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- 9.1 Studies of Feasibility, Costs, and Benefits
- 2015 Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP)
- 9. Financing
Key Objective: 9.1 Studies of Feasibility, Costs, and Benefits
The 2015 iCAP, chapter 9, objective 1 is, "By the end of FY16, develop criteria and a review process for the iCAP Working Group to allocate funding for feasibility studies of SWATeam-recommended sustainability projects and initiatives, using funds provided by campus administration and other sources."
Proper assessment of the feasibility, cost (capital and recurring), and benefits (both financial and environmental) of various proposed sustainability projects and initiatives will require careful studies by qualified experts. Our campus is replete with such experts among our faculty and staff, and also has the benefit of a large pool of talented students who can make substantial contributions to such studies while simultaneously advancing their education. In many cases, we can conduct such studies better and more economically ourselves than by hiring an outside consulting firm. However, we generally cannot perform such studies for free; we may need to provide stipends or summer salary for participating faculty and students in order to attract qualified experts and assistants. In some cases, collaboration with external experts may also be required.
The SWATeams and the iCAP Working Group already represent a mechanism to identify those projects that would benefit from such studies, and to recruit the appropriate experts. However, the campus needs to develop a mechanism to provide the necessary funding for these efforts. The results of these studies will be essential in prioritizing our efforts and ensuring that we achieve the maximum environmental and financial benefits for sustainability expenditures.
The campus administration could allocate a recurring annual budget for such studies; these funds could be supplemented on a case-by-case basis by contributions from campus units that would benefit from these studies, including Facilities & Services. The iCAP Working Group could then develop criteria and a review process to optimally allocate those funds for feasibility studies that will have maximum impact on iCAP objectives.