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An Investigation of Revolving Energy Funds for the University of Michigan: Continuing On a Path Toward Carbon Neutrality

Source Title: An Investigation of Revolving Energy Funds for the University of Michigan: Continuing On a Path Toward Carbon Neutrality

Report Team:

Student Authors

Courtney Bagnall, Aaron Boockvar-Klein, Grant Faber, Fiona Fox, Jacob North

Advisors

Professor Adam Simon, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences; Susan Fancy, University of Michigan Energy Institute

Read the report.

Former Harvard University President Lawrence Summers once remarked, “The best investment in the University is not the endowment but the Green Loan Fund.” For the past two decades, universities around the country have been adopting green loan funds, also referred to as green revolving funds or revolving energy funds, to provide a sustainable source of financing for profitable energy efficiency upgrades on their campuses. This report explores revolving energy funds and what one could look like at the University of Michigan.

The report begins by introducing energy usage at U-M, the rationale behind energy efficiency upgrades, and the authors of this document. It then moves to discuss some of the various uses of energy in the built environment and how we can deploy more efficient technologies to reduce its consumption. The following section discusses some of U-M’s past initiatives in the energy efficiency space, and the section afterward details the financial and environmental successes the university has had with this so far.

Next, the report examines Harvard’s green revolving fund as a case study and details the benefits it has created for the university since its inception. Afterward, we propose a model for a revolving energy fund at U-M. This section includes financial and emissions models that use what we believe to be reasonable assumptions to project potential monetary and emissions savings that could result from establishing a U-M revolving energy fund (REF). The report ends with some final thoughts, our appendices, and the sources used in our research.