism by which the utilities can engage their largest customers in order to save significant amounts of energy,” said BU’s Director of Building Automation Services, Elijah Ercolino.

Though the University has long working relationships with both companies, Ercolino said these non-binding agreements “establish a framework to do business more easily,” which will improve implementation of energy efficiency measures on campus.

The University benefits from being an MOU customer in several ways, but the primary advantage is the establishment of an incentive amount based on fixed dollar value per therm of natural gas or kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity saved through energy efficiency projects.

Prior to the agreement, incentive values varied from project to project, so these partnerships allow the University to maximize the incentives received and more easily plan for future projects.

“Incentives help us buy down the initial cost of project implementation and are a key driver to help our dollars in these investments go further,” said Ercolino.

Both Eversource and National Grid will provide key resources that allow the University to increase the number of energy efficiency projects we undertake therefore maximizing potential energy savings. Energy Financial Analyst, Terry Hatfield says, “These utility partnerships will help to encourage and implement energy efficiency, not only through energy retrofits but also construction projects large and small to maximize the energy saved for the University.” The utilities will also help to track the University’s energy savings and provide technical engineering support, acting as a second set of eyes on projects that have an opportunity to save energy.

“The strategic partnerships will allow us to accelerate our energy efficiency efforts and meet our goal to reduce energy consumption by 10% by the end of FY17 and further reduce operating costs,” said Sustainability Director, Dennis Carlberg.

By giving the University the additional resources necessary to complete energy efficiency projects, the utility providers are not only helping BU to achieve its reduction goals, but their own goals as well. The Green Communities Act, enacted in 2008, requires utility providers to prioritize energy efficiency and requires they provide the state with energy efficiency investment plans every three years.





Dennis Carlberg, Boston University’s sustainability director; Marcy Reed, president of National Grid in Massachusetts; and Gary Nicksa, Boston University’s senior vice president of operations discussed the Strategic Energy Management Partnership at the formal signing of the agreement at the Yawkey Center for Student Services on April 7, 2015.

A 3-year Strategic Energy Management Partnership (SEMP) between BU and National Grid was signed in December 2014. BU will receive free technical assistance and additional energy project incentives, while National Grid will obtain much needed natural gas savings in an area experiencing severe supply shortages, especially during the winter months. National Grid has also provided the University with a part-time in-house engineer to support projects. The SEMP set the goal of reducing BU’s natural gas consumption 5% per year. Total savings over the 3-year agreement is estimated to be 654,000 therms.

“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, ” said Marcy Reed, president of National Grid in Massachusetts.

The partnership was formalized at a ceremonial signing at the Yawkey Center for Student Services, which has saved 98,610 therms of natural gas during the last three years as a result of equipment incentivized from National Grid.

“Partnering with National Grid is a very important part of BU’s long-term commitment to reduce energy consumption,” said Boston University senior 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.”

National Grid will collaborate with sustainability@BU over the next three years to implement energy conservation strategies in all 86 campus brownstones. The goal of this initiative is to reduce energy enough in all of the buildings to be equivalent to making 10 of them net zero energy users.



Tilak Subrahmanian, vice president of energy efficiency at Eversource Energy and Gary Nicksa, senior vice president of operations at Boston University signed a 4-year memorandum of understanding at 1 Silber Way on March 23, 2015.

A 4-year MOU between BU and Eversource Energy was signed in March 2015. BU will receive free technical support from Eversource’s dedicated new construction program team as well as additional third party engineering and energy modeling support. The partnership’s goal is to achieve 30 million kWh in electricity savings over four years.

“We’re looking forward to working with Boston University to engage the BU community in reducing their energy consumption across the dormitories, labs, classrooms and public spaces that make up their sprawling campus,” said Tilak Subrahmanian, vice president of energy efficiency at Eversource Energy.  “We’re confident the university will achieve its goal of saving 30 million kilowatt-hours of electricity over the next four years, setting an example of how these initiatives can be successful in urban settings.”

The partnership was formalized at a ceremonial signing at 1 Silber Way, which has saved the University 2.7 million kWh since 2013 thanks to a retro-commissioning and controls project partially funded by Eversource incentives.

“Over the years Eversource has incentivized our electrical efficiency projects. With their support since 2011 alone we have replaced over 10,000 light fixtures with LEDs to reduce our electricity consumption over 2%. The Eversource MOU will allow us to move more effectively to meet our goal to reduce energy consumption by 10% by the end of FY17 and drive the campus EUI [Energy Use Intensity] down to 112.” said Sustainability Director, Dennis Carlberg.

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