The Energy Revolving Fund Matthew Brill, Samantha Leopold, Evelina Nikolić The University of Vermont
Overview • The Energy Revolving Fund was created in 2012 to finance energy efficiency projects and improvements at the University of Vermont • The fund came about through UVM’s participation in a Sustainability Endowment Institute (SEI) program, the Billion Dollar Green Challenge. • The UVM Board of Trustees passed the resolution in 2012 to earmark $13 million for an “Energy Revolving Fund.” – Money for the fund comes from cash reserves of tuition and other revenue sources. – $13 million represents less than 10% of the total cash UVM has on hand.
Partners • Efficiency Vermont, the statewide energy efficiency utility operated by the non-profit Vermont Energy Investment Corporation. • Burlington Electric Department (BED), UVM’s pimary electricity provider. • The Sustainable Endowments Institute, a Cambridge-based nonprofit organization, that has pioneered research and education to advance sustainability in campus operations and endowment practices. • Energy Initiatives Working Group, composed of individuals ranging from the physical plant, to campus planning, is responsible for carrying out energy projects financed by the fund. • Vice President of Finance & Administration, approves projects proposed by the EIWG, and presents them to the board of trustees.
– Projects are expected to have a payback of no more than 7 years and a cost of $3 million or less. – A portion of energy savings from projects will provide a 5% return on investments to the University’s general funds.
Structure and Processes • The University is developing a prioritized list of projects • It will rely on its partners to help determine cost and the payback period • This revolving fund restores and enhances previous university investment levels and builds on internal expertise through partnerships. TEMPLATE DESIGN © 2008
Opportunities • The fund will improve energy efficiency, helping to reduce UVM’s environmental impact. • The University will be able to use less energy derived from fossil fuels. • UVM can become a model for other institutions, given we produce beneficial results. • Climate neutrality will be supported through energy efficiency projects. • Using internal capital is a way to positively impact the University in the present and more importantly, the future. Utilizing the fund to its fullest potential will decrease UVM’s energy consumption. This graph shows UVM’s electrical consumption from 1975-2010. The red line shows the anticipated energy use without the investments in efficiency that began in 1990, using bonds. The fund allows these investments to continue. The University of Vermont Campus Electrical Consumption (FY ‘75- FY ‘10)
Improving Communication • Promote annual conferences among local state participants (Middlebury College, Burlington College, Green Mountain College, Vermont Law School) to exchange ideas, challenges, and successes of each individual college. • Expand by sending local annual conference attendees to regional conferences with increased participants (University of New Hampshire, University of Pennsylvania, Unity College, Princeton University, Harvard University, Boston University, Dartmouth University) to compare and share. Promote annual conferences among local state participants (Middlebury College, Burlington College, Green Mountain College, Vermont Law School) to exchange ideas, challenges, and successes of each individual college. • Set up a UVM Energy Revolving Fund outreach group that will communicate with non-participating universities in the surrounding area.
Prepared by the UVM Energy Management Office 2010 by Rich Wolbach
Future • The first project initiated by the Revolving Fund was the installation of 1,300 LED exterior lights around the campus. The University will save around $75,000 a year and the project has a payback period of three years.
• Campus Lighting Upgrades Installing LED light bulbs not only within the outside areas of campus, but also within all buildings and residential halls. These installations can offer 10— 12% savings compared to incandescent light bulbs. Reducing lighting levels, such as stairwell lighting Replacing library stack lighting to allow for dimming to 20% when people are not using the area • Centralized Building Controls Energy control will be more organized and sophisticated by adding more buildings to the central system that allows thermostats and ventilation to be controlled through a set time and schedule program, eliminating human error and providing a consistent way of controlling the energy use of all major buildings..
Challenges • The Energy Revolving Fund has a limited budget for efficiency projects of three million dollars • The guidelines of the fund only allow for a payback period of less than seven years, limiting the project choices. • Staff turnover can be an obstacle, resulting in the loss of institutional knowledge. • There are a limited number of individuals to work on the fund’s projects, increasing the time it takes to complete a task. • There is an annual fee of $2,500 for tracking and accounting services provided by the Green Revolving Investment Tracking System.
References Thompson, G. (2013, February 12). Personal interview. “Greening the Bottom Line.” Sustainable Endowments Institute. Published 2012. Web. Accessed March 18,2013. < http://greenbillion.org/wpcontent/uploads/2012/11/Greening-the-Bottom-Line-2012.pdf> Wakefield, Jeffrey R. “UVM’s $13 Million Commitment to Green Challenge Is Country’s Largest; Surpasses Harvard.” University of Vermont. Published February 8, 2012. Web. Accessed March 1, 2013 <https://www.uvm.edu/~uvmpr/?Page=news&storyID=13175&category=uvmhome>
Contact information Matt Brill firstname.lastname@example.org
Evelina Nikolic email@example.com
Sam Leopold firstname.lastname@example.org