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Reducing Energy Costs through Energy Efficient Buildings

Steam and Chilled Water Projects
Electricity Projects
Behavior Change Projects
Renewables on Campus

The Facilities Engineering Energy Team is aggressively pursuing energy reduction projects across the campus. Since 2006, the Energy Team has designated over $2M to energy reduction projects for our buildings and systems on campus. To date, these projects have returned a simple payback of fewer than two years.

Funding for some of these projects was allotted by the Office of the Executive Vice President. In addition, two donors have made generous gifts: Mr. David desJardins and Mr. Jeffrey Silverman. The gift from Mr. Silverman founded the Silverman Evergreen Energy Fund.

Steam and Chilled Water Projects

Building 68Building 68

In Building 68 three types of energy savings opportunities were identified by using data-based commissioning. They were simultaneous heating and cooling, poor performance of a heat recovery system and the setback (and set forward) of heating and cooling temperatures during unoccupied times. These areas were resolved by both programming changes to the building’s automation system and by repairs to valves and valve operators. The changes resulted in reduced steam and chilled water use.

Steam TrapSteam Trap Program

When steam traps fail (in either an open or closed position), they significantly reduce the functional energy efficiency of the system as well as increase operational costs. When a survey was performed in the spring of 2006, on most of the 6,000 steam traps on campus, 20% of them failed. In Phase I, approximately 750 steam traps and 70 control valves were replaced. During Phase II, the department plans to replace approximately 1,050 steam traps and 160 control valves.

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Electricity Projects

Astronomical ClockAstronomical Clock

The astronomical time clocks, which control outdoor lighting, contain an accurate Sunset On and Sunrise Off feature eliminating the need for the clocks to be manually reprogrammed for daylight savings.

Barker LibraryBarker Library Renovation

The Barker Library main reading room received a renovation that included lighting, finishing, and acoustical upgrades. LED task and under shelving lighting fixtures were provided at the cluster study carrels and wall mounted carrels. Large tables and wall mounted carrels were refinished. Chairs and ottomans were stripped down to their wood frames and reupholstered. Efforts were made to reduce the cost of construction, decrease long term usage of electrical power, and to use and reuse environmentally friendly products.

Barker LibraryBuildings 34, 35, 37, 38, 39 Lighting Upgrades

As part of MIT Efficiency Forward partnership with Nstar, lights in the Buildings 34-39 were upgraded to be more efficient. Upgrades include lamp and ballast replacement, wall or ceiling occupancy sensor installation, and new fixture installation in limited spaces.

Barker LibraryBuildings NW13, NW14, NW15, NW16, NW17, NW20, NW21, and NW22 Lighting Upgrades

The work includes opening existing lighting fixtures, changing out lamps and ballast to higher efficiency products, and installing wall or ceiling sensors. These upgrades were also part of the MIT Efficiency Forward program.

Dewey LibraryDewey Library Renovation

Major renovations to the basement, first and second floors of the Dewey Library were completed in October 2009 as a result of an FY07 CRSP study that assessed needs and potential for future renovations. High efficiency lighting fixtures and occupancy sensors were installed that will result in annual savings of 15,000 kilowatt hours of electricity. In addition, the floors were renovated and compact shelving was installed.

Astronomical ClockFume Hood Recalibration

Lab buildings are the most energy intensive buildings on campus. This is primarily due to the use of fume hoods where any processing of hazardous chemicals or biological substances is performed. The conditioned air from general lab space is continuously drawn into the fume hoods then exhausted outside. This protects the researcher standing at the hood or anyone else in the lab space.

An investigation performed by staff from EHS and Facilities determined that the hoods in Building 18 could have their face velocity reduced from 100 feet per minute (fpm) to 80 fpm. This reduction in velocity resulted in a proportional reduction in energy required to heat, cool and move the air in the building, which generated a cost savings and reduced carbon footprint.

Stata CenterStata Center Relighting

More energy efficient and lower maintenance lighting was installed throughout. Office and classroom improvements were made by retrofitting existing fixtures. Bathroom lighting was put on occupancy sensors. Incandescent lighting on the Student Street was replaced with compact fluorescent fixtures with energy reduction and 10 times longer life.

Stratton Student CenterStratton Student Center

Many of the existing light fixtures in the building were energy inefficient, had incandescent lights, and also presented a frequent maintenance burden on the R&M staff. Lighting throughout the building was upgraded to a more energy efficient, lower maintenance system. In addition, occupancy sensors were installed for appropriate areas such as restrooms and offices. to reduce operating hours and save energy.


This project consisted of a full abatement of window caulking, encapsulation of surrounding masonry surfaces, and removal of all contaminated soil. The housing complex consists of four low-rise apartment buildings built in 1964. The exterior window caulking contained PCBs and although it was legal and commonly used at the time of construction, regulations put into place later obligated MIT to address the issue before any problems arose. A full abatement project began in the summer of 2008 and was completed in the fall of 2009.

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Behavior Change Projects

Flip the Switch posterGreeningMIT Logo and Poster Campaign

At the end of 2008, the Facilities Communications team designed a campus sustainability logo for the Walk the Talk group. The intent of this logo was to encompass the sustainability initiatives at MIT. In addition to the logo the team designed a series of posters that were intended to effect behavior change. The materials are used by the Green Ambassadors Group.

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Renewables on Campus

Alumni PoolSolar Panels

Using funding for solar installations from the MIT Community Solar Power Initiative, a project funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC), MIT added to its photovoltaic program. There are now four installations on campus roofs: at the Stratton Student Center, the Alumni Pool Building, Hayden Library, and the MIT Museum totaling 60 kW of PV capacity.

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The Department of Facilities collaborates with academic departments as well as MITEI on a variety of programs. Our staff also works with students and assists them in research topics such as Building efficiency technologies, software development, wind energy systems analysis and provides assistance in staging experimental equipment on campus.

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 Sloan School Expansion
 View of the Sloan School expansion from Memorial Drive. This building, E62, is expected to be one of the highest performing on campus.
 Behavior Change Posters
 Campus Energy Task Force
 Fund helps energy efficiency bloom across campus


Department Directory

Systems Engineering

Bernard Richard
Director of Systems Engineering

Systems Performance & Turnover

Megan Kefalis
Program Manager, Energy Efficiency


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