We've got a lot to celebrate.

Read about the latest news!

SynergE Worcester Initiative on Track to Save More than $1 Million in Annual College Energy Costs

Click Here for PDF

Worcester, MA, April 29, 2015 – A collaborative college initiative that was started four years ago is now on track to save more than $1 million in annual energy costs for Clark University, College of the Holy Cross and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.  SynergE Worcester, a program that was developed by the three colleges in conjunction with National Grid and GreenerU, is well on its way to bringing about $5 to $6 million in energy savings over the next five years as well as significantly reducing the colleges’ greenhouse gas emissions.

The three colleges have jointly invested more than $6.2 million in energy efficiency upgrades to date through SynergE Worcester, assisted by National Grid’s incentive program that was designed for the initiative to encourage the installation of energy conservation and carbon reduction measures. In addition to energy efficiency improvements, the program includes comprehensive monitoring of electric use in 66 college buildings, and utilized innovative sustainability campaigns involving behavior change and campus engagement for students, faculty and staff.

“National Grid has a long history of working with the city of Worcester and its colleges and universities through our award-winning energy efficiency programs,” said Marcy Reed, president of National Grid in Massachusetts. “SynergE Worcester has provided a great opportunity to try new ways of saving energy on the Clark, Holy Cross and WPI campuses, often utilizing comprehensive, building-wide energy efficiency approaches.”

“When we started this initiative four years ago we wanted to reduce our energy use and carbon emissions as well as provide an opportunity for our students to be involved in an exciting and relevant sustainability project,” said David Angel, President of Clark University. “Through SynergE Worcester’s Tri-Campus Council and the program’s campus engagement, behavior change and sustainability components, the project has provided that opportunity.”

“SynergE Worcester’s and National Grid’s emphasis on comprehensive energy efficiency has paid off for our university,” declared Jeff Solomon, Executive VP/CFO at  Worcester Polytechnic Institute. “Our Gateway Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center has been a big energy saving success, with a 33% reduction in electricity use through laboratory ventilation upgrades, the addition of cogeneration, lighting upgrades, and behavior change campaigns.”

“Our students developed some very creative sustainability and behavior change projects which enhanced the sustainability culture on our campus while saving energy and reducing carbon emissions,” said Scott Merrill, Chief Facilities Officer at  Holy Cross. “We also appreciated the program’s emphasis on extensive, ongoing building monitoring in which electricity use is tracked in key buildings. Monitoring is being carried out in 29 buildings on our campus, providing benchmarking and insight into building operations.”

GreenerU initially developed SynergE Worcester in collaboration with National Grid, Clark, Holy Cross and WPI. “A distinctive aspect of the program is that we integrated energy efficiency measures with campus-wide behavior change and stakeholder engagement, including the students,” said Kailash Viswanathan, GreenerU’s Vice President of Operations. “This approach results in greater energy cost savings, provides learning opportunities for the campus community regarding energy efficiency, and demonstrates the colleges’ commitment to environmental stewardship. The schools are often able to address deferred maintenance issues as well.”

SynergE Worcester will continue to the end of 2015, so the program participants hope that additional energy savings will result from the installation of further efficiency measures. In addition to the $5 to $6 million in energy savings over the next five years for the three colleges, it is expected that the SynergE Worcester program will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 22,300 metric tons, the equivalent of what would be released through the burning of 24,000 tons of coal.

SynergE Worcester celebrates year with Showcase Reception

David Angel, President of Clark University

Clark University President David Angel hosted the SynergE Worcester Showcase Reception at the Sustainability Hub on April 28, 2014. The reception was dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of the SynergE Worcester initiative to date, showcasing the energy and sustainability progress that has been achieved at each school.  Green Game Changer 2014 Awards were presented to one staff member and one student or student group from each of the three partner colleges to recognize those who have stepped up in demonstrating leadership and commitment to the goals that underlie SynergE Worcester.

Read more and view photos from the event

Power Down Challenge

Power Down


On October 3, SynergE Worcester launched the Power Down Challenge at the College of the Holy Cross —a program that asks students, faculty, and staff to make one new energy-saving choice in their daily lives. The Holy Cross Environmental Liaisons will work with the community to encourage its members to shut down their computers when not in use, turn off lighting when leaving the room, or activate power management features on major appliances.

All faculty and staff offices will be in competition with one another to achieve the highest participation rates, as will three targeted residence halls. The office and residence hall with the highest participation rate will win a prize of their choice, such as a Green Office Starter Kit or a sustainable ice cream social.

