The by us so called ecology funds exist since 1997 in SWH. With the help of these funds we can help our members to finance new, energy saving household appliances. In the course of the years shared flats could thereby afford to buy new, high quality dish washers, fridges and washing machines which would have been hardly possible without the ecology funds.
The ecology funds are based on the following thoughts:
Our nest egg
The SWH forms yearly savings for maintenance measures on their administrated buildings. For greater measures that will take place in the following years we build up reserves every year by a small amount that go into the reserves. The savings are secured on a savings book with our house bank with a very modest interest rate.
The shared flat – fridge
After we had renovated the houses in Frankfurter Str. with the help of extensive public and intern fundings we put a lot of emphasis on ecologically oriented house tech. Buildings that are part of SWH are equipped with solar panels, rain water utilization, insulation etc. Yet we had to witness shared flats that brought their own ancient fridge from their elders which elecrticity drain made us cringe. Just the typical household appliances for a students shared flat.
For the reason that we didn’t want to watch the misery of those power hungry, tapered off, loud and old house appliances we came to the following conclusion. We lend the money for those new house appliances to our shared flats. This money is paid from our reserves and is paid back by the shared flat members so that it will be available again when we will need it for maintenance.
No sooner said than done: Our shared flats hereby became safe financial investments with an even much better interest rate than on our savings book. For our shared flats the ecology funds idea is a home run and expresses the solidarity and burden sharing of our association: When many team up the burden for each individual person becomes less and less. With the ecology funds the financial burden is split up equally through all possible flat members who will come to live in the shared flat over the following years and who will profit from the appliances.
Everything has to have its place
To go without saying we had shared flat approved contracts made that give the association a certain level of security whilst not overreaching the shared flats. After all it is not our private money that we are lending to the shared flats. In addition we have set a maximum for the funds and in case that maximum is reached there might be shared flats that will have to wait a little bit until the funds are back up to a level where it is enough for i.e. a new fridge.
And how do we proceed?
At this time we are working on an advancement to this model that lets us take refundings from private persons. (i.e. Mom, Dad, Granny or Grandpa, maybe a rich uncle from abroad…) If, for instance, we can get our hands on the money for a new fridge in Frankfurter Str. 59 of a third party to the same conditions that we would give our shared flat members we could realise a lot more projects than we currently are.