ALLIANCE, Ohio – The University of Mount Union’s Board of Trustees recently showed a continuing commitment to sustainability by approving a Revolving Green Fund to be used for energy-related projects on campus.
The internal fund, the most recent effort in the board’s ongoing commitment to sustainability on campus, will be used to cycle back savings from energy efficiency improvements to fund new projects in the future.
“This is a pivotal moment for sustainability on campus, as the fund will support projects that impact everyone – faculty, staff, students and the greater Alliance community,” said Jamie Greiner, sustainability and campus outreach manager at Mount Union. “The fund will produce tangible results that will help us meet our sustainability goals and will hopefully spark some very innovative, exciting ideas.”
Greiner said the hope for this fund is that it will engage the entire campus community in proposing energy efficiency projects and address the established goals of the Sustainability Management Advisory Committee (SMAC), which are outlined in the University’s Sustainability and Climate Action Plans. The University has a goal of climate neutrality by its bicentennial year of 2046.
“The Revolving Green Fund will enable the University to provide initial funding for innovative projects that support our sustainability goals,” said Dr. W. Richard Merriman, president of Mount Union. “Savings realized will support additional rounds of funding. While those tangible impacts are important, the operation of the Revolving Green Fund will also have tremendous educational value, permitting our community to learn about new technologies and return on investment measured in cost savings.”
The focus of the fund is renewable energy, water conservation and energy consumption projects. The fund requires that all projects have a measurable Return on Investment (ROI) of 5 years or less to reinvest for future projects. According to Blaine Lewis, director of Mount Union’s physical plant, utility consumption data will be tracked and monitored for both before and after conditions to confirm energy saved is real and measurable.
“Potential projects include lighting retrofits of fluorescent to LED bulbs; motion detector light switches to turn off lights when a room is vacant; programmable, remote controlled thermostats to turn down heating and air conditioning systems during non-use hours; solar hot water heating systems and low-flow toilets and shower fixtures,” Lewis said.
Mount Union is currently in the project idea phase with the fund. Anyone with ideas for energy efficiency projects on campus that meet the above criteria is asked to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org to be considered for funding. All project ideas must be submitted by April 2016. Project ideas must include the expected up-front cost (not to exceed $50,000) and provide evidence of at least a 20% payback each year after execution (five-year return on investment). SMAC and the Physical Plant Committee will review all project ideas and select projects to be funded in year one.
The Revolving Green Fund is also an option for donors. Anyone with a passion for renewable energy and sustainability can make a direct donation to support campus projects. For more information, contact Greiner at (330) 829-8161 or email@example.com.