Fund Helping Seven Colleges Move On Energy Conservation

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Seven small colleges are moving forward with plans to reduce energy consumption on campus thanks to support from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund’s energy conservation initiative.

The seven schools each have received support from the Fund to either establish or expand an existing green revolving fund. Green revolving funds are permanently held capital used for energy-saving retrofit projects on campus, with the fund replenished by the resulting savings.

The Jessie Ball duPont Fund launched its energy conservation initiative in 2009, offering each of its 37 eligible small independent colleges and universities up to $150,000 to collect and analyze energy-use data, adopt campus-wide energy conservation plans and implement campus-wide energy use policies. In less than four years, 25 small private colleges have launched or expanded initiatives to support energy conservation work on campus.

In late 2012, the Fund introduced Phase II of the initiative, intended to encourage the institutions to establish green revolving funds as a means of providing sustainable funding sources for energy conservation projects.

Under the Jessie Ball duPont Fund program, green revolving fund dollars may only be used for campus retrofitting — installing solar or green roofs, for example, or replacing inefficient lighting or installing low-flow toilets and showerheads. Grant terms require savings from the retrofits to be deposited into the revolving fund and expressly prohibit those savings from being used to finance other parts of the college budget.

“Our goal is to build a mechanism that can provide financial support for – and capture the rewards of – on-campus changes that will reduce energy consumption,” said Sherry Magill, president of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. “Campus energy conservation has the potential to save money, pay for itself, protect the environment and educate students and faculty about sustainability. In our view, conservation should be the foundation of all sustainability efforts on campus.”

Grants awarded in May 2013 to support green revolving funds include:

  • $125,000 to Ferrum College, Ferrum, Virginia, with $100,000 going to establish a green revolving fund to which the college is contributing $35,000, and $25,000 going to hire a full-time energy manager.
  • $125,000 to Lynchburg College, Lynchburg, Virginia, to establish a green revolving fund to which the college is contributing $25,000.
  • $75,000 to Emory & Henry College, Emory, Virginia, to establish a green revolving fund with the college contributing $75,000.
  • $75,000 to Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky, to establish a green revolving fund to which the University is contributing $75,000.
  • $60,000 to Agnes Scott College, Decatur, Georgia, with $50,000 going to grow the college’s green revolving fund that currently has $395,000 in private donor contributions, and $10,000 going to support hiring a contracted energy manager.
  • $50,000 to Hollins University, Hollins, Virginia, to establish a green revolving fund to which the university is contributing $100,000.
  • $50,000 University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee, to establish a green revolving fund to which the University is contributing $100,000.