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Drive For Green Draft Peer Edit 2

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on April 16, 2015 at 10:42:56 am



In this report, we will address the issue of sustainability at Wayne State University (WSU), and discuss ways to improve funding for Wayne State's green sustainability initiative, along with examining how it is handled in the current committee. In 2006, the WSU Board of Governors implemented a "Resolution on Environmental Concerns which was designed to protect the environment by establishing a vision for a greener campus." (office of campus sustainability website) A year later, after receiving and reviewing a report by the Task Force on Environmental Initiatives, the Board of Governors began to adopt some of the initiatives that the report had mentioned.

Over the last five years, Wayne State has made considerable strides toward a greener campus, and one major part of the improvements made came in 2011, with the creation of the The Office of Sustainability. This office is responsible for creating a user-friendly and greener environment in the Midtown Detroit Campus. However, lately, the progression on making Wayne State University greener has been grid-locked, and after our interview with the Director of Energy Management Larry Fodor, we found out that it is due to the fact that Wayne State does not have the funds to generate new, greener changes. Director Fodor informed us that he receives only a certain amount of money, each year, and that that money is to provide maintenance for current buildings, and whatever is left over he can use freely for sustainability purposes. The only problem with that is the fact that he receives a very small amount of money, and Wayne State is already in a whole due to the care for current buildings. Thus, we have conducted a feasibility study and came up with with three potential alternatives to help increase the funding: the implementation of a 'green' fee set apart from students' tuition, the self-revolving fund, and the hybridization of the two.



-Overview of the Alternatives-


Alternative #1 – Student Fees To Green Grant

This alternative asks for a small extra fee each semester from Wayne State Students. The extra fee generated helps fund a Green Grant.


Alternative #2 – The Green-Revolving Fund

 A general revolving fund works by funding a project and replenishing it through annual savings ('Greening the Bottom Line, 2012). The WSU Green-Revolving Fund will mimic that from the Green-revolving fund implemented by Champlain College. Like the Green-revolving fund, money generated from annual energy savings from projects is paid back to the fund until 120%. The 20% is growth to the fund.


Alternative #3 – Hybrid Model

The hybrid model implements both alternatives. More revenue is generated which allows more green sustainable projects to be made.




We are evaluating our alternatives based on how much income is being brought in, the ease of implementation, and whether or not they are desirable.


Student Desirability

Here we are measuring students' reactions to each of the following alternatives. This is a pass or fail check for each alternative. That is we want to know if students overall would like to see any of the following alternatives implemented in WSU. This is important because two of the three alternatives require some sacrifice on their part.


Ease of Implementation

The alternatives require tasks/bylaws in which committees must follow in order to receive the funding correctly without risk of wasting any amount. Here we are measuring the time and management effectiveness of each alternative. That is, we want to know which of the following alternatives requires less effort to manage in a timely way.



Each of the alternatives will generate different income based on their function. Here, we measure how much could potentially be brought in per year. This allows us make comparisons in order to find out which of the following alternatives produce the biggest income which is a benefit





-Methods Tools-

We gathered a compilation of both primary and secondary research sources. The primary sources consist of an interview with Larry Fedor, director of Energy Conservation in the Office of Sustainability and a survey listing students' responses to thirteen questions. These questions would allow us to know how much support to a 'Green Fee' we have from our student body. Secondary research sources consist of academic news articles, blogs, and press newsletters found online related to our topic of interest for this feasibility study.


Interview with Larry Fedor

We begin with the interview with Larry Fedor in order to gain background information as to the exact issue WSU Office of Sustainability is current facing. We are able to see how it is that we should generate potential solutions to solve this issue. This knowledgeable foundation allows us to figure out how best we can approach and present alternatives to fixing the system.


Alternative 1: 'Green' Student Fees (Student Grant)

In researching for our first alternative, we begin with two websites (one a press news article and the other a academic news article). These secondary sources provide information from two universities that implemented a 'Green' student fee to help increase the Sustainability funding. This helped us generate a range for our survey on how much students are willing to help contribute. We incorporated a survey to see if WSU students would approve the extra fee.

We then again searched online to find out how these student fees are being implemented. We found one official university website which incorporates those student fees to help grow a grant fund.


Alternative 2: The Self-Revolving Funds

We could not search through the possible examples of self-revolving funds other universities implemented without knowing what it is in general. We found a institute report online called 'Greening The Bottom Line'. It gives a general detail on how things are managed and how funding works. One perfect example came from an official school documentation report on their version of the Green-Revolving Fund. This came from Champlain College. This university gave us a model that we could similarly adapt it to our campus and aid the university in generating more funding for future "green" projects.


Alternative 3: The Hybrid Model

Here, we look at the two previous alternatives and their resources to discover ways to incorporate both systems together to create this next alternative: the Hybrid Model. It requires putting key concepts together while at the same time taking unneccessary ideas out. One feasible concept came from Harvard University. In their official website, there is a section in their sustainability website which list their student grant and revolving fund. Both funding works differently.





Implementation (How Do They Work?)