The Power Down Challenge supports Holy Cross’s sustainability goals to reduce its emissions by 20% by 2015 and to be carbon neutral by 2040. Holy Cross has already exceeded its first carbon reduction goal ahead of schedule, and the Power Down Challenge engages the community in reaching its next targets. The Challenge supports SynergE Worcester’s mission to achieve greater sustainability advancements for colleges and universities through collaboration across campuses.

Stay tuned for updates on this project in the coming months.

Clark Green Room Project Launches

Green Room


On September 30, SynergE Worcester launched the second phase of the Clark University Green Room Pilot Project. Continuing on the success of the Spring 2012 pilot program, this peer-to-peer educational program aims to increase energy conservation and sustainable practices in the residence halls through the 2012-2013 academic year.

The project trains students to Green Certify their peers’ residence hall rooms. The student Green Auditors are trained to perform audits for their peers and recommend improvements to their practices. Participating residents are asked to make three new sustainable choices for the year—if they follow through, they earn Green Room Certification. Actions include activating power management settings on computers, turning off lights whenever exiting the room, and cutting down on long showers.

Clark students can sign up to receive their Green Room Audit for the 2012-13 academic year at clarkgreenroom.tumblr.com/signup.

WPI Fall Efficiency Update

Worcester Polytechnic Institute's Campus Center


On September 26, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and SynergE Worcester kicked off a program to improve the energy efficiency of buildings on campus. GreenerU and WPI identified two buildings – Gateway Park 1 and Campus Center – to target in the first phase for efficiency upgrades based on the highest presence of opportunities to reduce energy.

Gateway Park 1, the flagship complex at Gateway Park, is a 125,000 square-foot Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center, which opened in 2007 and is fully occupied with graduate research laboratories, life science companies, state-of-the-art core facilities, and WPI’s Corporate and Professional Education division. The Campus Center includes work and meeting space for faculty, staff and student organizations, conference rooms, mail facilities, dining food court, game room, college bookstore, large multipurpose facilities, visitor reception for campus guests, and lounges. Both buildins presented significant opportunities to improve lighting, HVAC systems, and HVAC controls.

GreenerU is working with WPI Physical Plant to investigate these buildings and work with building occupants in order to save energy, reduce operating costs, and improve both occupant comfort and working environment. Identified projects will be implemented over the course of the next six months. Through the SynergE Worcester program, National Grid will provide enhanced incentives for comprehensive energy efficiency measures on campus.

This project works toward WPI’s vision of sustainability as a three-part approach for achieving the goals of environmental preservation, social equity, and economic prosperity for all members of society.

Stay tuned for updates on this project in the coming months.

Clark University Building Efficiency Program Kickoff

Clark University Traina Center


On August 7, Clark University and SynergE Worcester kicked off a program to improve the energy efficiency of buildings on campus. GreenerU and Clark identified two buildings – the Traina Center for the Arts and the Higgins University Center — to target in the first phase for efficiency upgrades based on the highest presence of opportunities to reduce energy.

The Higgins University Center is a student hub that features the campus dining facilities, work and meeting space for student and staff, conference room, large multipurpose facilities, mail facilities, and a print shop . The Traina Center for the Arts hosts the Visual and Performing Arts Department and features performance spaces, galleries, a resource library, high tech classrooms, and more. Both buildings present opportunities to improve lighting, HVAC systems and controls, and possibly other measures.

GreenerU is working with Clark Physical Plant to investigate these buildings and will work with building occupants in order to save energy, reduce operating costs, and improve both occupant comfort and working environment. SynergE Worcester is committed to working with occupants to uncover otherwise unseen opportunities and to ensure the spaces meet occupant needs. Identified projects will be implemented over the course of the next several months. Through the SynergE Worcester initiative, National Grid will continue to provide enhanced incentives for comprehensive energy efficiency measures on campus.

This project will contribute to achieving Clark’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, including a 20% emissions reduction by 2015 and climate neutrality by 2030.

Stay tuned for updates on this project in the coming months.

Higher Education Building Operator Training

Building Operator Training


The SynergE Worcester partners are pleased to announce that registration has opened for a Building Operator Certification (BOC) course that the initiative is helping to organize in Worcester, MA. Operations staff from the three participating schools will pursue BOC certification in this course with financial support from National Grid. The course will provide an opportunity for these operators to broaden their knowledge of the total building system, and the BOC certified staff members will contribute to the SynergE Worcester efficiency goals at the three institutions. The course will be hosted by SynergE partners College of the Holy Cross and Clark University, and registration is open to participants outside of the SynergE Worcester program.

