ESPCs, enabling ESCOs to compare historical data to
estimated savings for proposed retrofits.
For smaller federal facilities under 200,000 square
feet, FEMP and GSA have developed a new funding
approach. The ENABLE program is designed to speed
the award and construction process to 6 months or
less. Pre-qualified vendors and pre-negotiated pricing
expedite a contracting process that offers the same
benefits as conventional ESPCs.
“A small facility is not generally a good candidate for
an extensive retrofit,” says GSA’s Kampschroer. “But
sometimes if you go in and tune up the controls, do
a little HVAC work, and change the lighting, you get
50% of the savings from 5% of the labor.”
Mining Results from Deep Energy Retrofits
The National Deep Energy Retrofit (NDER) project,
a pilot launched by GSA in 2012, is designed to push
the savings from performance contracting well beyond
that of typical ESPC projects. The ultimate goal: Discover innovations that will allow existing buildings to
achieve net-zero energy consumption.
The NDER currently encompasses 32 facilities totaling more than 20 million square feet. As with other
ESPCs, NDER projects must self-finance in 25 years or
less. The program emphasizes renewable energy and
other innovations. Identified improvements must be
linked to the expected useful life of the equipment and
Based on results in FEMP’s database, the average
energy savings for ESPC projects across all federal
agencies is 18%. However, the average anticipated
savings for the first 10 projects in the NDER pipeline
is 38%, according to 360° Degree Perspective on Federal
Deep Energy Retrofits, a 2014 report by GSA and the
energy audit, an ESCO provides a turnkey solution
for a retrofit that is guaranteed to provide a given
decrease in energy consumption. The stream of future
energy savings pays the ESCO for the project, resulting in little or no upfront costs for the government.
The terms of such contracts can be as long as 25 years.
ESPCs are also available to federal agencies through a
utility energy service contract (UESC) with a facility’s
In 2011 President Obama challenged the federal
government to enter into $2 billion in performance
contracts within two years. The president added $2
billion to the challenge in 2014, making the total goal
$4 billion by the end of 2016.
Accelerators for Performance Contracts
The president’s performance contracting challenge
comes with its own implementation challenges. Projects with large scopes and long-term commitments to
an ESCO provoke caution. Facility managers may not
be familiar with the energy management technologies
or comfortable with an ESCO’s control of some building operations.
Another factor is the nature of the performance
contract itself. “The contracting process is unfamiliar
to them because it’s a negotiated process based on
best value, not a low bid. That’s a whole different ball
game,” says Donald Gilligan, president of the National
Association of Energy Service Companies.
To assist in developing ESPCs, the DOE’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) has
introduced a web-based project entry and tracking system, eProject Builder, that standardizes
performance data for ESPCs across all government
agencies. The system compiles data from previous
Public Buildings Service
sustaining world-class facilities and services
the office of facilities management and services programs
*For internal use only
Before reprogramming, the unit
was unable to hit its setpoint,
commanding the cooling valve
Before reprogramming, the unit
was also unscheduled and
commanded on 24/7.
GSAlink Example of Fault
GSALINK IDENTIFIES A SENSOR FAILURE that is causing equipment to run 100% and 24/7. Without continuous moni-
toring for faults, such problems might not be uncovered until the next maintenance cycle.