On Wednesday, at Drexel University, Pennsylvania State Treasurer, Rob McCord announced the launch of the Campus Energy Efficiency Fund. Drexel, which recently signed the ACUPCC, will be the first university to participate in the Fund. A description from the press release states:
The Campus Energy Efficiency Fund is a first-of-its-kind investment that can generate as much as $45 million in improvements at as many as 12 schools through projects creating more than 700 new jobs. Over the 20-year useful life of these projects, schools are expected to save $150 million in utility costs and reduce their carbon dioxide footprint by 1.4 million tons – or the equivalent annual emissions of 250,000 cars.
Blue Hill Partners will manage the Fund, which offers a promising model for ramping up energy efficiency efforts, and driving down energy consumption – saving money, reducing carbon emissions and creating jobs.
This approach has great potential to help ACUPCC institutions meet their goals, and leverage the power of the critical mass the ACUPCC network represents. Working with trusted partners and ramping up scale can help reduce risk, and overcome some of the common barriers to making these projects happened, such as those discussed in our recent post on Innovations in Energy Efficiency Finance.
The Billion Dollar Green Challenge, which will officially launch next week will help individual institutions realize significant savings, and leverage returns for reinvestment in future projects by establishing Green Revolving Funds — an excellent strategy for moving closer to climate neutrality. By scaling such a model up through consortia of many institutions leveraging the capital of many investors, higher education can go further, faster. These kinds of strategies for cost containment are crucial in minimizing tuition and improving access and affordability.
Read the full press release from the PA Campus Energy Efficiency Fund launch here.