Abstract for: Designing Perpetual Sustainability Improvement Programs for Built Infrastructures

The impacts on energy generation and use on sustainability, increasing energy demand, and declining natural resources have made energy improvements a top priority for many organizations. But adequate financing for sustainability improvement projects for built infrastructures is not available. The Paid-From-Savings approach can leverage savings to pay for energy improvements. Although well established and adopted by many organizations, an incomplete understanding of the dynamics of these revolving fund programs hinders their effective and efficient use. In the current work the Harvard Green Campus Initiative and a Texas A&M University sustainability improvement programs were used to develop a dynamic model of a revolving sustainability fund. The validated model is used to test the effectiveness of three project planning strategies and two finance alternatives. Results indicate that with adequate funding it was most advantageous to proceed with all projects as quickly as possible and that with insufficient initial funding the best strategy depended upon the program objectives (e.g. earliest completion, largest fund, minimum negative fund balance). Contributions to sustainability and system dynamics modeling and future research opportunities are discussed.