Green Revolving Fund

The Office for Sustainability, Associated Student Government, and Facilities Management collaborated to launch the University of Arkansas Green Revolving Fund (GRF) during the fall 2014 semester. The GRF provides financing for implementing energy efficiency, sustainability and other cost savings projects on campus.

What are Green Revolving Funds?

green revolving fundGreen Revolving Funds are internal funds that finance cost-saving energy efficiency, renewable energy and other sustainability projects. These savings are tracked and reclaimed to replenish the fund for the next round of green investments, thus establishing a sustainable funding cycle while cutting operating costs and reducing environmental impact.

Vision

The mission of the University of Arkansas Green Revolving Fund is to facilitate ­campus-wide engagement, interdisciplinary collaboration and student-led initiatives that demonstrate environmental leadership and economic benefit. The GRF provides financing for implementing energy efficiency, sustainability and other cost-savings projects. Projects will result in energy efficiency, greenhouse gas reduction, waste reduction or other sustainability-related benefits and have a demonstrated return on ­investment.

Initial Phase

In the fall of 2014, the university dedicated $50,000 over the next five years to the newly developed Green Revolving Fund. The $50,000 fund is an investment by the U of A campus to support student-, staff- and faculty-led sustainability projects and to facilitate campus-wide energy conservation.

The first round of GRF applications was accepted in November 2014. Three project proposals were submitted during the application period. The applications will be reviewed by the Managed Systems Working Group of the University of Arkansas Sustainability Council, and project recommendations will be made to the Council in the spring of 2015. Implementation of the first GRF funded project(s) will take place by the end of the 2015 fiscal year. The applicants themselves will be primarily responsible for the implementation of the projects while the OFS will provide necessary administrative support.

Applications will be considered on the basis of several key criteria. Projects will need to show a simple payback period of five years to ensure that project savings are paying back into the fund after the final $10,000 contribution is added in the fifth year. This will allow the fund to become self-sustaining. Educational value is another important factor in the selection of projects. As part of an institution of higher education, our projects should help to raise awareness and understanding among students and provide the opportunity to see sustainability principles in action.

LED light bulbsAs a pilot project for the fund, the OFS changed several CFL light bulbs in the Sustainability House to LED bulbs. The LED project represents minor energy savings for the university and ­provides a small-scale example of the type of projects students could propose in the ­future.

Model Green Revolving Funds

The U of A joins dozens of other institutions, including Harvard, Stanford and Arizona State University, in the implementation of a Green Revolving Fund. Examples of GRF-funded, ­student-led projects at other campuses include high-efficiency lighting, low flow showerheads, power cogeneration units, photovoltaic solar panels and greenhouse gardens for dorms.