Agnes Scott Joins Launch of $1 Billion Green Challenge

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Agnes Scott College has joined 32 other leading institutions to launch the Billion Dollar Green Challenge. The national goal is to invest a cumulative total of $1 billion in self-managed green revolving funds that finance energy efficiency upgrades on campus.

SustainabilityAgnes Scott College is the first women's college in the country to take the lead in making this commitment and, along with Georgia Institute of Technology, is one of two founding institutions in Georgia.

Green revolving funds involve an initial investment which is used to fund sustainability-related projects. As these projects save the college in costs associated with energy consumption, water and other operations, the funds saved are then put back into the fund to be used to pay for future sustainability projects, thereby lowering operating costs on college and university campuses.

“Agnes Scott is continuously on the lookout for ways to take our sustainability efforts to the next level. A green revolving fund provides a renewable source of funding for small but important sustainability projects, things like equipment maintenance and better building insulation,” said Susan Kidd, director of sustainability at Agnes Scott. “These initiatives are key in helping the college operate more sustainably overall, and Agnes Scott can take pride in being part of the founding group of institutions willing to commit to finding creative solutions to fund sustainability projects.”

In advance of the launch, 33 institutions (including Agnes Scott) have 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 and Stanford Universities, other Founding Circle institutions include California Institute of Technology, Dartmouth College, George Washington University, Middlebury College, the University of British Columbia and Weber State University.

The Billion Dollar Green Challenge launched publicly on Oct. 11 at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) conference in Pittsburgh. With more than 2,500 participants, including representatives of Agnes Scott College, the conference is the largest gathering to date on higher education sustainability.

“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. “Agnes Scott College should be commended for rising to The Challenge and investing in energy efficiency improvements on campus.”

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.

Agnes Scott College educates women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times. Students are drawn to Agnes Scott by its excellent academic reputation, exceptional faculty and metropolitan Atlanta location—offering myriad social, cultural and experiential learning opportunities. This highly selective liberal arts college is known for its diverse and dynamic intellectual community. Through SUMMIT, it provides every student, regardless of major, with an individualized course of study and co-curricular experiences that develop leadership abilities and understanding of complex global dynamics.