Aerial view of UW campusUW Alumni for Climate Action

Pledge your support to help the UW become climate neutral while also saving the university money through a Green Revolving Fund.

What's this about?

A group of UW alumni wants to accelerate the pace of UW's carbon-neutral goal, currently set for 2050 by Washington state legislation. But in order to reach the goal sooner, it will take money. UW has plans to install solar panels and retrofit aging buildings to reduce its carbon footprint while actually saving money in energy costs. But these projects require upfront dollars. This is why the alumni group needs your help to establish a green revolving fund (GRF) at UW.

A GRF provides capital for these projects and yields massive energy and cost savings. Cost savings are reinvested in the fund, creating a virtuous cycle of new projects. Put another way, your investment not only benefits UW now, but continues giving to UW, forever.

The alumni group isn't asking for money right now – just a pledge to give once the fund is established. They have partnered with UW Facilities staff and UW Sustainability to begin the process of creating a GRF at UW. This is a long road that requires approval from the provost, so seeing support from students and alumni goes a long way in making sure this very important effort gets prioritized! 

How it works

Your donation is added to the Green Revolving Fund, which is used to pay for projects at the UW which have been vetted to ensure they will reduce energy and pay for themselves in the long run. 

Each project will be monitored to ensure it is fulfilling the promise of reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. The savings from reduced utility bills - more than the original investment - will be returned to the fund, growing the pool of money for future projects. Each year, a report will be produced describing the work funded and its impact.

inspecting a solar panel

What is a Green Revolving Fund (GRF)?

The concept of a GRF isn’t exactly intuitive. Here’s a quick explainer on how it works:

Initial projects

The first phase of work would be focused on conservation, with 17 projects identified totaling $3.2 million in expense. These projects are estimated to save $1million a year in utility costs once implemented, and will return about $13 million over the expected life of the projects, all of which is expected to return to the GRF and fund additional projects. Due to the efficiencies realized by these projects, UW will emit about 6,000 fewer metric tons of CO2-equivalents (MtCO2e) each year, equal to approximately 3.5% of UW’s 2020 MtCO2e emissions. Over the life of these projects, close to 80,000 fewer tons of MtCO2e will be emitted due to these projects, the equivalent of planting nearly half a million trees! 

Project examples:

  • Suzzalo Library Building Updates: 208 tons of CO2 avoided annually, 11.3x ROI
  • Solar Panels on Allen Library: 111 tons CO2 avoided annually

The Organizers

UW alumni Bharath Kumandan and Sam Gooch are working with UW administration and faculty to set up, seed and operate a Green Revolving Fund (GRF) at the University of Washington. This fund will be used to finance projects throughout the UW Seattle Campus that have been identified by UW Facilities and select UW faculty as having the following characteristics:

  • Meaningful return on investment / short repayment term
  • Significant reduction of UW greenhouse gas emissions
  • Material improvement of operational efficiency

For more information, reach out to bkumandan@gmail.com or samuel.gooch@gmail.com

Pledge to give