Priorities

Funding Priorities for Green EDGE Fund 

When we are allocating the Efficiency Loans, which use money allocated by the college, we will prioritize projects that achieve the following: 

  • Reduce energy use: We will only accept projects that directly reduce energy use.
  • Provide payback: We will only accept projects that have a clear and timely financial payback.
  • Invest in equipment: We prefer projects that create lasting, physical change, such as buying new equipment, renovating buildings, etc.
  • Invest in the campus: We will only fund projects that are centered on the college campus, although we're exploring eventually investing in community projects.

When we are allocating the Sustainability Grants, which use money raised from the student body, we will prioritize projects that achieve the following: 

  • Focus on energy: We prefer projects that address energy use specifically. They can directly reduce energy use (even if those savings are not measurable, e.g., with bike racks) or directly educate people about reducing their energy use. We will also prioritize projects that directly reduce other aspects of the community's environmental footprint––e.g., reducing toxic chemical use, reducing landfill waste, etc.
  • Invest in equipment: We prefer projects that create lasting, physical change, such as buying new equipment, renovating buildings, establishing a permanent garden, etc.
  • One-time investments: We prefer projects that require a single investment, and that can then sustain themselves financially.
  • Involve the student body: We prefer projects that are centered on the college campus or involve student participation, but we will also fund projects related to the larger Oberlin community.

Please note: Due to our charter and the purpose and priorities of this fund, we do not fund speakers, lectures, travel expenses, registration for conferences, or other, similar expenses. These expenses are not concrete equipment purchases.

Explanation of the Efficiency Loans and Sustainability Grants
 
The Green EDGE Fund finances two different types of projects: efficiency loans and sustainability grants.

The Efficiency Loans are given for projects that have clear and timely financial paybacks into the fund. The efficiency loans are not like a standard bank loan, where the borrower pays back with interest; our “loans” are rather paid back by the energy savings due to the funded projects. For example, the EDGE Fund will give the Facilities department $5,000 to install a new boiler, and the $1,000 of yearly savings from the energy efficiency will pay back into the EDGE Fund.

The Sustainability Grants do not have any payback requirements. We expect them to be used without recovering any of our investment.

We have these two types of projects because we have two sources of funding. Part of our funding comes from the college administration, which has asked us to only invest in projects with clear financial paybacks (the efficiency loans). The other part of our funding comes from activity fees paid by the student body, which supported using the funding for sustainability projects in general (the sustainability grants). If a proposal could receive either source of funding, we will give it higher priority as an efficiency loan than as a sustainability grant. We prefer projects with a revenue stream that enable us to fund more proposals in the future.
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