Click here to find out more!

2012 Worcester, MA BOC Level I

Building Operator Certification (BOC) is a nationally-recognized training and certification program for building operators offering improved job skills and more comfortable energy-efficient facilities. The training is led by highly regarded, experienced professional instructors. Participants receive a collection of valuable reference materials created and updated by facility experts in energy efficient operations and building systems. Certification provides a credential for professional development and offers employers a way to identify skilled operators.

BOC level I is intended for those with two or more years of experience in building operations and maintenance, who wish to broaden their knowledge of the total building system.

Higher Education Sustainability Partnership Targets Energy Savings

SynergE Worcester


A new multi-campus partnership involving some of Worcester’s leading colleges will boost efforts to save energy and reduce carbon emissions through innovative technical, financial, and human solutions. Clark University, the College of the Holy Cross, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute have partnered with National Grid and GreenerU in establishing “SynergE Worcester,” an initiative that will facilitate significant energy efficiency and other sustainability advances within the regional higher education community.

SynergE Worcester involves a multi-pronged approach designed to reduce energy use and enhance existing sustainability programs on the three, highly respected campuses through collaboration with each other, National Grid and its energy efficiency incentives, and GreenerU’s energy and sustainability expertise. The program will target energy efficiency installations that reduce fuel and utility costs for the schools; engage students, faculty, and staff in energy and sustainability initiatives; and utilize innovative financing to bring about reductions in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

“National Grid has a long history of working with the city of Worcester and its colleges and universities from our work with implementing our award-winning energy efficiency programs to our proposed Smart Grid program, which includes our 2011 Green2Growth community summit,” said Marcy Reed, president of National Grid in Massachusetts.  “We’re delighted to support this SynergE initiative, which is a natural extension of our mission to deliver innovative energy solutions that empower our customers to maximize potential energy savings, while protecting the environment.”

“We are pleased to collaborate with Holy Cross, WPI, National Grid and GreenerU on this innovative sustainability initiative,” stated Clark University President David Angel. “Clark and its students are not only enthusiastic about laying out a sustainability vision for the University, but in bringing about real improvements on our campus that will significantly reduce our energy use and carbon emissions.”

College of the Holy Cross President Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., commented that, “In addition to the energy and carbon savings, we are interested in utilizing SynergE Worcester to demonstrate sustainability practices that will engage students, staff, faculty and administration and other stakeholders in ways that lead to both new learning and sustainability advances.”

WPI President Dennis Berkey said, “We believe this initiative will benefit our Institute and our technologically oriented student body through operational, infrastructure, and educational benefits.  The specialized incentives and multi-year nature of the program will allow for the flexibility and growth necessary to achieve ambitious goals and demonstrate a model for other institutions.”

The three participating schools have all made significant strides in demonstrating sustainability leadership and implementing innovative solutions on their campuses. Clark University was ranked in the Top 20 “Coolest Schools” by Sierra Magazine and has committed to reach net carbon neutrality by 2030.  College of the Holy Cross was a charter signer of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007 and has met and exceeded its goal to reduce carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2015.  Worcester Polytechnic Institute earned an A-minus on the 2011 College Sustainability Report Card and features Worcester’s first “living green” roof atop its LEED-certified East Hall.

SynergE Worcester will enable the schools to achieve even more.  GreenerU and National Grid will work with the colleges to assist them in maximizing energy savings over the four years of the project.  The initiative will focus on buildings that are most likely to yield significant energy savings, and through the use of submetering, existing building commissioning, and innovative financing approaches for larger energy efficiency installations, the colleges hope to attain significant cost savings and a reduction in their carbon emissions.

As a centerpiece of the Initiative, the campus community engagement component will seek to involve campus stakeholders in the program to implement solutions and offer learning opportunities for students.  A Tri-Campus Sustainability Leadership Council has been established to guide and lead the multi-campus engagement and behavior change component of SynergE Worcester.  The Council will bring together sustainability leaders from the three colleges to guide the collaboration, build capacity with an ever-growing network of Worcester sustainability implementers, and share resources and best practices to improve each campus’ sustainability program.

“GreenerU is very pleased to be working with Clark, Holy Cross and WPI on this important energy and sustainability project,” said Rob Pratt, GreenerU’s CEO.  “The colleges are committed to making their campuses more energy efficient and sustainable, and National Grid has shown great leadership in supporting the development of the SynergE Worcester initiative.  We are also looking forward to working with NSTAR, the utility that provides natural gas to the three schools, in implementing energy saving programs.”