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The Efficiency Forward Program

MIT employs a range of strategies in pursuit of the goals laid out in Fast Forward: MIT’s Climate Action Plan for the Decade, and the Efficiency Forward Program is one of many initiatives that support these strategies.

Efficiency Forward was designed in 2010 to capitalize on enhanced incentives offered by Eversource, creating a win-win situation where MIT could invest in more energy conservation projects and lower energy consumption on campus, thereby helping Eversource meet its state-mandated energy reduction goals. This long-term partnership was a first-of-its-kind agreement between a local utility (NSTAR, now Eversource) and a large end-use customer (MIT), and it illustrated an inventive approach to making an energy conservation program sustainable and economically viable.

The Institute has recently turned to greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction as a primary focus, and the Efficiency Forward Program makes key contributions to campus decarbonization efforts (including the Department of Facilities’ GHG reduction program, overseen by the Engineering & Energy Management group) as MIT works to achieve net-zero campus carbon emissions by 2026, with a goal of eliminating all direct campus emissions by 2050.

Program features

  • The partnership between MIT and Eversource has unfolded through a series of three-year Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs). MIT and Eversource are currently partnering under a fourth three-year MOU (January 2022-December 2024).
  • Efficiency Forward is responsible for documenting, tracking, and reporting all of the energy conservation projects across the MIT campus that apply to the MOU with Eversource. For example, these projects included the latest upgrade of MIT’s Central Utility Plant which resulted in considerable gains in efficiency.
  • Since it began in 2010, the Efficiency Forward Program itself has executed and/or participated in nearly 300 projects for a total calculated savings of approximately 70 million kWh and 4.2 million therms.
  • As part of this campus-wide effort, Efficiency Forward collaborates with a wide range of groups at MIT, including various teams in the Department of Facilities (Campus Construction, Engineering & Energy Management, Utilities, Repair & Maintenance), the MIT Office of Sustainability (MITOS), the Environment, Health, and Safety Office (EHS), and other departments, labs, and centers.

Program strengths

  • 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
  • Proactive process that evolves with Institute needs (i.e., GHG focus) for continued success
  • Partnerships across campus to encourage buy-in and engagement
 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)


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