University of La Verne One of Only Two Colleges in California To Commit to the Billion Dollar Green Challenge

LA VERNE, Calif., Oct. 7, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The University of La Verne has become the second institution of higher education in California to join the Billion Dollar Green Challenge, through which it will establish a fund to facilitate "green" energy-saving measures on campus.

La Verne joins California Institute of Technology as the only California schools so far to sign on with the program launched by Cambridge, Mass.,-based Sustainable Endowments Institute, which is encouraging colleges, universities, and other nonprofit institutions to invest a combined total of $1 billion in self‐managed funds to finance energy efficiency improvements.

Thirty-nine other schools nationwide are also making such a commitment to sustainability. Each institution committed to the challenge must establish a fund, separate from other capital projects, which will be used only to fund green initiatives on its campus. La Verne will build a fund of $400,000 during the next six years. This is an idea that is consistent with the language of La Verne's own mission statement.

"A significant element of the University of La Verne's mission is to affirm a values system that supports the health of the planet and all inhabitants," La Verne President Devorah Lieberman said. "We are consistently seeking to promote sustainability and to emphasize its importance to our students, faculty and staff."

La Verne's Sara & Michael Abraham Campus Center had enough green components built in when it opened in 2009 that it earned Silver Certification from Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED). The university's next project, a 100,000+ square-foot residence hall now known as Vista La Verne, earned LEED Gold Certification for going to great lengths to promote and facilitate sustainability when it opened in 2012.

"The University of La Verne has had a long history of concern for the environment and sustainability and this continues to be reflected in the language of our new 2020 Strategic Vision," said Clive Houston-Brown, La Verne's Associate Vice President of Facility & Technology Services & CIO. "Our last two major construction projects were both LEED-certified buildings. It is only natural that we would seek to participate in a challenge that would allow us to take more active steps towards implementing sustainable solutions on our campus."

During the next six years, La Verne will work to build its fund, which could be used for such things as replacing traditional light bulbs around campus with energy-saving LED fixtures. Under the plan, a percentage of the money saved by such measures goes back into the fund to be used for additional projects that will save energy and operating costs. These "revolving" funds remain dedicated to green projects, and provide the sustaining nature of the revolving fund.

 "Establishing a Green Revolving Fund ensures that the university is always able to continue its commitment to sustainability," Houston-Brown said. "The fund will allow us to implement projects that will reduce our carbon footprint and ensure we are efficient and judicious in our energy use. It will also provide us with the opportunity to develop living laboratories whereby our students can be exposed to hands-on sustainability efforts and projects in addition to the intellectual exposure to such issues in the classroom."
The 39 other colleges and universities have committed a total of $72 million.
"We are proud to stand with the other outstanding institutions committed to the Billion Dollar Green Challenge," Lieberman said. "Our accomplishments will also provide our students with the skills to maintain a better planet into the future."


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