California Institute of Technology: Caltech Energy Conservation Investment Program

Author: Rebecca Caine
Published: July 2011

Description: The Caltech Energy Conservation Investment Program (CECIP) was initiated in 2009. It manages $8 million within an existing fund in the school’s endowment, which had been created to finance capital projects. Any member of the Caltech community may submit a project proposal, and projects are considered for approval as long as they have at least a 15 percent return on investment or a simple payback period of less than six years. Building energy use is carefully tracked, both before and after projects are implemented, allowing for determination of the precise cost savings resulting from CECIP.

Savings accrue to the fund until the loan has been repaid, and then are directed toward the general operating budget. CECIP has financed 13 large-scale building projects, ranging from lighting replacements to complete mechanical and control system retrofits. As of August 2010,
these projects have reduced the school’s energy bills by $1.5 million. They have achieved an average return on investment of 33 percent and an average payback period of three years.