Greening the Bottom Line 2012

October 30, 2012

On Tuesday, October 30th, the Sustainable Endowments Institute publicly released the newest edition of Greening the Bottom Line.

Greening the Bottom Line 2012 continues research into the rapid growth of green revolving funds (GRFs), a sustainability financing mechanism that colleges, universities, and nonprofits have increasingly adopted as a means to fund sustainability initiatives inside their buildings and operations. These initiatives typically reduce energy and resource use which result in decreased operating costs and an improved environmental impact. Though many of these GRFs are young- there have been 36 new funds created since 2010- their portfolios have already begun to post impressive returns, with a median reported return on investment of 28 percent.

Implementing efficiency measures can benefit not only the institution itself, but also the students, faculty, staff, and community members that call the campus their home. Greening the Bottom Line 2012 found that a growing number of schools are seeking to implement efficiency projects by reaching into the campus community for inspiration, research, and volunteers. Greening the Bottom Line 2012 also reports on the project- and fund-specific energy savings, cost savings, and fund structures of GRFs across North America.

Other trends featured in the 2012 report include:

  • A 60% increase in the number of GRFs in operation between 2010 and 2012;
  • More than $111 million in capital collectively committed among established GRFs;
  • Over 900 energy efficiency projects initiated with the support of GRF funding;
  • GRFs launched in 31 U.S. states and 2 Canadian provinces;
  • Reported return on investment between 20 percent (Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and 57 percent (Boston University).

Publication Partners: American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), Center for Green Schools at U.S. Green Building Council, Clean Air-Cool Planet, Clinton Climate Initiative, Focus the Nation, National Wildlife Federation Campus Ecology Program, New England Board of Higher Education, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Rocky Mountain Institute, Second Nature, UNCF Building Green Initiative, U.S. EPA’s Green Power Partnership, and Vermont Energy Investment Corporation.

Funded By: David Rockefeller Fund, John Merck Fund, Kresge Foundation, Merck Family Fund, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Wallace Global Fund.

Access the full report here.