• Two students working on the AERO car

    The Clean Energy Fund (CEF) is a student-initiated, student-supported fund created to fulfill students’ vision of the University of Vermont running efficiently on a fraction of its current energy needs, powered by clean, locally produced renewable energy that fulfills both the University’s needs and supports the local economy.

Congratulations to the Spring 2018 awardees who earned either full or partial CEF funding

students in research lab
  • Sustainable Transportation Initiative
  • Waste to Clean Energy Lecture Series
  • Rubenstein Net-Zero

Thanks to everyone who presented ideas at the Spring 2018 Clean Energy Fund Forum! Information on the Fall 2018 proposal process and forum will be available soon.

Spring 2018 Funded Proposals

Executive Summary

As part of the call for proposals for the spring 2018 Clean Energy Fund Forum, the members of the SRI Advisory Council (SRIAC) received 11 proposals (compared to seven proposals in fall 2017) and invited seven of these proposals to present at the Clean Energy Fund Forum on March 22. One presentation was vetted by the Infrastructure Committee (see the Organizational Chart for more details) and five proposals came directly from community members under the Academics and Co-curricular Education heading. One proposal, SunShares, was an infrastructure project proposed by a member of the Infrastructure Committee but without the approval of the entire group. Evaluation of the proposals occurred using metrics developed by the SRIAC, including alignment with CEF goals, potential for impact and the quality of the overall proposal.
The SRI Advisory Council voted to fund three of the proposals from the spring forum. The SRIAC recommended fully funding one proposal, a student-led Sustainable Transportation Education Initiative, and partially funding two proposals, the Waste to Clean Energy Lecture Series and the RSENR Net-Zero Ready proposal.
The SRI Advisory Council recommends no funding for the student-led AERO Club. The three remaining proposals show potential and SRIAC recommends sending its suggestions, (collected during the deliberation) for strengthening each application, with encouragement to resubmit for the fall 2018 forum.

Sustainable Transportation Education Initiative – Academics & Co-Curricular Education
Awarded: $3,000
Presented by Thomas Maron, Morgan Dreibelbis, Devin Spindel, Deirdre Gill, students

Proposal summary: This proposal is an education initiative to increase awareness of sustainable transportation options on campus. Through Facebook posts (including “boosting”, using a specific software strategy available for purchase), flyers, banners and ads across campus, the proposers aim to increase students understanding of the bike share, CarShare Vermont, bus options and rideshare options.

Recommendation: This request for funding passed unanimously. Members were strongly in support of this proposal. It’s not costly, has clean energy benefits across campus and involves all students.

RSENR Net-Zero - Infrastructure
Awarded: Amount not to exceed $50,000 with a cost-share agreement with the Rubenstein School
Presented by Gary Hawley, Jon Erickson, professors

Proposal summary: This proposal is part of a broad effort to achieve Net-Zero energy at the Rubenstein School, which is defined by creating as much renewable energy as is consumed.

Recommendation: The project proposed is part of a much larger effort to make RSENR competitive among its peers for its sustainability efforts. However, the funding request is large, will benefit only one school with UVM that has already made significant gains toward energy use reductions, and the need from Physical Plant staff is a concern. Members propose funding half of the request and suggest the Rubenstein School commit more funds to the effort. Members passed a motion to fund the project at an amount not to exceed $50,000 and request that the Rubenstein School contribute half of the necessary funds to move forward as part of a cost-share model.

Waste to Clean Energy Lecture Series – Academics & Co-Curricular Education
Awarded: $17,500
Presented by Anju Krivov, lecturer

Proposal summary: This course focuses on opportunities to turn waste into usable clean energy. Prof. Krivov proposes to invite multiple speakers over the course of a semester to discuss relevant topics and allow course credit for class attendance. This model mirrors the Clean Energy Lecture series, which has received CEF funds several times.

Recommendation: Members passed a motion to fund the course at $17,500, minus the cost of the instructor ($7,500). This is the same approach used for funding the Clean Energy Lecture Series. Members also propose stipulating that the lecture series must be open to the university community and broadly marketed.

Fall 2017 Funded Proposals

Executive Summary

At the fall 2017 Clean Energy Fund Forum, members of the SRI Advisory Council received 7 proposals and invited 5 of these proposals to present at the Clean Energy Fund Forum. One presentation was vetted by the Infrastructure Committee (see the Organizational Chart for more details) and three proposals came directly from community members under the ‘Academics and Co-curricular Education’ heading. Evaluation of the proposals centered on metrics developed by the SRI Advisory Council, including alignment with CEF goals, potential for impact and the quality of the overall proposal.

The SRI Advisory Council voted to fund three of the proposals from the fall forum on October 25th, 2017. The SRIAC recommends partial funding of the Bailey Howe Lighting Project and the Renewable Energy Network and full funding of the Bike Share proposal.

