NEW LONDON, Conn. — The U.S. Coast Guard Academy has begun its first major upgrade to save on energy and replace aging utilities at the 85-year-old Connecticut campus.

The New London-based academy launched the $72.6 million project Monday.

It says that’s the largest single energy savings contract signed by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security.

Eversource in Connecticut and Ameresco in Massachusetts will perform more than a dozen upgrades.

A high-efficiency combined heat and power natural gas plant will replace half-century-old boilers that burn a heavy fuel oil. All laboratory hoods will be replaced.

The academy will have the ability to generate up to 60 percent of its own power during an outage.

The upgrades are expected to reduce energy costs by more than $2 million annually beginning in 2020.