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Green Fund FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

A list of frequently asked questions guides you through the Green Fund application process.

Who can apply to the Penn Green Fund?

Any Penn students, faculty, and staff are eligible to apply to the Green Fund. Applicants are required to obtain a letter of sponsorship from the director of their departments or centers.

What is the maximum/minimum amount of money my project can receive?

The maximum allocation is $30,000. There is no minimum grant award requirement. We have funded projects as small as $500 and others up to the maximum amount.

When can I apply?

All applications are reviewed on a rolling basis anytime throughout the year. Applications are reviewed by the Green Fund Review Committee at their monthly meeting, and typically a maximum of two applications are reviewed each month.

What criteria are used in determining which projects are awarded?

While awarding creativity and innovation, priority will be given to projects with results that are:

  • Effective in educating or changing behavior at Penn
  • Enhancing overall campus sustainability 
  • Applicable across campus
  • Focused directly on Penn’s campus, including the University City campus, New Bolton Center, and the Morris Arboretum
  • Interdisciplinary, and engage multiple stakeholders within the Penn community
  • Able to demonstrate a quantifiable return on investment (if applicable) 

If my project has financial savings to my schools or center, will I have to repay the grant?

Yes, the Green Fund is being initially financed as a one-time budget allocation by the Division of Facilities and Real Estate Services, and is intended to facilitate energy and resources savings across the university. Proposals should outline the savings strategy and anticipated repayment schedule. Once the Green Fund grant has been repaid, additional savings will return to the applying school or center.

How is the payback determined?

The Green Fund application should include a preliminary payback analysis. The Green Fund Review Board will review the payback and will provide a final payback structure with input from the project leader. 

What are the reporting requirements of the Green Fund?

Green Fund project teams are required to schedule a midterm check-in meeting with the members of the review committee, and all projects are required to submit a final report outlining the project's full implementation. A final report rubric will be provided by the Penn Sustainability Office staff. The final report is due within 30 days of the project's completion. Please keep in mind that this report may be published wholly or in part on the fund website or in other reporting materials. 

What if there is remaining funding upon completion of the Green Fund project?

Any funds remaining in award accounts at proposed project completion dates will be returned to the Green Fund account for future disbursement. 

What if there are changes to the original scope of the Green Fund project during implementation?

The Green Fund Review Board is aware that on occasion changes to the original scope of funded project proposals are warranted given new information or findings. Approval for minor changes that do not impact the basic scope of the original proposal should be obtained from the Green Fund administrator. Changes that modify the original scope of the project significantly may require approval from the full review panel, depending on the extent of change.

Does the Green Fund finance ongoing costs?

No, the Green Fund does not finance ongoing costs, stipends, assistantships, or salaries.

Can I reapply for funds if I want to do my project again next year?

No, the purpose of this fund is to provide one-time financial support.  Grants are intended to help get projects off the ground and to provide funds for a project that otherwise could not be funded.

If I don’t work directly with a school or center, what should I do?

The Penn Sustainability Office will assist in finding a school or center to sponsor your project to help transfer funds required for implementation.  Please contact sustainability@upenn.edu (link prompts to sending email).

If my project is partially funded by another source, can I apply for money from this fund?

Yes, if additional funding is required in order to allow your project to move forward, you can submit an application to the Green Fund and explain your financial situation. Penn’s Green Fund is meant to help support projects that would not happen otherwise, so partial funding requests should be necessary to the implementation of the project—not extra money.

I am struggling to find a way to quantify the environmental benefits of my project, can someone help me?

The Penn Sustainability Office can assist in determining the environmental benefits of projects, and determining the environmental metric that should be used, such as metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCDE) reduced, gallons of water saved, or energy saved.

If my project does not have direct cost savings, can I still apply?

Yes, projects will be considered both on the basis of environmental improvement, education, or behavior change, as well as utility cost reduction.

If I am unsure about some of the costs, can I put estimates and then clarify those costs later?

Estimated data is acceptable, but should be indicated as such in the application.

UPenn Green Campus Logo

Penn Sustainability

3101 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
sustainability@upenn.edu

 

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