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Saving $100K, 1 million kilowatts, 1.5 million gallons of water

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What started as a Calvin College engineering class project back in 2008 has resulted in savings of $100,000, one million kilowatts of electricity, 1.5 million gallons of water and 770 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. 

In 2008, Calvin engineering professor Matt Heun challenged his upper-level engineering students with a question: “What would it take to implement a Green Revolving Fund at Calvin?” His students took the challenge seriously and on their own made presentations to the administration, encouraging the establishment of the fund. $50,000 in seed money supported the first project in 2010, a software package that automatically put campus computers on power-save mode based on usage. The Calvin Energy Recovery Fund (CERF) is still reaping the benefits of the initiative as savings are returned to the fund for five years after payback. And that was just the first initiative.

On Thursday, May 7, Heun will give a talk "When Financial Incentives and Good Intentions Align: Celebrating Six Years of the Calvin Energy Recovery Fund," at the Bytwerk Theater in the DeVos Communications Center on Calvin's campus. Earlier in the day, the college is encouraging two hours of lights out from 10-Noon.

CONTACT Matt Kucinski at [email protected] or 616-307-7429 for interviews with Matt Heun and/or the students involved in the CERF initiative. Photos of previous CERF projects are available upon request.

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