Energy fund focuses on student input

The Clean Energy Fund is seeking more student input.

The CEF “really wants student opinion” on where funds should be going, Office of Sustainability outreach intern Roison Low said.

The CEF was created in 2008 in response to student desire for UVM to run more efficiently and on renewable energy. The fund takes in about $225,000 a year, according to its website. 

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The solar panel outside the Aiken Center collects sunlight on a daily basis. The Clean Energy Fund was established to fund clean energy projects on campus.COLE WANGSNESS/The Vermont Cynic

The fund takes in $10 of every student’s tuition each semester, but some students wonder what is happening with this money.

“I didn’t even know about it but I don’t mind it if it’s for a good cause,” first-year Nick White said.

The mission of the fund is “to finance new clean energy projects on the UVM campus and beyond,” according to the CEF website.

Past projects include installing solar tracker panels on Spear Street for the Aiken Center in 2010. The $200,000 project contributed to the  Aiken Center’s LEED certification, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design. In 2012 the fund financed a $27,000 project to install a smart grid of  on the roof of Votey Hall, according to CEF’s website.

A smart grid is a computer-based electricity delivery system.

In 2013, CEF began financing the Energy Action Seminar Series which brings in speakers on a weekly basis to discuss changing energy issues and technologies.

Funding for the series has ranged over the years from $10,685 to $14,631. This series brought in sold-out speaker Al Gore Oct. 6, according to CEF’s website.

In 2014, the Clean Energy Fund began financing the Renewable Energy Network, a student chapter of the American Solar Energy Society at the University of Vermont. REN received $5,000 in funds from the CEF for field trips and projects, in addition to funding from the SGA in the 2014-2015 school year.

REN and the Energy Action Seminar Series are the Clean Energy Fund’s two current projects for the 2015-2016 year.

The CEF is going through a “transition phase” and has been focusing mostly on education and awareness recently, Low said.