Energy Financing: Pathways to Fund Efficiency, Renewables, and Sustainability


Sunday, March 26, 2017 - 10:00am


College Park Marriott & Conference Center


$75 before Early Bird deadline

Energy projects that lower greenhouse gases cost money. Capital-intensive energy projects have to compete with other school priorities for limited capital flows. This workshop will equip higher education professionals with the tools to pursue a variety of innovative routes for effective energy planning, acquiring funding, making projects affordable, and generating campuswide buy-in for energy projects.


The workshop features a series of overview presentations by leading experts in both tried-and-tested and new-and-innovative financing mechanisms for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. After getting the big picture overview, participants will select several topics to explore in more depth with coaching and mentorship support from practitioners. Attendees will leave with increased understanding of the variety of options available, where to go to learn more, and an action plan with next steps for one or more strategies to pursue on their campus.


Topics to be covered include:

  • Internal carbon pricing

  • Green Revolving Loan Funds and the GRITS Tool - Green Revolving Investment Tracking System

  • Energy savings as a service

  • Power Purchase Agreements for onsite and offsite renewable energy

  • Accessing state and federal incentives

  • Putting it all together in a comprehensive “Energy Strategy for Sustainability”

  • Leveraging performance-based contracts to create alternative financing structures


This workshop will…

  • Equip sustainability staff to navigate alternative routes to funding sustainable energy work.

  • Build connections between those experienced in a particular funding strategy and those who working towards implementing that funding system on campus.

  • Prepare participants to get buy-in from stakeholders and decision-makers for financing strategies


Aurora Winslade - Director of Sustainability, Swarthmore College

As Director of Sustainability for Swarthmore College, Aurora is collaborating with Stonehouse Group on a comprehensive Energy Strategy for Sustainability for the campus. She previously worked as the Market Transformation Manager for Hawaii Energy, the state's energy efficiency program, where she supported the University of Hawaii to design integrative approaches to energy management and worked on strategies to integrate new technologies into the market to achieve ambitious energy conservation and efficiency goals. For this work, she was recognized as a "Rising Star of Energy Efficiency" by the Alliance to Save Energy in 2015. Previously, she founded new sustainability programs at the University of Hawaii and the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC). She has been leading professional development offerings for higher education for the past decade, working with diverse partners including the University of California Office of the President, the Taiwan Ministry of Education, and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). She has served for several years on the AASHE Advisory Council and the Smart and Sustainable Campus Conference Program Committee.


Mark Orlowski - Executive Director, Sustainable Endowments Institute

Mark brings over 15 years of experience in sustainability as an executive, project manager and researcher. Since founding SEI in 2005 as a special project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Mark has led SEI’s trendsetting initiatives including GRITS, the Billion Dollar Green Challenge, and the College Sustainability Report Card—the first green rating of sustainability operations in higher education. On behalf of SEI, Mark has presented at more than 120 institutions in 35 states. Media coverage of his work has included the Boston Globe, Forbes, Fortune, and The New York Times, profiles in the Chronicle of Philanthropy and BusinessWeek as well as features by NPR’s Marketplace and NOW on PBS. A graduate of Williams College, Mark also received an associate’s degree from Berkshire Community College (and nine years later was invited back as commencement speaker). He also earned a master’s degree at Harvard University, where he studied nonprofit management. At Williams, Mark chaired the Campus Environmental Advisory Committee and served on the Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility.  In his spare time, Mark is also a contributor to the Marketplace Morning Report that airs on NPR and occasionally writes for on the topic of travel and frequent flyer miles.


Lawrence Eighmy - Managing Principal, The Stone House Group

Larry is a founder and Managing Principal of The Stone House Group (SHG) with extensive Facilities and Operations Management experience and is recognized widely as a leader in the facilities industry. He is passionate about instilling sustainability within his community and is currently engaged on several volunteer committees. At The Stone House Group’s headquarters in Bethlehem, PA, Larry serves as a steering committee member of South Bethlehem’s Community Benefit District initiative and sits on the Southside Advisory Committee. As the owner a historic building in South Bethlehem that is also home to The Stone House Group’s headquarters, Larry has overseen the renovation of the building where several spaces are pursuing LEED Gold Certification. Additionally, Larry is a frequent presenter at national conferences on facilities and building stewardship, including NBOA, EACUBO, NAIS, NFMT, NAES, and TABS. He served on the Vestry of the Cathedral Church of the Nativity and as Chairman of the Board of the Green Schools Alliance. Currently, Larry serves as a Board Trustee and Treasurer for Moravian Academy. He has also attended Harvard University’s Executive Education for Sustainability Conference in Cambridge, MA. Larry graduated from Middlebury College with a Bachelor of Arts. He conducted graduate work at Carnegie Mellon University and Harvard University.
Harris Cohn - Executive Account Manager, Carbon Lighthouse

Harris heads the Carbon Lighthouse office in New York City and is focused on Business Development.  Prior to Carbon Lighthouse, Harris was responsible for structuring large-scale clean and resilient distributed energy projects with Bloom Energy for the Fortune 500 and the US Federal Government. Prior to Bloom Energy, Harris worked at Pacific Gas and Electric Company, evaluating new renewable energy technologies and negotiating offtake agreements to meet renewable energy portfolio standards.

Presentation Slides


Chris O’Brien - Director of Higher Education Programs, Altenex

Chris came to Altenex from American University where, as Director of Sustainability, he was responsible for the university's commitment to achieving climate-neutrality by the year 2020. While heading AU's sustainability office, Chris executed power purchase agreements (PPAs) for large-scale on and off-site renewable energy projects, including a 52 megawatt solar PV project, which was the largest non-utility PPA in higher education at the time. At Altenex, he shares his experience with other colleges and universities across North America, helping the higher education sector catalyze the transformation of America's electricity supply to clean and renewable sources. Chris teaches about energy, climate, carbon markets and sustainable purchasing in the Sustainability Management program at AU's Kogod School of Business. He is also a founding board director of the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council, and serves on the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education's (AASHE) Advisory Committee.


Linda Rega - Financial Services Manager, Siemens Industry, Inc.

Linda is a member of the financial services team of Siemens, supporting the Energy and Environmental Solutions group. She serves as the primary resource for project and customer financing for the North American business zones, in addition to specialization in Public Housing projects. Linda earned her bachelor’s degree in Economics from Eastern Illinois University and her graduate degree in Accounting from Roosevelt University. In addition, Ms. Rega is a C.P.A. Prior to joining Siemens she spent over twenty years as the Chief Financial Officer in the land development, entitlement and construction industry in the Chicagoland area. In addition to the traditional financial, negotiation and reporting responsibilities of the CFO, Linda was active in municipal entitlements, negotiation of TIF District agreements and securing FHA project approvals.