Launch of GRITS 1.0, GRITS Affiliates

April 22, 2014



New Web App Connects the Dots on Saving Energy and Money

GRITS simplifies managing and sharing financial, energy and carbon- emissions data from institutional energy-efficiency upgrades

BOSTON (April 22, 2014) – An innovative new web app will enable more institutions to plan, manage and finance energy efficiency upgrades. The Green Revolving Investment Tracking System (GRITS 1.0) will launch on Earth Day (April 22).

“GRITS will level the playing field,” said Mark Orlowski, executive director of the Sustainable Endowments Institute. “Now, schools, colleges, hospitals and municipalities can more easily manage complex energy projects that previously required the extensive resources of large corporations and institutions.”

At many institutions, potential energy efficiency projects are sidelined due to an inability to track energy and financial savings. With GRITS, institutions can now manage, analyze and share data on specific projects–far exceeding spreadsheet capabilities.

“Communication with stakeholders is key to getting widespread engagement in energy efficiency on campus–that’s the beauty of GRITS,” said Jeremy King, Sustainability Director at Denison University in Ohio.

King particularly appreciates the project library with special access to hundreds of projects field-tested by peer institutions, simplified calculations of project-specific carbon and financial savings (both annualized and estimated life-of-project timeframes) and customized reports that tell the story of current and anticipated project performance.

Using GRITS can even encourage charitable contributions to support energy efficiency projects, according to reports from several colleges.

“One of the first donors to the college’s Green Revolving Fund was a man who believes that economic signals should drive environmental decision-making,” said Elizabeth Kiss, the president of Agnes Scott College in Georgia. “He thought a revolving fund was a great idea. He liked its economic realism and the careful tracking and analysis involved, including the documentation available with GRITS. Above all, he was excited about what students would learn from this process.”

The potential impact of GRITS on national energy use is large; buildings consume almost half (49 percent) of all energy used in the United States, and three quarters of all electricity, “Making the GRITS 1.0 app affordable and accessible will encourage many more institutions to commit to energy-efficiency projects,” Orlowski said.

“Tracking and quantifying project-level energy and financial data is critical to scaling institutional retrofit investment as part of the tremendous opportunity for energy efficiency projects nationwide,” said Jake Baker, co-author of United States Building Energy Efficiency Retrofits. The 2012 report by Deutsche Bank Climate Change Advisors and the Rockefeller Foundation indicates that investing $279 billion in building retrofits in the United States could yield more than $1 trillion of energy savings over 10 years.

The culmination of collaboration among more than 20 colleges, development of GRITS 1.0 was spearheaded by the Boston-based Sustainable Endowments Institute (SEI), a special project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. Watch a 60-second video walkthrough of GRITS 1.0 now.