Western Michigan University
WMU Quasi Green Revolving Fund
Western Michigan University (WMU) has designed an innovative “Quasi-Revolving Fund” model that demonstrates the institution’s full commitment to incorporating sustainability into campus operations. The Quasi-Revolving Fund recaptures money from cost-savings, similar to a typical green revolving fund, but it also sources capital from the broader utilities, maintenance, and other budgets as necessary in a fluid manner. Therefore, its ability to finance projects is often far more substantial than the fixed pool of capital that comprises most revolving funds. As a result, it does not have a formal and consistent fund size; project finance opportunities are constantly tracked and reviewed as modifications to the overall utilities and maintenance budgets are made. This process allows for the institution to continuously invest in sustainability initiatives that promise a high rate of return without being limited by a lack of capital in the fund itself. The University reports that this combined strategy for funding sustainability improvements through a Quasi-Revolving Fund has achieved a 47 percent return on investment since its establishment in 1980.
Billion Dollar Green Challenge Revolving Fund (BDGCRF)
The new BDGCRF was created with $1 million in startup capital from WMU’s CFO Jan Van Der Kley. The Fund has successfully shifted a “fixed” dollar amount fund (based on previous multi-year, time averaged savings) that will always be available for WMU’s BDGC Committee. The campus committee, made up of facilities management, office of sustainability staff, undergraduates, and graduate students will be able to allocate funding yearly. Through the original Quasi-Green Revolving Fund, such investments were solely put forward by facilities management and the decision to fund was made by the CFO. Under the new BDGCRF, the campus has the ability to explore creative strategies with the Fund providing opportunities for innovation by offering a guaranteed and relatively fixed funding source.
The higher education participants in The Challenge are managed by Second Nature. To learn more about how Second Nature plans to expand use of GRFs in higher education, visit their page!