Stanford takes part in energy-efficiency challenge

Oct. 12, 2011, 2:03 a.m.

Stanford committed to help raise $65 million along with 31 other higher-education institutions as part of the Billion Dollar Green Challenge, which was launched publicly on Tuesday at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Conference in Pittsburgh. This pot of money will be invested in energy-efficient projects, called “green revolving funds.”

According to a statement on the organization’s website, the challenge was inspired by a report published last February by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, which showed that existing green revolving funds have had a 32-percent median annual return of investment.

“The Billion Dollar Green Challenge asks our higher education systems to invest in green revolving funds to support the campus sustainability movement,” AASHE executive director Paul Rowland said in a statement. “AASHE supports The Challenge in that these funds will help institutions become more sustainable and will help the higher education community understand the commitment they are making to a just and sustainable future.”

Stanford will join other institutions such as Harvard University, Dartmouth College and Arizona State University. Harvard is rolling over a $12 million Green Loan Fund, which was established in 1992 and had an average annual return on investment of 29.9 percent.

The goal of the Challenge, as its name implies, is for a cumulative amount of $1 billion to be eventually invested into these green revolving funds.

Fahmida Ahmed, associate director at Stanford’s Office of Sustainability, said in the statement that the University’s “fund has already financed over 200 small and large efficiency projects on campus, with an average, simple payback period of just four years.”

– Kurt Chirbas


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