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The University of Hong Kong is introducing the HKU Green Revolving Fund, a new way to support sustainability projects on campus.


What is the GRF?


The HKU Green Revolving Fund (GRF) is a financing mechanism that will support environmental improvement initiatives on campus, starting with energy efficiency.




How does it work?


To establish the GRF, the University will ring fence a sum of money as seed capital. The money in the GRF will be used to pay for energy-efficiency projects in university buildings and facilities. The electricity and maintenance cost savings achieved from the new, more efficient equipment will then be cycled back into the GRF to fund further projects. The GRF's revolving feature allows for the continuous funding of energy-efficiency projects.


What are the benefits?


The GRF is a proven financing model with many benefits, including positive financial returns, reduction in environmental impacts, decreased exposure to future energy cost increases, and opportunities to engage and raise awareness in the university community, to name a few.


In a departure from “business as usual,” the GRF allows the university to treat the environmental impact of campus operations as investment opportunities rather than costs. Dr. Steven J.Cannon, HKU’s Executive Vice President (Administration and Finance), describes the GRF as, “an innovative approach” to campus management in Hong Kong.


Who manages the GRF?


The GRF pilot phase has been developed by a Technical Working Group that includes representatives from the Sustainability, Estates, and Finance and Enterprises Offices, with assistance from an external consultant. The Technical Working Group is chaired by Dr. Cannon and reports to the university’s Senior Management Team.


What projects will be funded?


The GRF aims to support a long-term energy efficiency program in a financially-sustainable manner. Projects’ eligibility for funding through the GRF will be based on criteria including their strategic value (e.g., scalability and complexity), and financial considerations (e.g., up-front cost and projected energy and maintenance savings). 


Initial funding of approximately HK$1 million will be allocated this year in the GRF’s pilot phase. The seed capital will fund two lighting projects in the Kadoorie Biological Sciences Building and the Faculty of Medicine.


Other projects potentially eligible for investment by the GRF include new air-conditioning systems, energy metering, water-efficiency projects, and other campus enhancements.