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The Efficiency Forward Program

The Efficiency Forward program is one of several initiatives that play a key role in MIT’s goal to reduce overall carbon emissions 32% by 2030.

The program began in 2010, four years before MIT set its GHG reduction goal, as a first-of-its-kind agreement between a local utility (NSTAR, now Eversource) and a large end-use customer (MIT) to incentivize energy reduction projects. It serves as an example of how an organization can accomplish large-scale energy savings through creative thinking, unique partnerships, and open communication.

Initially established with donor funds and seed money, the program’s innovative funding strategy combines MIT funds and Eversource incentive payments to create measurable energy savings and a revolving funding source.

Typical projects to date have included upgrading lighting, mechanical systems, and equipment; fixing and replacing insulation campuswide around steam and chilled water pipes; and supplementing capital renewal projects to make efficiency measures cost effective. Through ongoing energy savings, most project costs are recouped in under five years.

Program highlights

  • Substantial energy and cost savings that persist year after year
  • Continuous reduction of MIT’s energy use and carbon footprint, even as MIT experiences growth
  • Evolving proactive process for continued success
  • Partnerships across campus to encourage buy-in and engagement

Since it began, the program has executed more than 250 energy conservation projects under two three-year Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with Eversource for a total savings of more than 55 million kWh and 1.6 million therms. With these results, the program has proven to be a win/win for both MIT and Eversource.

Looking ahead

As it progresses, Efficiency Forward is evolving from a campuswide system-specific focus (i.e. lighting upgrades and compressed air consolidation) to include a more holistic building-specific approach, which utilizes retro-commissioning to identify energy conservation measures (ECM) and operational deficiencies.

MIT and Eversource have entered into a third MOU (2017-2020) that will demonstrate an increased focus on greenhouse gas emissions, renewables, and a wider conservation scope.

 Consortium for Energy Efficiency
 Energy Star for Buildings and Plants
 MIT Capital Projects
 MIT Office of Sustainability
 MIT Energy Initiative
 Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships
 MIT, NSTAR team up on energy-efficiency program (MIT News)
 MIT Efficiency Forward exceeds electricity reduction goal (MIT News)
 MIT and NSTAR celebrate energy efficiency success, extend ‘Efficiency Forward’ through 2015 (MIT news )
 Energy savings add up to success for Efficiency Forward (MITOS magazine)


Department Directory

Systems Performance & Turnover

Wade Berner
Director of Systems Performance & Turnover


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