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There are many ways to finance sustainability, campus energy efficiencies, and resilience efforts. 

Generally - if energy efficiency projects are funded they tend to reduce utility costs as well as reduce deferred maintenance, increase comfort of users and improve the overall carbon footprint of a campus.  Improvements can benefit both the financial as well as the environmental bottom line.

Options include (but are not limited to) direct capital improvements,  "green revolving funds", utility or vendor rebates, power purchase agreements,  dedicated student fees, endowment  loans, specialized loan funds, energy-savings performance contracts,  and many other sources. 

Some resources are:

U S Dept of Energy has many options on financing: 

Higher Education Energy Financing Primer 

 Financing Energy Projects in Higher Education webinar 

On-Demand Webinar: Containing Cost and Risk with Renewables - Power Purchase Agreement Story

Financing  Sustainability on Campus (Ebook)

Western Michigan UniversityKalamazoo, Mich.    Facilities management, project cost and avoidance, Return on Investment (ROI): LED conversion, parking structure LED upgrades, chemistry building lab exhaust and ice arena heat recovery system.

West Chester UniversityWest Chester, Pa.   Geothermal initiative - long range plan with components, system performance and financial information.

CalTech Energy Conservation Investment Program (CECIP)Pasadena, CA   States the process, criteria and projects and graphs the program financials and results.   It is development of a program that combines finance, engineering and operations to implement energy conservation measures without negatively impacting research.   

Denison UniversityGranville, OH   Green Revolving Fund - definition, initiatives, specifics example of financial investment and return on  building improvements.

McLennan Community CollegeWaco, TX   Reduction in  cost of electrical, water and gas from 2008 to 2014 - good graph  highlighting dynamic improvement due to projects and staff training.

North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC   Combined heat and power plant describes  how consolidated plant provided reliable emergency power, financial advantage, provided fuel and technology flexibility,  removed deferred maintenance and created savings in two years.  Also included on the poster is the email/phone/name contact info for the National Technical Assistance Partnership (TAP) for all seven regions in the U.S.

Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI   Green revolving fund history - clear graphics from 1980 on reducing costs with investment and average annual return on investment - Official joining 2012 Billion Dollar Green Challenge with graphics clearly identifying the need, process and savings on investment and ROI. 

Bowdoin CollegeBrunswick, Maine   A solar project for campus use that is third party financed, built, owned and maintained by SolarCity.

Delaware State UniversityDover, Del.  Energy performance contracting

For information on these posters, contacts at these impressive institutions or other - just contact - Sally Grans Korsh, Director of Faculties Management and Environmental Policy 202-861-2571,


On Demand - Web Series - Free to Members!
Expanding Financial Leadership Series: Facilities, Energy Efficiency Sustainability AND Deferred maintenance

In the web series Expanding Financial Leadership: Facilities, Energy Efficiency and Sustainability there are now five  30-minute videos that will inform participants on how to expand their knowledge base to create a conceptual facilities framework that can impact their campuses for years to come. Videos in the series include:Expanding Financial Leadership: Facilities, Energy Efficiency and SustainabilityTurning Deferred Maintenance Challenges into Savings(January 2016)Bending the Defrred Maintenance Curve - Value of Whole Building Energy Retrofits (December 2016) 


Related Content

2019 Campus Efficiencies Posters

View campus success stories from poster submittals at the 2018 Annual Meeting. These posters are a great resource of how to execute savings as well as how to display success.


Reducing energy saves operational costs, eases utility infrastructure and benefits the community at large. Check out various initiatives that save operational funds, as well as inform students, staff and public. Note new means to advance renewable energy sources!


Review other initiatives campuses are using to conserve water. Due to either environmental or utility infrastructure problems, in some communities water is becoming the most expensive utility. Vigilance on conserving water can be cost effective, and it helps enlighten students and staff for the future.