Huston Tillotson University
At a Glance
College or University
Sustainability and Energy Management Strategy
Logan McCoy researched financing mechanisms for energy efficiency upgrades at Huston-Tillotson University and linked these mechanisms to the planned implementation of a Green Revolving Fund at the university.
Huston-Tillotson University (HT), a historically black university, wants to bridge the disconnect between sustainability and underrepresented communities. The institution is working to become one of the greenest campuses in America as it pursues climate neutrality by 2048. Continuing its partnership with EDF, HT brought on its third Climate Corps fellow, Logan McCoy, to address an outstanding challenge: financing.
Logan researched innovative financing mechanisms for efficiency upgrades and ways to avoid large up-front costs and additional debt. He helped to advance a partnership between HT and the Sustainable Endowments Institute (SEI). Through SEI’s BEST Fund--an Energy Services Agreement (ESA) that serves as a vehicle for energy efficient upgrades to be installed, owned and operated by a BEST Fund vendor—HT could internalize a portion of the savings, while SEI would cover the cost of an initial energy audit, identify the scope of potential upgrades and commit the university to launching a Green Revolving Fund (GRF).
The energy audit would also highlight projects suitable for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing. PACE would allow HT to receive up to 100% of the funding for energy efficiency upgrades from lenders and pay them off using a portion of the savings generated, as an assessment on the property tax.
In the face of an aging campus infrastructure, Logan’s strategy could enable the financially-constrained HT to replace current equipment and establish a long-term plan for efficiency improvements. Using the two financing mechanisms, HT could devote a portion of the savings from the positive cash flows to the GRF. A GRF will give HT more autonomy, allow them to internalize 100% of the savings from future projects and establish a mechanism for achieving its sustainability goals.