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PA Treasury Unveils Innovative Energy Efficiency Program to Help Colleges Finance Money-Saving, Job-Creating Projects

October 6, 2011

John Fry and PA Treasurer Rob McCord
Drexel President John Fry and PA Treasurer Rob McCord

State Treasurer Rob McCord visited Drexel on Wednesday, October 5 to unveil an innovative financing opportunity that will help Pennsylvania colleges and universities cut utility costs through job-creating energy efficiency improvements that will also contribute to a cleaner environment.

The Campus Energy Efficiency Fund is a first-of-its-kind investment that can generate as much as $45 million in improvements at as many as 12 schools through projects creating more than 700 new jobs. Over the 20-year useful life of these projects, schools are expected to save $150 million in utility costs and reduce their carbon dioxide footprint by 1.4 million tons – or the equivalent annual emissions of 250,000 cars.

Drexel is the first university to participate in the Campus Energy Efficiency Fund, which Treasury developed in partnership with Philadelphia-based Blue Hill Partners.

“The Campus Energy Efficiency Fund generates positive returns for the people of Pennsylvania and helps cut costs at schools while also cutting carbon emissions,” McCord said.

Blue Hill Partners will manage the innovative fund. Treasury and Blue Hill expect to leverage investment of up to $45 million in funding, including as much as $10 million from Treasury, to qualifying businesses that can provide verifiable energy savings at Pennsylvania private colleges and universities.

Drexel – working with the project engineering team from Transcend Equity Development Corporation – will undertake upgrades at six buildings on campus. The improvements are expected to reduce Drexel’s annual energy consumption more than 7 percent, which will save between $500,000 and $600,000 annually – all with no negative impact to the institution’s balance sheet.

“This program will probably save Drexel at least a half million dollars a year in utility costs and is a perfect fit for our commitment to environmental sustainability and stewardship," said President John A. Fry. "Hopefully this will inspire a generation of graduates who have seen their school make an investment in sustainability."

Drexel’s participation in the Campus Energy Efficiency Fund program continues years of environmental leadership. The University recently signed the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment, validating Drexel's pledge to eliminate its carbon footprint, promote research and educational efforts, and equip the University to contribute in stabilizing the earth's climate. Drexel is included in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) National Top 50 list of the largest green power purchasers. The University was also recognized by PennFuture, a leading Pennsylvania environmental advocacy organization, for becoming the first institution in the country to deploy Viridity Energy's VPower System™, an energy monitoring system at its University City Main Campus.

For more information on the Campus Energy Efficiency Fund, visit www.patreasury.org