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Sewanee Launches Green Revolving Fund

by: Marvin Pate, Director of Sustainability Integration — February 10, 2014

Do you have an idea about how we can save energy or water on campus? Has it been nagging you?

 

The Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability (OESS) announces the launch of a new Green Revolving Fund (GRF) to finance energy/water efficiency, renewable energy, and other sustainability projects that generate cost-savings. These savings will be tracked and used to replenish the fund for subsequent rounds of green investments, thus establishing a sustainable funding cycle while cutting operating costs and reducing environmental impact. Sewanee’s initial GRF is seeded by a generous $50,000 grant from the Jessie Ball DuPont Fund, and matched by $100,000 from other gifts to the University.

GRF projects typically include lighting upgrades, mechanical replacements, automatic controls, insulation, low-flow fixtures, building envelope upgrades, and many more.

The GRF program is now taking applications from the campus community (faculty, staff, students and community members).  Projects should be submitted by completing an on-line GRF Project Submission Form, found here

Deadline for this round of applications is March 11.  Those projects that appear most competitive in each funding round will be more fully evaluated, engineered and described as GRF Project Proposals, a joint effort by the applicant and the Office of Sustainability.  The criteria that will be used to evaluate projects include:

• Payback duration (only projects with a payback of 6 years or less)

• Capital cost (only projects that cost $15,000 or less)

• Specific environmental benefits such as resource conservation or greenhouse gas reduction

• Potential for community engagement and collaboration

• Educational benefits

The GRF will be managed by a GRF Board, a sub-committee of the Sustainability Steering Committee. The Director of Sustainability Integration (Marvin Pate) will serve as the GRF Project Director.  The GRF Board will rank projects and recommend funding to the Sustainability Steering Committee and final awards will be made.

Savings will appear in the form of smaller payments to utility companies for using less energy and water.  Instead, the monies budgeted for these amounts will be transferred internally back to the GRF.  In time it is expected that the GRF will grow to a much larger size and be able to support more costly, and longer payback proposals.

The Green Revolving Fund is one important component of the Sustainability Master Plan commitment to lead the necessary campus changes to reach carbon neutrality.  It supports the energy & water conservation goals along with operational optimizations, deferred maintenance equipment upgrades and capital retrofits.  Energy conservation itself is one of the three key cornerstones of the plan, along with renewable energy and carbon offsets.

All applicants will be recognized on the Sewanee Sustainability website for their support of Sewanee’s quest for carbon neutrality.  Worthy projects that are not able to be funded will be rolled into the next funding cycle for re-consideration.