In this economy many cities are looking for ways to make their facilities more energy efficient, and more of them are leveraging Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) to make substantial energy efficiency improvements without any upfront capital.
Since the late 1970s, EPCs have become an increasingly effective way to avoid the cost barrier typically associated with significant building upgrades and retrofits. An EPC permits public entities, such as schools, hospitals, universities and governmental agencies, to fund energy conservation measures based on the amount of utility savings they provide. Under these programs, a qualified energy services company audits a customer’s energy usage, identifies potential savings and guarantees those savings through a long-term agreement. This is a great way for public entities to maximize existing operational budgets for needed upgrades that are guaranteed to reduce energy costs in the long run.
According to the Department of Energy, buildings account for an estimated 40 percent of the total energy consumption in the United States. With this in mind, the city of Baltimore works to upgrade its buildings by retrofitting them with energy efficient products. Theodore Atwood, director of the Baltimore City Department of General Services, added that, “The Convention Center project is another step in our efforts to reduce Baltimore City government’s electric power use by 20 percent by 2015.”
Recently, the Baltimore Convention Center announced it is embarking on an energy efficiency project through an EPC with Constellation, a business unit of Exelon. The convention center feels it is important to make the facility operate more efficiently as it is a visible cornerstone of the city. The project will help the facility save a considerable amount of money and attract more organizations to hold conventions there.
Under the EPC with Constellation, the Baltimore Convention Center will install approximately $10 million in water and energy conservation measures. These improvements will result in a guaranteed $18 million in cost savings over a 15-year period and are another step towards the Baltimore City government’s goal of reducing electric power use 20 percent by 2015. The Baltimore Convention Center also expects to conserve an estimated 100 million gallons of water and avoid the creation of 6,058 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually over the term of the agreement.
The energy conservation measures, scheduled for completion by winter 2013, include energy efficient LED lighting and lighting controls; HVAC repairs and controls upgrades; Thermal blankets on steam valves and fittings; Low-flow toilets and faucets; building envelopment improvements such as caulking and weather stripping and the installation of a “cool roof” membrane to reflect heat.
Energy performance contracting is a valuable resource for public entities to leverage their existing operational budget for needed capital improvements. Could this strategy help your facility reduce energy use and overall costs?
Michael D. Smith is vice president of solar and energy efficiency sales for Constellation.