University wins applause for green measures

Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, along with local legislators, lauded Framingham State University on Tuesday for undertaking a comprehensive initiative to make the school more environmentally friendly. Murray’s speech at the campus preceded an official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the school’s power plant, newly converted from oil to gas, which is anticipated to reduce the university’s carbon footprint by 30 percent. The state helped fund the conversion, a project that fell under a wider eco-friendly plan that also included switching out 7,500 lights, installing lighting controls that respond to occupancy, and upgrading the school’s heating and cooling system. The project cost $7.1 million, with the university funding about half of the total, but officials say the school will save $735,000 on energy costs a year, or nearly $15 million over 20 years. Separate from the state-funded project, the university has undertaken other environmentally conscious efforts, including installing solar panels on some campus buildings, constructing the new North Hall with energy-conserving measures, making the dining halls more eco-friendly, and restructuring course blocks to decrease commuting days.