Energy performance contracting (EPC) is one of the more powerful tools available to identify, prioritize, finance and construct energy and water efficiency improvements to buildings and other facilities.
Since the mid-1990s, Colorado’s public sector (state agencies, institutions of higher education, counties, municipalities, school districts and special districts) have saved close to $29 million in annual utility costs. Savings are realized through projects that update lighting fixtures, HVAC systems, boilers, pumps, fans and motors; install lighting and equipment controls; and otherwise improve building envelopes, water efficiency, street and traffic lights, or install renewable energy systems. As of June 2014,143 public sector clients have leveraged energy and water savings guarantees to invest $447.4 million in 182 projects. Those projects can be found in communities across 75% of Colorado counties. According to the Energy Services Coalition national Race to the Top, those numbers propelled Colorado’s program to rank #4 in the nation in total project investments and #6 in project investments per capita. See the public sector energy performance contracting webpage for extensive program information.
A 2013 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory/National Association of Energy Service Companies study indicates that less than 9% of private sector facilities have benefitted from EPC.
In 2011, the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) received a Competitive Award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to explore new market territory for EPC: the private sector. DOE funds were matched with Colorado Clean and Renewable Energy Fund support and company investments in technical energy audits.
Colorado’s pilot project was designed to answer several questions: How would private facility owners respond to EPC? How well would the key elements of Colorado’s success in public sector EPC translate into the private sector, in particular commercial and light industrial facilities? What market barriers and benefits would present themselves as company owners were introduced to EPC, committed to technical energy audit contracts, and considered their ESCO’s proposal for energy efficiency projects? How might a public sector EPC program adapt to meet the needs of private sector clients?
CEO and DOE collaborated through a cooperative agreement to manage the private sector EPC pilot program. CEO hired two firms to provide various types of technical assistance. The pilot program completed its work in December 2014.
In March 2014, CEO issued a final report that describes the lessons learned engaging with 32 companies, market benefits and barriers, and considerations for a permanent program offering.
CEO continues to provide technical assistance to pilot program clients and their ESCOs.
For further information about the pilot project or to discuss program design, please contact Jeanna Paluzzi, Energy Performance Contracting Program Manager at 303.866.3464 or firstname.lastname@example.org.