Yale -‘Microloans’ available for money- and environment-saving ideas

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Supporting innovative ideas that save money and resources is the focus of the new Yale Sustainability Microloan Fund, recently announced by the University’s Office of Sustainability.

The fund was created to encourage members of the Yale community — students, staff and faculty — to come up with creative ideas that will make the campus a little greener while simultaneously cutting costs.

“The Yale Sustainability Microloan Program is a way for departments to have a double win: advancing sustainability objectives with projects that have an attractive return on investment,” said Secretary Linda Koch Lorimer, who oversees the Office of Sustainability. “I look forward to seeing the range of innovative proposals from departments across the campus.”

Microloans are typically granted to small enterprises that are unable to obtain funding through regular channels such as bank loans, investors, or — in the case of universities and corporations — operating funds.

Similarly, Yale Sustainability microloans ranging from $500 to $100,000 will help fund projects with the potential to save both money and the environment, but which might not qualify for regular funding. The cost savings generated by the projects will provide the seed funding for future projects.

The Office of Sustainability has already come up with several example initiatives, such as replacing a workplace’s older lighting system with occupancy sensors and newer, more energy-efficient bulbs that turn off when no one is present. “Savings from lower utility bills and reduced purchasing of bulbs can build up quickly, especially if this technology is used in combination with high-efficiency bulbs,” the website states. Another example from the site includes using a microloan to buy new printers that can print double-sided, which saves paper.

Applicants will be asked to describe their potential projects in detail and will be assessed on financial benefit, environmental benefit, feasibility, innovation and interdisciplinary/interdepartmental cooperation by an expert committee.

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