By N.R. Mallery
The Billion Dollar Green Challenge is transforming energy efficiency upgrades from perceived expenses to high-return investment opportunities.
The Billion Dollar Green Challenge (The Challenge) encourages colleges, universities, and other nonprofit institutions to invest a combined total of one billion dollars in self-managed revolving funds that finance energy efficiency improvements. Participating institutions will achieve reductions in operating expenses and greenhouse gas emissions, while creating regenerating funds for future projects.
The Sustainable Endowments Institute, in collaboration with 16 partner organizations, has launched The Challenge to help nonprofit institutions achieve sizable energy savings through the use of green revolving funds.
Green revolving funds invest in energy efficiency projects to reduce energy consumption on campus and reinvest the money saved in future projects. The reason they are called revolving funds is that the funds loan money to specific projects, which then repay the loan through an internal account transfer from savings achieved in the institution’s utilities budget.
Montpelier’s goal is to become the first state capital to produce or offset all of its energy needs from renewable energy sources by 2030. The Net Zero Revolving Loan Fund was established by the City Council in 2016 for the purpose of financing municipal energy efficiency and renewable energy investments in the city. The fund is administered by city staff with the support of the Montpelier Energy Advisory Committee, which is tasked with spearheading the city’s Net-Zero Montpelier initiative. The purpose of the Net-Zero Revolving Loan Fund is to capture and track savings from sustainability projects and to utilize part of those savings for subsequent projects. In addition to funding stand-alone energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, the city can also use the fund to pay the marginal costs of efficiency improvements within larger capital projects.
To learn more go to netzeromontpelier.org.