Loans help Iowa State stay green


Matthew Rezab/Iowa State Daily

Recycling trash cans are placed all over campus are part of the LIVE GREEN! initiative at Iowa State.

Angelica Lawson

Since 2008, the Live Green! Revolving Loan Fund has been providing support for Iowa State to enhance its commitment to being a green, sustainable and efficient campus.

While some universities are just beginning to catch on to the greening trend, Iowa State has been leading the way.

As one of only 76 schools with a revolving loan fund through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, ISU’s Live Green! Revolving Loan Fund has been recognized for its contributions in furthering campus sustainability initiatives and included in various publications from the Sustainable Endowment Institute.

The Live Green! Revolving Loan Fund provides interest-free loans for campus projects that will help increase efficiency and sustainability. This fund was started six years ago under former ISU President Gregory Geoffroy. The loan fund is replenished with the savings produced from the projects themselves.

The loan system is responsible for funding 13 sustainability projects campus-wide since its inception, with more projects planned for the future.

“This is one of those not as visible commitments to sustainability,” said Merry Rankin, director of sustainability. “It’s the things that are happening in the background that may not be as evident. But [the loans] certainly show a lot of commitment and a lot of support by our leadership to allow projects that are pointing to support sustainability.”

Some of the more recent projects that have been funded include the Seed Science Center, which received a $25,000 loan for a lighting project; the Hansen Agricultural Student Learning Center, which received a $39,000 loan for a geothermal system and the College of Design, which received a loan for a lighting project.

Not all green initiatives put in place at Iowa State are done by Live Green!. Marston Hall is undergoing a renovation with plans to increase the sustainability features of the building. While no specific proposal has been approved, it’s clear the building will incorporate sustainability and efficiency into the final product.

“I certainly know that they are looking at different sustainability elements to include in the renovation,” Rankin said. 

As for the future of the Live Green! Fund, more opportunities will be available to provide financial support to improve Iowa State and reinforce its commitment to sustainability and efficiency.

“I think that the Live Green Fund offers a couple of opportunities for Iowa State related to sustainability,” Rankin said. “One of them is for projects that are planned or are in progress to look at increasing a commitment to sustainability, through enhancing different commitment levels.”

Rankin said she thinks allowing departments and colleges to be able to increase sustainability and efficiency in any way is a positive step. She added that these projects help to illustrate a campus-wide commitment to providing students and faculty with a greener, more sustainable and efficient campus.