Central Maine Community College (CMCC) saved $158,000 in heating costs last winter by converting to natural gas. Working closely with Unitil, a provider of natural gas and electricity in New England, CMCC converted its largest buildings to natural gas service during the summer of 2013, eliminating the college's reliance on oil and propane for heat and hot water.
"The savings far surpassed our expectations, especially after we experienced one of our coldest winters on record," said Roger G. Philippon, dean of planning and public affairs at CMCC. "It's a significant accomplishment in our efforts to keep down the cost of higher education."
CMCC replaced oil and propane heat with natural gas in seven buildings, including classrooms, residence halls, and the school's cafeteria. Natural gas will also heat a four-story academic building that is planned for construction in 2015. Based on estimates, CMCC had predicted the system would pay for itself in five years, but the actual savings now has the college on track to see the costs paid off in less than two years. CMCC expects even greater savings in upcoming winters as it implements additional energy efficiency measures.
"Not only does natural gas burn cleaner than oil, the mechanics require much less maintenance, so we're seeing savings there as well," said Ray Masse, director of plant operations at CMCC. "We've decreased our carbon footprint and built a much more efficient system with help from Unitil."
To expand natural gas service to the CMCC, Unitil added 2,000 feet of pipeline from the existing main branch near the campus. Previously planned utility upgrades and repaving work along the road leading to CMCC provided a convenient window of opportunity for Unitil's underground expansion of the main line.
The pipeline was then continued across the campus to complete the conversion. The project was completed in approximately three months.
“Central Maine Community College is an outstanding example of an organization that has realized significant benefits by converting to natural gas," said Alec O’Meara, media relations manager, Unitil. “Unitil is committed to helping companies improve energy efficiency and reduce their overall energy costs."
Natural gas is a safe, economical energy source that is better for the environment and less expensive than oil. Customers and businesses interested in switching to natural gas should visit www.unitil.com/switch
and use the "Gas Availability Tool" to learn if they might be eligible.
About Central Maine Community College
Central Maine Community College (CMCC) is a comprehensive, public two-year college that delivers career and technical degree programs; education for transfer to baccalaureate programs; and services to support economic development and community vitality. The College offers associate degrees in popular fields such as business administration, nursing, criminal justice, and medical assisting. Technical programs include automotive, computer, building construction, electromechanical, graphic communications, and precision machining. CMCC’s Corporate and Community Services Department offers non-credit courses and customized training and certification programs. CMCC is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Visit www.cmcc.edu
for more information.