Leandre Waldo, Director of Media Relations
Phone: (802) 923-6195
Vermont institutions of higher education are taking big steps to improve energy efficiency on their campuses and are committing real dollars to do so. Over the last nine months, a dozen Vermont colleges and the University of Vermont have partnered with Efficiency Vermont and Burlington Electric Department in publicly committing to establish green revolving funds. Collectively, they have pledged more than $16 million to these funds in support of energy efficiency improvements on their campuses. This means that Vermont has more participating institutions than any other state and is second only to California in total dollars committed to green revolving funds under the Sustainable Endowments Institute's "Billion Dollar Green Challenge."
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, 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 campuses.
Establishing a green revolving fund helps further several goals for Champlain College, including providing funding to support continued upgrades of historic buildings, and improve on their existing and successful partnerships with Burlington Electric Department and Vermont Gas Systems. It also allows the college to provide an attractive investment opportunity for new and returning donors who are interested in supporting sustainability efforts on campus. According to Christina Erickson, Champlain's Sustainability Director, the college will also use their fund as a vehicle to both broaden and deepen engagement on campus: "We are excited by the possibility of involving students, faculty, and staff in various aspects of the fund, including proposing and evaluating projects, monitoring performance, and marketing our successes."
"Green revolving funds are an innovative financing mechanism that enables institutions and businesses to capitalize on the savings produced by energy efficiency projects," said Erickson. "As the funds are invested in new construction and renovation projects, they are replenished by savings realized through reductions in energy usage." This encourages Champlain College to continue to make long-term investments in energy efficiency and provides the College with a ready source of upfront capital to invest in new projects.
Champlain College recently celebrated receiving LEED Platinum, the highest possible designation, for its Roger H. Perry Hall Welcome and Admission Center. It earned LEED Gold for Aiken Hall and expects to earn LEED Gold for its new 95-bed residence hall opening this fall. This summer, construction is in the works to renovate Bader Hall on the corner of Maple and South Willard Streets to be more energy efficient. Bader is one of Champlain's first dormitories, acquired in 1961. In April, Champlain was named to Princeton Review "322 Green Colleges Guide" in collaboration with the U.S. Green Building Council who developed the LEED green building rating system.
In commending Champlain College for the commitments they have made, Burlington Electric Department General Manager Barb Grimes said: "BED considers these revolving loan funds as a great way to make deep efficiency investments with very good paybacks. By creating these funds, Champlain College is thinking long term about how to save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and tread more gently on the planet. This type of forward thinking planning benefits us all."
Efficiency Vermont Director Jim Merriam agreed, noting that, "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. We are thrilled that Vermont as a whole has become a national leader in this effort, and we look forward to partnering with all the Vermont institutions that have made commitments in order to help identify projects that take full advantage of this innovative financing tool."
Other Vermont institutions that have committed to establish green revolving funds are: Burlington College, Green Mountain College, Middlebury College, Saint Michael's College, University of Vermont, Vermont Law School, and the Vermont State Colleges (Castleton State College, Community College of Vermont, Johnson State College, Lyndon State College, and Vermont Technical College).
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.
Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 90 residential undergraduate and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 384 Colleges: 2019 Edition. For the fourth year in a row, Champlain was named a "Most Innovative School" in the North by U.S. News & World Report's 2019 "America's Best Colleges,” and a “Best Value School” and is ranked in the top 100 “Regional Universities of the North” and in the top 25 for “Best Undergraduate Teaching.” Champlain is also featured in the Fiske Guide to Colleges for 2019 as one of the "best and most interesting schools" in the United States, Canada and Great Britain and is a 2019 College of Distinction. For more information, visit champlain.edu.