Vermont State Colleges first in US to establish revolving fund for sustainability efforts
The Vermont State Colleges (VSC) Board of Trustees has authorized the use of up to $2 million as a green revolving loan fund in support of energy efficiency efforts on the campuses of Castleton State College, Johnson State College, Lyndon State College, Vermont Technical College, and the Community College of Vermont. VSC is the first state college system in the United States to make such a commitment on a statewide basis.
Green revolving funds are an innovative financing mechanism that enables institutions to capitalize on the savings produced by energy efficiency projects. As the funds are spent on projects, they are replenished by savings realized through reductions in energy spending. This encourages institutions to make long-term investments in energy efficiency and provides them with a ready source of upfront capital to invest in new projects.
This latest announcement from VSC brings to one dozen the number of Vermont higher education institutions that have partnered with Efficiency Vermont in publicly committing to establish green revolving funds over the last nine months. Vermont has more colleges and universities signed on to this effort than any other state in the country. Collectively, they have pledged more than $16 million to support energy efficiency improvements on their campuses.
The push for green revolving funds was catalyzed in the fall of 2011 with the announcement of the Sustainable Endowments Institute’s “Billion Dollar Green Challenge,” which called on colleges and universities to invest a total of one billion dollars in energy efficiency projects. Efficiency Vermont, working with the support of the High Meadows Fund, has helped promote the effort in Vermont by reaching out to colleges and universities to explore and model the benefits of green revolving fund investments on their campus.
Officials from the colleges immediately began the process of generating proposals for funding.
“As a system of public colleges, committed by mission to serve ‘for the benefit of Vermont’ and focused on providing an accessible and affordable higher education to Vermonters, we can never lose sight of what drives our costs,” commented Chancellor Tim Donovan. “While the Vermont State Colleges remain the most affordable post-secondary options in the state, health care, energy and static levels of state funding for the operation of the colleges continue to leave a heavy burden on students through tuition costs. This fund will allow the colleges to make smart investments that are good for the bottom line and good for the environment.”
“Green revolving funds have proven to be a highly effective investment for colleges and universities, enabling them to save money and energy both immediately and over the long term,” said Jim Merriam, Director of Efficiency Vermont. “We are thrilled that the Vermont State Colleges are signed on to this effort, and look forward to partnering with them – and all the other Vermont institutions who have made commitments – to help identify projects that take full advantage of this innovative financing tool.”
The Vermont State College system is composed of five unique institutions: the Community College of Vermont, Castleton State College, Johnson State College, Lyndon State College and the Vermont Technical College. The institutions serve more than 13,000 students annually, of whom 83% are Vermonters. For more information, go to http://www.vsc.edu.
Efficiency Vermont was created by the Vermont Legislature and the Vermont Public Service Board to help all Vermonters reduce energy costs, strengthen the economy, and protect Vermont's environment. For more information, contact Efficiency Vermont at 888-921-5990 or visit www.efficiencyvermont.com.
April 23, 2012 – Burlington, VT – Vermont State Colleges