Hampshire College joined with 32 other leading institutions today to launch the Billion Dollar Green Challenge. The goal is to invest a cumulative total of one billion dollars in self-managed green revolving funds that finance energy efficiency upgrades on campus.
As part of the Founding Circle, Hampshire College has the distinction of being the only college in Western Massachusetts to take the lead in making this commitment. The Challenge is inspired by the exceptional performance of existing green revolving funds, which have a median annual return on investment of 32 percent, as documented by Greening The Bottom Line, a report published by the Sustainable Endowments Institute.
A bright spot in a rocky economy, these profitable investments are helping create green jobs in campus communities, while lowering operating costs on college and university campuses.
"We're transforming energy efficiency upgrades from perceived expenses to high-return investment opportunities," said Mark Orlowski, executive director of the Sustainable Endowments Institute, which is coordinating the Challenge along with 13 partner organizations. "Hampshire College should be commended for rising to The Challenge and investing in energy efficiency improvements on campus."
Media coverage: Hampshire takes up 'Green Challenge'
The Billion Dollar Green Challenge launched publicly on October 11, 2011, at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) conference in Pittsburgh. With more than 2,500 participants, including representatives of Hampshire College, the conference is the largest gathering to date on higher education sustainability.
"The Billion Dollar Green Challenge asks our higher education systems to invest in green revolving funds to support the campus sustainability movement. AASHE supports the Challenge in that these funds will help institutions become more sustainable and will help the higher education community understand the commitment they are making to a just and sustainable future" said Paul Rowland, executive director, of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
In advance of the launch, 33 institutions, including Hampshire College, have already joined the Challenge's Founding Circle by committing to invest a cumulative total of more than $65 million in green revolving funds. In addition to Harvard, Stanford and ASU, other Founding Circle institutions include Caltech, Dartmouth, George Washington, Middlebury, the University of British Columbia, and Weber State University. (See complete list at bottom of page.)
Endowment investments, operating funds, and alumni donations have all been used to establish green revolving funds at institutions across the country.
Guided by a 34-member expert advisory council, the Billion Dollar Green Challenge offers technical assistance, best practices sharing, access to an advanced web-based tool for managing green revolving funds, peer institutions' project-specific data and invitations to specialized webinars and conferences.
The Billion Dollar Green Challenge has received financial support from the David Rockefeller Fund, HOK, John Merck Fund, Kresge Foundation, Merck Family Fund, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Roy A. Hunt Foundation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Green Power Partnership, and the Wallace Global Fund.
Visit www.GreenBillion.org for more information.
About the Sustainable Endowments Institute:
The Sustainable Endowments Institute was founded in 2005 as a special project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. The Cambridge-based nonprofit organization has pioneered research and education to advance sustainability in campus operations and endowment practices.
Billion Dollar Green Challenge - Founding Circle institutions:
Agnes Scott College
Arizona State University
Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus
California Institute of Technology
George Washington University
Georgia Institute of Technology
Green Mountain College
Mars Hill College
Oregon State University
St. Lawrence University
Thompson Rivers University
University of Arizona
University of British Columbia
University of Minnesota
University of New Hampshire
University of Oregon
Weber State University
Western Michigan University