Michigan K-12 public school districts are continually seeking ways to increase operating efficiencies to provide first-rate educational facilities for students and teachers. Oftentimes, operating expenses represent one of the largest budget line items within a school district, second only to salaries. With limited funds for capital improvements and rising utility bills, a green revolving fund (GRF) can help school districts avoid unnecessary operating costs, save money on energy expenses, and improve instructional environments.
A GRF is an internal investment tool that helps school districts establish a sustainable funding stream for facility improvements, all while reducing environmental impacts and improving your bottom line. The cost savings from building upgrades are returned to the GRF account from which they originated, allowing the account to grow and make additional project investments over time. The account balance of a GRF can act as either a direct cash loan or serve as collateral to leverage low-cost financing.
A GRF can address important areas of need within a school district related to facility improvements. In particular, a GRF can help school districts:
In general, eligible projects include lighting upgrades; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning enhancements; food service measures; building envelope improvements; and building operations. Additional projects may be deemed eligible through a business energy assessment conducted by a certified professional. To ensure that a GRF delivers on all is promises, a tracking system can be established to monitor and verify savings that result from the implementation of your chosen energy savings projects.
A GRF can develop into an extremely valuable, high-return investment opportunity, School districts are encouraged to not only maximize the energy savings allocated to a GRF on a project basis, but pursue additional funds to be used by the internal program. For example, a community business or foundation may be willing to support a GRF. By increasing a GRF, a school district increases the opportunities to capture energy savings and improve quality of instructional facilities.
All schools have the option to bond or utilize sinking or capital funds to finance a project. But there are other options. For school districts with financing needs, Michigan Saves, a nonprofit green bank, makes affordable financing and incentives available through partnerships with private sector lenders and energy providers through its Public Sector Energy Financing Program.
Michigan Saves partners with Consumers Energy and DTE Energy to provide first come, first served, financial rates for qualifying energy efficiency projects. These special incentives can significantly reduce project costs and may be available for a limited time only. More information on financing and incentives through Michigan Saves can be found at MichiganSaves.org.
Recieve technical assistance to help you maximize the success of your energy project, save money, reduce operating expenses, and improve classroom environments.