The SRI Advisory Council also heard from Zach Borst on the No-Idling proposal from Spring 2017. In the spring, the group requested more information on the No-Idling proposal from Abby Bleything and the Transportation Department. After hearing more details from Zach during a meeting, the group voted to recommend fully funding the project at $10,000.

Bailey-Howe Lighting Project - Infrastructure
Awarded: $38,000
Presented by Aidan Doherty

Proposal summary: The renovation of the Bailey Howe library can include an energy efficiency upgrade of the lighting system. The lighting this project is referring to is the stack lighting above the book shelves on the second and third floors. They are outdated, non-LED/CFL bulbs and are constantly running at the highest wattage. Renovating the lights would allow the school to save up to 80,000 kWh per year. UVM's Energy Manager Rich Wolbach has been involved in advising this project

Recommendation: Initial points highlighted the motivation of the first-year proposer and general support for the effort. Ongoing discussion focused on the details of the project, “this is probably not as easy as it seems”. One member proposed a pilot project of sorts and potentially funding half of the project – 1 floor of retrofits instead of 2. The proposal did not discuss the carbon impact of the change, but moving forward, would be a useful metric. Energy reductions are around 80,000 kWh per year.
After further discussion, the group passed a motion to fund one floor of the project at $38,000. The group agreed that if successful, the CEF would consider funding the second floor.

Bike Share - Infrastructure
Awarded: $83,000
Presented by Abby Bleything and Jim Barr

Proposal summary: A bike share system was one of the signature project recommendations in the Active Transportation Plan, a feasibility study funded by the CEF in 2015. As part of this effort, UVM and Champlain College, in partnership with CATMA are planning to launch a pilot bike share system with the intent that it will expand into a regional system throughout Burlington, South Burlington and Winooski communities. Gotcha Bike was chosen to operate the system after an RFP in November 2016. The goal is to transform our region by providing a high quality, convenient and affordable bike share system that will connect people to more places where they live, work, and play in Chittenden County. Students will pay $25 to be enrolled in the bike share system. The plan is to install 5 hubs with 35 bikes across the spine of the campus at the following locations:

  • Redstone Lofts
  • Gutterson Garage
  • Davis Center
  • Waterman
  • Trinity Campus

Recommendation: This proposal was first vetted through the Infrastructure Committee and moved onto the broader SRI Advisory Council. The group deliberated on this proposal extensively and invited Abby and Jim to a meeting to inquire about details. There was concern expressed about the cost to students about the plan to install the infrastructure associated with the bikes. The group recommends funding this proposal at $83,000 to cover the cost of bikes, infrastructure on campus to park bikes and the associated tracking system for data collection.

Renewable Energy Network (REN) - Academics and Co-curricular Education
Awarded: $1,000
Presented by Jane Stromberg and Holly St. Jean, Co-Presidents of Renewable Energy Network

Proposal summary: The proposal was to bring in 2 honorarium speakers to UVM in the Spring of 2018 as part of our Spring speaker series. The third part of the proposal suggested sending students to conferences focusing on topics of climate change and renewable energy technology, such as the World Energy Forum in New York City, or the GreenBuild Expo in Boston this November.

Recommendation: The group did not feel comfortable funding travel or certification for a small group of students. The Advisory Council did like the idea of funding speakers to come to campus, however. The group voted in favor of funding two speakers at the cost of $1,000.

No-Idling Proposal - Infrastructure
Awarded: $10,000
Presented by Abby Bleything and Zach Borst, Transportation Department

Proposal summary: Given the successful pilot of the idle reduction system, IdleRight, with the Burlington Police Department, we propose the purchase and installation of 8 systems for 6 police cruisers (Ford Explorers), 1 Police Service Unit, and 1 Mobile Command Vehicle (Chevy Tahoe). Idling vehicles burn fuel unnecessarily, contribute to tailpipe emissions, and increase a vehicle’s wear and tear.
If the IdleRight system reduces idling of each vehicle by two hours a day, the UVM police department will annually save:

  • 2,760 gallons of fuel
  • 32 tons of CO2
  • $6,488 of fuel savings plus additional for reduced maintenance costs**

Given the results of the pilot the payback period for this equipment would be 6 months based on gas savings alone, if the installed equipment costs $500.

Recommendation: The group recommends funding this proposal at $10,000 to ensure that a comprehensive tracking system is included to capture the benefits of these devices on campus.

Read about earlier funded proposals

Headwaters Magazine's New England Clean Energy Campus competition

students - campus activities - track team

Check out the winning article of Headwaters Magazine's New England Clean Energy Campus journalism competition, The Sustainable University: Advancing from Academia to Action.

College students across New England were invited to submit articles on what a clean energy campus of the future would look like. Headwaters Magazine received submissions from multiple colleges, including Brown University, the University of Connecticut, Colby-Sawyer College, and the University of Southern Maine. First place was awarded to Katie Shewfelt of Wesleyan University.

This competition was funded by a Spring 2017 CEF fund award.