University of Vermont

University of Vermont

UVM Energy Revolving Fund

On February 7, 2012, The University of Vermont (UVM) trustees approved earmarking $13 million for its energy efficiency revolving fund for projects with expected payback of no more than seven years, and a cost of $3 million or less. Calculated savings will be returned to the revolving fund from the utility budgets. A portion of energy savings from projects will be used to provide a 5% return on investment to the university’s general fund.

Monies in UVM’s fund will come from cash that is generated by the university during the course of the year, which is normally invested for short periods in low-risk financial instruments before it is spent on salaries, benefits, interest payments, and other financial obligations of the university. The $13 million represents less than 10 percent of the total cash UVM typically has on hand. With this portion of the cash the University essentially lends itself funding for energy-efficiency projects.

UVM is partnering in the effort with both Efficiency Vermont, a non-profit operating within the Vermont Energy Investment Corp., the state’s energy conservation utility, and the Burlington Electric Department, UVM’s primary electricity provider. While the university is developing a prioritized list of projects, it will rely on BED and Efficiency Vermont to verify its selection and its assumptions about cost and payback period. BED may also assist with energy audits and will provide incentives for any new energy reducing equipment the university needs.

Between 1992 and 2012, UVM spent about $8.6 million on energy reduction projects in partnership with BED with paybacks of around seven years. The funding for these projects came primarily from periodically buying bonds during that period. This revolving fund restores and enhances previous university investment levels and builds on internal expertise through partnerships.


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!

Charter Institution


Burlington, Vermont

Green Revolving
Fund Size





Gioia Thompson
Director, Office of Sustainability