St. Johnsbury Academy is the first secondary school in Vermont and one of the few in the nation to initiate a green revolving fund following a signing ceremony that took place Aug. 30 the Academy. The school joins 12 Vermont colleges and universities, including the University of Vermont and Middlebury College, that employ this innovative tool to finance campus energy-efficiency projects.
In a green revolving fund, as the funds are invested in projects they are replenished by savings realized through reductions in energy usage. This encourages institutions to make long-term investments in energy efficiency and provides them with a ready source of upfront capital to invest in new projects.
The Academy's fund is the result of extraordinary collaboration between Efficiency Vermont and several Academy employees, including director of Environmental Stewardship James Bentley, assistant head for Business Services Carol Lyon, director of Development and Alumni Relations Tammi Cady, assistant head for Campus Life Beth Choiniere, Headmaster Tom Lovett, and a former student, Lilly Jarrett (Class of 2013), who researched the fund for her senior Capstone project.
"Ours is a bit different from other green revolving funds because it focuses on projects lead by students," said Bentley. "And because of our outstanding Capstone and Technical Education classes, St. Johnsbury Academy has the programs to empower students to design and implement projects that make our campus more environmentally sustainable."
"It's been a real pleasure to support St. Johnsbury Academy in their efforts to start a green revolving fund," said Richard Donnelly, who worked on the project for Efficiency Vermont. "We are especially excited by the student-driven focus of this fund, and are very excited to continue working with the Academy as they uncover, and tackle, new opportunities to save energy and money on campus."
The signing ceremony took place in the Academy's Green Dorm, which features solar and geothermal heating systems, and was built in 2011 with the help of students in the school's Electricity and Building Trades classes.