Senior university administrators of fifteen universities of varying size, located throughout Canada, were interviewed. Universities on the whole indicated ‘Access to Capital’ as the leading barrier to implementing energy efficiency projects. Though respondents agree, on average, that revolving funds are an effective method to address capital funding constraints, only 4 of the 83 universities in Canada are known to be currently implementing revolving funds. Though all universities are implementing energy efficiency projects, the process to implement these projects, and the resources and funding available to do so, vary.

Small and mid-size universities strongly agreed that revolving funds may be an effective method to implement energy conservation projects at their university, though large universities were, on average neutral, due to the concerns outlined above, along with their preference for the status quo.

When compared with current processes for funding and implementing energy efficiency projects, revolving funds: prioritize energy efficiency within institutions, act as an effective method to address capital funding constraints, increase tracking of energy and water use and other sustainability data, foster collaboration among offices of finance, sustainability, facilities, faculty, and students, and offer opportunities for both institutional assessment, and interdisciplinary education and research on sustainability.

It is recommended that Canadian university senior administrators:

  • develop formal commitments to energy efficiency through the creation and adoption of a formal energy policy; and,
  • establish multi-party committees to develop and implement the energy policy and to source the necessary funding to create and implement revolving funds.

Related Materials:
Read Background Paper here.