Following the receipt of a generous grant from the Margaret A. Cargill (M.A.C) Foundation in 2011, faculty announced a range of funding opportunities available to support environmental initiatives at the college. One of the most exciting outcomes from this gift has been a “green revolving fund” to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects around campus. Launched by Marlboro’s Environmental Advisory Committee with a seed grant of $10,000 from the M.A.C. gift, the green revolving fund will provide capital for campus projects ranging from solar panels to energy-efficient lighting.
“In the last few years there has been significant growth in this type of fund at colleges and universities,” said Matt Ollis, math professor and chair of the EAC. “There’s little doubt that it can be an effective way to implement structural energy efficiency measures.” The money that these measures save the college each year will be reinvested into the fund, to provide for other green projects in future years.
For example, the college has already used $1000 from the fund to buy energy-efficient LED light bulbs and replace incandescent bulbs across campus. This improvement alone will start paying back energy savings into the fund in fall 2014 at a rate of $250 per year, replenishing the fund in four years, and may be saving the college twice that amount in utility bills. The Standing Building Committee has approved a proposal for another $1000 in LED, which will be installed this spring and repaid to the green revolving fund starting in fall 2015. There is also a dorm lighting improvement proposal in the works, on the order of $5,000.
One of the goals of the M.A.C. Foundation is to “preserve and promote sustainable use of the environment,” and Marlboro’s green revolving fund is a compelling use of their generous gift to this end.