AASHE has released a new guide, Creating a Campus Sustainability Revolving Loan Fund: A Guide for Students (PDF), which explains that a revolving loan fund helps overcome the high initial cost of many sustainability projects by providing zero or low interest loans to fund money-saving sustainability projects.
A portion of the savings generated from these projects is then reinvested into the fund until the loan has been paid off. The guide provides step-by-step directions for establishing such a fund.
The authors, both sophomores at Macalester, led the effort to create the College’s Clean Energy Revolving Fund (CERF). CERF is distinct from most other campus sustainability revolving loan funds in that students sit on the board that administers the fund and evaluate project proposals.
The guide provides several examples of how institutions have used revolving loan funds to fund sustainability projects. Most notably, Harvard’s Green Campus Loan Fund has invested almost $9 million in over 160 projects and achieved an average return on investment of over 30 percent.