New Release: Introductory Guide to GRF Implementation and Management

January 15, 2013

Contact: Rob Foley, Sustainable Endowments Institute
Phone: 617-299-6735

New guide provides framework for investing in building energy efficiency upgrades
Report provides step-by-step information on planning, creating, and managing a green revolving fund.

CAMBRIDGE, MA (January 15, 2013) — A new publication answers the call for guidance from colleges across North America in setting up and managing green revolving funds (GRFs) on their campuses. Green Revolving Funds: An Introductory Guide to Implementation and Management combines the expertise of energy professionals and college administrators from dozens of institutions. The goal of the guide is to provide practical advice for designing, implementing, and managing a green revolving fund at a college, university, or other nonprofit institution.

A green revolving fund (GRF) is an internal investment vehicle that provides financing to parties within an organization for implementing energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other sustainability projects that generate cost-savings. These savings are used to replenish the fund for the next round of green investments. The guide is a co-publication of the Sustainable Endowments Institute (SEI) and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and was developed with the consulting firm ICF International.

The guide is part of a suite of resources associated with SEI’s Billion Dollar Green Challenge (, which catalyzes the creation of green revolving funds. The guide responds to the need for assistance in developing and managing these funds – which have a quickly growing presence in higher education, with a 60 percent increase in the number of GRFs in operation between 2010 and 2012. In total, colleges have committed more than $111 million in capital to their own GRFs, which have financed more than 900 energy efficiency and resource-reduction projects on campuses across the country.

The guide includes a 10-step roadmap for starting and managing a fund, which identifies key actions and decision points in the fund development process. In addition, the guide demonstrates how to use existing research and strong data analysis to build a case for a fund, set up its structure, and identify and select projects.

The interviews and research conducted for the guide identified challenges that many institutions have reported when considering a green revolving fund. The guide outlines those issues and offers best practices for overcoming them based on insights from GRF leaders. Many obstacles are of a financial nature, and the guide helps readers gain a comprehensive understanding of their institution’s accounting system, incentive structure, and sustainability investment portfolio in order to inform the fund’s design.

The Introductory Guide to Implementation and Management comes at a time when the green revolving model is expanding to new sectors including healthcare institutions, K-12 schools, and municipalities. The model also has potential to continue expanding into private companies, government, and beyond. The guide joins a host of other tools which provide support for smart implementation that takes advantage of emerging best practices, allowing GRFs to continue capturing financial and environmental benefits, engage and educate campus communities, and build the business case for sustainability.

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, Net Impact, New England Board of Higher Education, Responsible Endowments Coalition, 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, Roy A. Hunt Foundation, and Wallace Global Fund.

Access the full report here.