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Green revolving funds: an effective approach for financing campus energy projects

College and university campuses are increasingly pursuing sustainability initiatives to reduce energy use and carbon emissions. The implementation of an energy management system can reduce energy use and result in savings with a simple payback typically in the range of several months to a couple of years. One of the biggest challenges to a campus energy initiative, however, is funding for the initial capital investment.

Green revolving funds are an effective financing option for campus energy projects.


Green revolving funds (GRFs) represent a new approach to financing such energy projects. GRFs are loaned to finance energy efficiency projects that decrease utility bills. The resulting cost savings are used to pay back the loan, often with added interest, and made available for other sustainability projects. The concept is spreading rapidly through academic institutions. The Sustainable Endowments Institute recently surveyed 52 colleges with GRFs in place to examine the efficacy and challenges to this approach. The survey results, available at www.greeningthebottomline.org, offer a good starting point for sustainability directors, facility managers, or students who might be interested in initiating a similar program on campus.


One of the challenges of a successful GRF program is to properly base line energy use prior to the initiative and to subsequently establish and maintain a program of energy monitoring and reporting. These data are critical for an accurate assessment of cost savings. The savings calculations must also account for changes in fuel and electricity prices, changes in building use, and changes in outside weather conditions, an important factor in determining building energy use. SEIís survey indicates that cost savings result in a median annual ROI of 32 percent.


Are you a facility manager or sustainability director for your college or university campus?   H I Solutions offers a full suite of web-based, building automation system solutions. Our products are in place on campuses across the U.S., including universities, community colleges, and K-12 campuses. Please contact us for more information on how we can help with your sustainability initiatives. 



About H I Solutions

Since 1974 H I Solutions has provided innovative and cost-effective solutions for building management needs with computer-based automation systems for industrial, commercial, office, retail, educational, and healthcare facilities.  Our distribution channels include a network of Independent Distributors, Original Equipment Manufacturers, and National Accounts.  Headquartered outside Atlanta, Georgia, H I Solutions is committed to offering quality engineering and performance, low overall cost, and unparalleled customer service.