By Kärin Raddock
FSU received a Leading by Example (LBE) award for its environmental and energy-saving initiatives from Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan on Oct. 28.
According to mass.gov, “LBE Awards recognize outstanding efforts among Commonwealth agencies, public colleges and universities, and municipalities that have implemented policies and programs that have led to significant and measureable environmental and energy benefits.”
Framingham State was honored for converting the campus’ central heating boilers from No. 6 fuel oil to natural gas, installing solar panels on the McCarthy Center and athletic facility, and extending class scheduling so that commuter students and faculty don’t have to drive to school every weekday, according to Professor Carl Hakansson, co-author of the University’s Climate Action Plan. Additionally, a dining facilities water-saving food composting system was installed, renewable energy sources were increased from 1 percent to over 17 percent and North Hall was awarded a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certificate.
Executive Vice President Dale Hamel said, “This Energy Performance Contract project was both a financial and environmental initiative.
“The program is expected to reduce the University’s carbon footprint by 30 percent, permitting FSU to be one of just a couple of public higher education institutions to achieve Governor Patrick’s Executive Order 484 directive to meet certain environmental impact goals,” he explained.
Hamel said the conversion to natural gas from No. 6 fuel oil will save FSU approximately $16 million over the next 20 years. The University also replaced a 50-year-old power plant at no operating budget expense and will save more money by replacing 7,500 lights with more efficient lamps, and installing high-efficiency chillers and motors and lights that turn off in specified areas.
FSU is listed on the Princeton Review’s “Guide to 322 Green Colleges.” According to Hakansson, the University received a “Green Rating” of 98 out of 99, which, based on the Princeton Review’s rankings, puts FSU among the greenest colleges in the country.
Hamel said, “The Green Movement slogan has been ‘Think Globally, Act Locally.’ Three individuals on this campus were the primary advocates for this initiative – Warren Fairbanks, Bob Tatro, and Carl Hakansson – and are examples of how individuals, acting locally, can make a significant difference.”
Associate Vice President of Facilities and Capital Planning Warren Fairbanks said, “Energy conservation and sustainable efforts are now part of the culture here at FSU. The biggest hurdle to overcome now is individual behavioral change.
“Further progress toward FSU becoming a more environmentally responsible campus is completely dependent upon the individual level of commitment to change by the human beings who make up this campus,” he explained.
Both Fairbanks and Hakansson encourage students to review the Climate Action Plan available on framingham.edu.
“We are pleased by the recognition,” said Hakansson, “but this is an effort that only works
with help from students, staff, administration and faculty all working in concert.”