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Watson Fuel Switching Project

  • $36k energy savings per year
  • 66 tons of eCO2 eliminated per year
  • 2.7 year payback
  • 2% > of our GHG reduction goal

As part of College efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on campus, this summer the Watson Faculty Apartments were converted from fuel oil to natural gas for heating.  The Watson Apartments, built in 1966, until recently, accounted for 44% of fuel oil usage on campus.

Though a geothermal retrofit was investigated, the heating infrastructure was not conducive to making the switch. Thanks to incentives available from our local utility, natural gas was the most feasible option for heating these apartments. To finance this project, the College gave itself a loan to cover the expenses; consumption at the site will now be monitored and the savings will be used to pay the loan back. These savings can be used to finance additional projects across campus.

This winter heating season and beyond, the college will save over $36,000 annually in utility costs in addition to lower maintenance costs. The switch to natural gas will reduce carbon equivalent emissions by up to 66 metric tons each year, along with the elimination the emissions from regular fuel deliveries by truck.

Vassar Sustainability hopes the residents of these apartments will enjoy the upgrade as the heavy metals associated with fuel oil will no longer be emitted into the air and the oil storage tanks have been decommissioned, eliminating the risk of leaks. Fuel oil usage on campus will continue to be looked at closely for opportunities to reduce consumption through efficiency measures, fuel switching, and resident education.