Alternative #1 – 'Green' Student Fees (Green Grant)

University of Texas approved a Green Fee of $5.00 per long semester and $2.50 per summer semester from students. This is a temporary system which lasts from Fall of 2011 to Summer of 2016. The purpose of the Green Fee is to create a grant which the Green Fee Committee will "review and award funds for environmental service related projects on campus" ('Green Fee Committee', 2011). Because this awards funding to projects, no pay back is required. Wayne State University will implement a similar concept.

The Green Fee Committee (GFC) in University of Texas makes necessary approval decisions and checks on projects. They also have control over the Green Fee revenue ('Bylaws of the UT-Austin Green Fee Committee', 2011). It first begins with a majority vote on a particular project on whether to fund it. Of course, it has to meet the general requirements listed by the Committee (such as having a mechanism so that annual cost savings are reported). If by any chance the funding was spent outside the scope of the project, then the project manager must return the funds to the GFC. This is determined by a detail follow up containing original documents, expenses, purchase orders, and other records once the project is completed. Because the Green Fee is a student fee, a public record is maintained annually and reported to the Student Government and the college community.

Wayne State will use the same system; however, the student fee may be different. Student fee is depended on how much the majority of the students in our survey are willing to contribute per semester and whether the Board of Governors will approve it.


Alternative #2 – Green-Revolving Fund

The WSU Green-Revolving Fund is a green account balance which helps fund the green initiative projects in Wayne State University. Funding must be paid back through annual cost savings. This system is similar to the Green-Revolving Fund implemented in Champlain College. Growth in the funding is seen using interest.

Green-Revolving Fund (GRF) in Champlain College is a funding system by which it "finances energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other sustainability projects on campus" ('Champlain College Green Revolving Fund', 2013). Funding must be paid back within five years through annual savings after it has been approved by the GRF Committee. 120% of the initial fund must be paid back by then. The extra 20% contributes the growth of the GRF.

The committee meets at least once a semester. In each meeting, projects are presented, discussed and voted upon. Once approved, the project is implemented as soon as possible and is monitored (including the progress of the project and how much savings is actually brought in per year). 80% of the annual savings per year replenish the GRF until 120% is paid. Champlain College use the 20% to help fund their Green Community Fund and Physical Plant operations. Once the 120% is fully paid, the 80% is then used to help with college operations.

Wayne State University will follow a similar plan like Champlain College; however, 100% of the annual savings per year help replenish the GRF. This helps speed up the process. Once that is done then the long term annual savings are coordinated by the Director of Sustainability in what he sees fit in liason to the College administration and the campus community.


Alternative #3 - The Hybrid Model

 Again, the hybrid model brings alternatives 1 and 2 together. This will constitute in having a fund and a grant system. These systems are separate from each other. However, they both can help with the project applicant at the same time. Harvard University implemented both systems to help fund programs.

The WSU Green Student Fee, which is determined by student votes and the approval from the Board of Governors, will help see the growth of the Green Grant. In Harvard University, applicants can apply to up to $5,000. Unlike the first alternative, this is the maximum limit.

Anymore than $5,000 will require funding from the revolving fund called the Green Loan Fund. Payback to the fund works in two ways. Applicants can apply for a full cost loan which has to be repaid within 5 years, or a incremental loan which there is a incremental return of 9 percent or more (Foley, 2011). The maximum amount an applicant can receive is $500,000 on either system. Additional capital from the Administrative budget constitute the growth in the funding.

The committee for the Green Grant is composed of students, faculty, and administrators (Durrant, 2011). On the other hand, the committee for the revolving fund is made up of faculties in the Office of Sustainability. The co-chair is the director. Both the Green Loan Fund and the Grant review progress and the amount of savings being brought in.




Desirability (Does The Student Body Desire These Ideas?)

Alternative #1 – Student Fees (Green Grant)


(Figure 1: Should Wayne State be responsible?)


Figure 1 above depicts a pie chart from our Google Form survey with responses on whether Wayne State should have the responsibility to be a more sustainable campus. Out of the 101 students, 84 says that they strongly agree or agree with the statement.


(Figure 2: Is there a need for Wayne State to be sustainable and energy efficient?)


Looking at Figure 2, the students desire a greener, more sustainable campus. 89 students either agree or strongly agree with the statement.


(Figure 3: Should students be involved in a small fee?)


The results above reveal that majority of the students do not believe that students should have to pay an extra fee in support of the funding. Suprisingly, this contradicts the responses to the next question (shown in Figure 4 below). The ladder question is a question which is derived from the previous question above. We wanted to know whether or not students should play their part to support the sustainability fund. If they agree with the statement, we wanted to know how much are they willing to contribute. This means that 23% of the students that were surveyed, initially said that students should not support sustainability by paying an extra fee, but then turned around and said that they would pay at least 1 dollar per semester in support of sustainability.


(Figure 4: How much students are willing to contribute per semester to support the sustainability funding?)


Alternative #2 – Green-Revolving Fund

We can already infer based on Figure 1. We asked the question if Wayne State should be held responsible in developing more sustainable campus. Over 85% agreed so. It also makes sense that about 63% in our survey do not believe that they should be involved in a small fee (Figure 3). So the campus should be solely be responsible in generating their own income. The extra 20% gained from those approved projects is that growth. Money is generated without having students sacrificing little of what they have in their pockets.


