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.