KRELF Overview

Students at the University of Montana have created the Kless Revolving Energy Loan Fund (KRELF) which allows students to propose projects that save energy on campus using money generated through a $6 opt-out student sustainability fee. Projects funded by KRELF must demonstrate quantifiable savings and a return on investment. Future energy costs saving must be used to repay KRELF, thereby allowing the fund to be self-sustaining over time. Funded projects will reduce annual operating expenses, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, and lower energy costs.



Project proposals will be accepted semi-annually once a semester. Proposals should be prepared with the help of the ASUM Sustainability Coordinator and relevant campus building managers to help guarantee completeness. Each fall and spring semester, proposal drafts will be accepted, reviewed, and returned to students for revisions. Students then have the opportunity to submit a revised proposal to be reviewed by the committee for a second time. Final funding decisions for each semester will be made by the end of the term.

Loan and Award Amounts

There is no minimum amount for funding projects. The amount of funds available varies each semester depending on funds raised through the optional student sustainability fee and the number of proposals received and approved by the committee.

Duration of Projects

Projects approved during the Fall semester must be completed by October 15 of the following fall semester.  Projects approved during the Spring semester must be completed by March 15 of the following spring semester.  Unused funds will not be available for use after that date.


All projects must originate from the student body or have the backing of a student or class to be considered for funding. Should there be times when no feasible student proposals exist or do not reserve all available funding, then proposals from faculty, administrators, Facilities Services or other University entities will receive consideration. Projects must involve auxiliary buildings. These include:

  • University Center (UC)*
  • On-Campus Housing (Residence Halls, University Villages, Lewis & Clark Village)
  • UM FLAT (Forum for Living with Appropriate Technology)
  • Fitness and Recreation Center*
  • Adams Center*
  • Grizzly Pool*
  • Lommasson Center*
  • Curry Health Center*
  • Todd Building (Continuing Education)*
  • Lubrecht Experimental Forest

* Buildings where energy audits have been performed

Loan Uses and Payback

Loan Uses

Loans and awards from the fund may be used for projects that support energy conservation and efficiency. Project proposals must demonstrate student participation and can involve researching project ideas, loan payback, implementation costs, and environmental benefits. New construction and major remodeling projects are not eligible for loans at this time.

Loan Payback

Loan repayment schedules will be determined on a case-by-case basis between the KRELF Committee and the entity receiving funds. No payback longer than ten years will be allowed.

Project Categories

Project must fit into one of the following categories:

  • Quantifiable Energy Savings through reduction of purchased electricity or natural gas or generation of renewable energy.
  • Quantifiable Resource Conservation through projects that result in lowered consumption of fuel, water, paper, purchased materials, other utilities, etc.
  • Plausible Energy Savings and/or Resource Conservation benefits through projects that aim to promote a specific behavior or use education, information or communications to positively impact campus sustainability.

Projects belonging to one of the latter two categories need not have quantifiable savings. However, the KRELF Committee encourages projects that meet the loan criteria and will determine on a semester-by-semester basis the portion of the funds to be allocated as grants.

Selection Criteria

Proposal selection by the KRELF Committee will be based on various criteria, including but not limited to the following:

  • Completeness and quality of the application
  • Demonstrated student involvement in proposal development and project implementation
  • Documentation of energy savings and/or conservation of resources
  • Documentation of environmental benefits and impacts;
  • Documentation of cost effectiveness and duration of loan pay-back period (projects with shorter payback periods or greater reductions for lower costs will receive higher ratings)
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Ability to improve energy efficiency or resource conservation awareness on campus
  • Ability of project to be successfully completed in one year