Revolving Loan Helps Fund Energy Projects

February 7, 2017

For 10 years, the University of Northern British Columbia has been Canada’s Green University.

And UNBC continues to be a leader when it comes to energy conservation and sustainability on campus.

Since 2012, green projects such as the energy-efficient LED street lights installed on campus in 2015, and the conversion from electric to hot water heating in our Neyoh residence have been funded by a $250,000 revolving loan.

The revolving loan is a line of credit that was made available by the University to the Energy Management Team in 2012 to fund energy projects. The loan provides the capital to finance energy projects on campus, and is repaid through the project-enabled cost savings.

Eighty per cent of the energy cost savings of a project are used to replenish the loan, until the project costs have been repaid. After the loan is repaid, payments continue at 50 per cent of the energy cost savings for the lifetime of the project.

For example, the campus street lighting upgrades are reducing the University’s electricity bill by more than $20,000 per year, where $16,000 is returned to the revolving loan, resulting in net savings of $4,000 for the University.

The revolving loan has funded a range of projects, from small LED lighting upgrades for the Teaching Lab fish tank, to large optimization projects for the heating and ventilation systems in the lab buildings.

“The revolving loan has allowed us to fund more than 20 energy projects costing more than $1 million,” said Amanda Drew, UNBC’s Energy Technician. “We have seen tremendous energy and cost savings since the revolving loan became available, and these savings are growing exponentially.”

Green Day 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of Green Day celebrations at UNBC.

It all started when the Green University Planning Committee endorsed Professors Drs. Ken Wilkening and Art Fredeen's idea to have their new Environmental Studies 325 class organize and celebrate UNBC's recent commitment to sustainability and its branding as Canada's Green University in an inaugural Green Day in March of 2008.