Alternative #3 - The Hybrid Model

Both students and the college campus are responsible to generate the extra funding. However, because we are measuring the students' desirability, the results will have to follow from the results given in alternative 1. Students are willing to contribute to fund (Figure 4) so long as the college campus is responsible to play their part as well (Figure 1).



Income (How Much Could Be Brought In?)

Alternative #1 - Student Fee (Green Grant)

The amount of money being brought in is determined by the student attendence and how much they are willing to contribute per semester and what the Board of Governors will approve. For example, in 2011, Utah State University approved a green fee of 3$ per semester on students. Based on their student enrollment it has been estimated that this would generate a revenue of $90,000 a year (Maffly, 2011). Much can be done with this asset.


Alternative #2 – Green-Revolving Fund

The growth of a feasible WSU Green-Revolving Fund is determined by the amount being given to a proposed project. Simon Fraser University requested $27,000 in their revolving fund called the Self Utilized Revolving Fund (SURF) to replace compact fluorescent lightbulbs with 500 LED lamps (Sundmark, 2011). There is no statement as to whether an interest is being applied. However, applying alternative 2, a payback of 120% of that initial amount (the $27,000) would generate $32,400 by the end of the paid date using annual savings. That is an extra $5,400. Each proposed project will have their own figures as to how much funding they need. Some will be greater than $27,000; thus, the return interest will be great. Others will be smaller than $27,000 in which the return interest will be smaller.


Alternative #3 - The Hybrid Model

Because this alternative applies both alternatives at the same time, the money gained is dependent on the cost per student enrollment, the number of students enrolled, as well as the initial asset given to approved projects. There will be a huge influx of money gained.




Alternative #1 - Student Fee (Green Grant)

Results for desirability are unclear due to Figures 3 and 4. However, because many are willing to contribute to a sizeable amount that they approve on, the desirability test passes. Time and management in this alternative requires the least amount of effort between the three. That is because the committee does not have to track what's going on each year. At minimum, the project plan must include ending expenses with the original documents at the end. Money generated will be greater than Alternative 2 but less than Alternative 3. The enrollment in each semester drives what is being brought to the WSU Green Grant.


Alternative #2 - Green-Revolving Fund

Students' desirabiility test based on the survey for this alternative passes. This is due to the fact that students want the college campus to be responsible in their Sustainability. And of course not having to pay extra is something every student would likely desire. Problem with this alternative in accordance to time and management is that it require more effort than Alternative 1 but less effort than Alternative 2. The only difference is that this alternative requires the committee to check annually of how much is being brought in through savings to be sure a project an pay back everything at the expected pay date. The money being brought is far less than either alternative.


Alternative #3 - The Hybrid Model

Following the results from the survey, the desirability test passes. Students are willing to contribute to a set amount and believes that the college campus is responsible to maintain a sustainable environment. Time and management is the worst of all three alternatives. Implementing a grant and fund will require checks on both balance accounts with the additional check on what is being brought in annually in savings in projects. There will be too many documentations and may require a very large committee to spread the work, or two separate committees evaluating both systems separately. This alternative will have the greatest influx of money generated. Money is being brought in through two separate systems (the students and the 120% of the initial project cost).


Pugh Chart

The figure below is a chart depicting what has been stated for each case. This is an easy way of evaluating for those who understand using figures. A selected alternative is the datum by which comparisons can be made. We selected the Alternative 2 (The Student Fee) as our Datum option because this is the second best choice out of the three. The green box represent that the alternative is better than the datum for the specific criteria. The red box represent that the alternative is worst than the datum for the specific criteria. If noted the same then both the datum and the underlying alternative have the same level of effect. All three pass the desirability survey.


Criteria / Alternatives Student Fee Revolving Fund The Hybrid Model
Student Desirability DATUM Same Same
Ease of Implementation    
Amount of Income Generated    
    0 Positives 1 Positive
    2 Negatives 1 Negative




The focus of this study is to find feasible solutions which WSU could implement in order to gain funding for the Sustainability projects. We found discovered that our survey showed interesting results, yet it passes for all alternatives. Implementation of these alternatives are similar in some areas. The most work is required by the Hybrid Model. There is a clear distinction between the amount of income generated per year in all three alternatives. One can obtain the most generated income.


Because 101 students were surveyed so far, results will not clearly represent the student body in Wayne State completely. A larger sample size is required. Furthermore, because there were mixed responses to some of the questions, there is a need to change the survey questions so that responses can be properly collected and evalutated. Overall, we are able to collect the necessary data to come up with a recommended alternative.



Based on what we gathered, we recommend using the Student Fee. Though the Hybrid Model generates the most money, it is the next best solution. Lots of monitoring and checking is required. This could easily lead to mistakes and items discussed in meetings can go amissed. Having a large committee is hard to manage because everyone works at different time schedule so setting up meetings will be difficult. Again, a bigger sample size (more responses) is needed to better evaluate how students think about this. Changing the questions for better understand is also necessary to get proper results.





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