The BEST Fund (Building Energy Savings Together) is a pooled green revolving fund (GRF) that will provide under-resourced institutions with the capital needed to invest in energy efficiency projects on their campus. The fund, developed by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, seeks to help institutions reduce the financial and environmental impacts of energy waste through new investments that will drive cost savings. As lowered operating costs are realized, the savings are then reinvested back into the fund. This investment model creates a regenerating cycle of capital that gives institutions the opportunity to re-invest the savings into future efficiency projects.
While more than 140 institutions nationwide have implemented a GRF on their campus, many of those institutions with the greatest need often have the least ability to marshal the financial resources necessary to develop and manage a GRF. The BEST Fund will bridge that gap by providing the necessary resources and guidance to these institutions. In the long-term, the BEST Fund will develop in-house capacity at these institutional partners that will enable them to manage their own GRFs by utilizing the savings stream from the Fund’s initial efficiency projects.
The BEST Fund offers a new financial pathway for all institutions, regardless of endowment wealth, to address their environmental emissions by enforcing the business case for sustainability: reduced financial cost is achievable through strategic and sustainable efficiency improvements. The Fund also creates an opportunity for these institutions to connect with institutional sustainability goals and national movements to address environmental concerns.
The pilot phase of the Fund seeks to manage $1-$2 million in deployed capital to prove the model. Within three years, SEI will scale the BEST fund to $10-$20 million range to give access to a larger number of under-resourced institutions. Given the multiplying effect that active GRFs have seen over the past five years, SEI’s research has demonstrated that the BEST Fund has the potential to leverage investments of at least $70 million in projects over the next decade, an initiative that will save institutions more than $350 million over the lifespan of those investments.
The BEST Fund offers an innovative pathway to greater resilience for under-resourced institutions by reducing their energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions. For more information on the Fund or to get involved, please email Dan Last, Director of the BEST Fund, at firstname.lastname@example.org.