Bellevue College has joined 32 other leading institutions of higher learning to launch the Billion Dollar Green Challenge. The goal is to invest a cumulative total of $1 billion in energy efficiency upgrades on participating campuses.
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As part of the Founding Circle, Bellevue College has the distinction of being the only institution in Washington State to take the lead in making this commitment. The students of Bellevue College made this possible through an initiative that created the Student Environmental Sustainability Fund (SESF). Using a designated student fee, the fund provides resources for environmentally beneficial activities and upgrades on campus. “It’s about what we can do for the college, the community, and the nation as a responsible global citizen,” said Associated Student Government Environmental and Social Responsibility Representative Megan Phan. The college is currently in the midst of a major audit of all lighting, HVAC and water systems to identify opportunities to save resources and money. The audit is being conducted through the State Energy Savings Performance Contracting program.
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 to 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. “Bellevue College should be commended for rising to The Challenge and investing in energy efficiency improvements on campus.”