A University of Montana student-funded program that supports on-campus, energy-saving projects was recognized in the Sustainable Endowments Institute’s “Greening the Bottom Line 2012” report.
The Kless Revolving Energy Loan Fund accepts proposals from UM students for projects that will reduce annual operating expenses, decrease greenhouse gas emissions and lower energy costs in campus buildings. Projects must demonstrate quantifiable savings and a return on investment.
Green revolving funds, like KRELF, invest in sustainability projects then use the cost savings to replenish the fund. Replenished funds can then be redeployed to finance new projects. “Greening the Bottom Line 2012” recognizes the importance of such funds at colleges and universities to offset rising operating costs and environmental impacts, address institutional environmental goals and foster cross-functional collaboration on campus.
“UM’s Kless Revolving Energy Loan Fund is a unique student initiative with tangible benefits,” said Cherie Peacock, sustainability coordinator in UM’s Office of Sustainability. “Energy-efficiency projects can be good investment opportunities if structured properly.”
Benefits of UM’s program noted in the report include strong student involvement through required student representation on the KRELF governing committee and working with student government before launching the fund.
KRELF began in 2009 and is funded by a $4 student fee. About $40,000 has been allocated for projects including installation of solar panels on University buildings, purchase of reusable to-go containers for the Food Zoo and the replacement of 16 washing machines in dormitories.
The KRELF is named in honor of Sonny Kless, a student who spearheaded the effort to create the fund during the 2008-09 school year. Kless died in a plane crash in June 2010.
For more information visit http://www.umt.edu/greeningum/KRELF/default.aspx or view the report at http://greenbillion.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Greening-the-Bottom-Line-2012.pdf.