USM converts to natural gas for heating

Posted Jan. 03, 2011, at 3:08 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s second-largest university is giving up oil and going to natural gas for its heating needs.

The University of Southern Maine said Monday it will save $315,000 this year on heating costs by converting the central heating plant on its Portland campus to natural gas. USM says it was burning an average of 280,000 gallons of oil per year.

The school, which has nearly 10,000 students, previously converted its Gorham campus from oil to natural gas.

Besides the economic savings, USM officials say they’ll also be reducing the school’s carbon output by 1,048 metric tons a year.

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