The Office of Sustainability wants your ideas for reducing water and energy use on campus

The Office of Sustainability wants your ideas for reducing water and energy use on campus

By Mikayla Mace KelleyUniversity Communications
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Trevor Ledbetter, director of the Office of Sustainability
Trevor Ledbetter, director of the Office of Sustainability

If you have an idea that would promote energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainability on campus you now have the opportunity to submit a proposal for access to the Utility Modification Revolving Fund.

"The UMRF provides another opportunity for the university to move the bar on sustainability in a meaningful manner," said Trevor Ledbetter, director of the Office of Sustainability, which advocated for the establishment of the fund. This initiative is not the Green Fund. Visit the Office of Sustainability to learn about other projects and initiatives.

The fund will provide loans for energy and water efficiency improvement projects, repaying the loans with the money saved on related utility costs in subsequent years, said Michael Hoffman, energy manager for Facilities Management. Funded projects will repay the fund a little more than was borrowed, ensuring that the UMRF is self-sustaining and thus available to fund more projects in the future.

"This financial vehicle will also allow the fund to grow over time to address larger and larger issues and opportunities on our campus," Ledbetter said.

Determining which projects are most viable for UMRF funding requires evaluation of a number of different variables and can be complicated by the type and complexity of a potential project. That will be the responsibility of the UMRF steering committee, which is composed of senior representatives from various business units across campus, including the Office of Budget and Planning, Facilities Management, Housing & Residential Life, Student Unions, Campus Recreation, Arizona Athletics and the Office of Sustainability, as well as representatives from faculty, staff and student governing bodies.

Also weighing in will be members of the campus community. Starting April 5, students and faculty and staff members can submit a proposal to the appropriate business unit. Figuring out whether a project is viable could be a challenge, Hoffman said, adding that he and the committee are willing to work with anyone interested in proposing projects. Each request for funding must be under $500,000 and should be limited to a single fiscal year.

Faculty and staff members, along with students, know the campus best, Ledbetter said. "They can take that knowledge and help with proposals to make a difference."

"Sustainability is part of the campus culture and contributes to the efficacy and efficiency of everything we do at the University," Hoffman said. "The UMRF is another tool for the University to use in our role as responsible members of our community and stewards of our shared environment."

Campus community members interested in submitting proposals should start by contacting the business unit most closely aligned with the focus of the project. For example, a project related to water use in dorms would fall under Housing & Residential Life. The contacts for the business units are:

Housing & Residential Life – Alex Blandeburgo, blandebu@arizona.edu

Campus Recreation – Robert Rodriguez, robertr2@arizona.edu

Student Unions, BookStores and Parking & Transportation Services – Debby Shively, dshively@arizona.edu

Arizona Athletics – Derek van der Merwe, derekvdmerwe@arizona.edu

All Other Units – Michael Hoffman, hoffmanm@arizona.edu

Questions about which unit to contact can be sent to arizonasustainability@arizona.edu.

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