Green Revolving Fund

The Energy Strategy for Sustainability and Resilience identified over a million dollars worth of energy efficiency projects on Swarthmore’s campus that would pay for themselves in under ten years and reduce our emissions. From both a financial and climate standpoint, it is in our interest to take on as many of these projects as quickly as we can, but finding the funds to cover the upfront capital costs can be a challenge.

2016-17 President’s Sustainability Research Fellow on the Carbon Charge, Aaron Metheny ‘18 worked with the Carbon Charge Committee and Ecosphere Executive Committee to develop a Green Revolving Fund at Swarthmore, using the model popularized by the Sustainable Endowments Institute.

The Green Revolving Fund is a pool of capital to be allocated to these energy-saving projects. After the projects are completed, as the college saves money through reduced utilities bills, the utilities budget will pay back the Green Revolving Fund until the “loan” for a given project is paid off, supplying capital for further projects. The project loans are managed through the Green Revolving Investment Tracking System.

In spring 2017, the Ecosphere Executive Committee approved the GRF Guiding Document. The first GRF project in summer 2017 was an LED upgrade for the lighting in the Lamb-Miller Fieldhouse, Tarble Pavilion, and gym. In March 2018, the GRF will support an LED upgrade for the tennis courts in the Mullan Center. 

In January, 2014, Facilities undertook an LED retrofit of the lighting over the Ware Pool, and in July 2017, Facilities retrofitted all of Swarthmore's outdoor lighting fixtures. While these efficiency projects predate the GRF, and were not funded from it, they are examples of exactly the types of projects the GRF is supporting. Summaries of GRF-funded projects will be added here in the future.