Deep Energy Retrofits Using Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs): Success Stories Show 58% Average Energy Savings


Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)’s new paper, Deep Energy Retrofits Using Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs) looks at the model of using long-term performance contracting to avoid upfront capital costs and tie payment to verification of energy and cost savings. The paper covers the following best practices, and then shares case studies of seven federal building energy-saving projects, and one municipal:

  1. Set aggressive long-term goals;
  2. Engage and collaborate with diverse stakeholders;
  3. Establish a support system;
  4. Start with a clean sheet and a beginners mind;
  5. Use an iterative, holistic design process;
  6. Incorporate feedback and ongoing involvement.

To learn more and read the paper in full, click here. Some highlights of energy conservation measures (ECMs) used in the projects are shared below:

New Carrollton, MD Federal Building

  • Central chilled-water plant
  • Integrative building controls and sensors
  • LED lighting replacements
  • geothermal heat rejection
  • Exhaust-to-Outdoor Air heat recovery loop

Naval Air Station Oceana

  • Steam/chiller plant decentralization
  • High-efficiency HVAC
  • Solar thermal
  • Ground-source heat pump (GSHP) with effluent heat rejection
  • Digital controls
  • Lighting retrofits
  • Water conservation (fixture level)

Almeric L. Christian Federal Building

*First federal energy savings performance contract to achieve net-zero energy use

  • Retro-commissioning
  • Building automation system upgrades, smart building integration
  • lighting upgrades
  • Chiller, air handling unit (AHU), and pump replacements
  • Window films
  • Solar photovoltaics (PV)

Fort Buchanan

  • HVAC improvements
  • LED lighting replacements and lighting controls
  • Solar photovoltaics (PV), solar thermal and wind power
  • Rainwater harvesting
  • Weather-integrated irrigation
  • Plumbing retrofits and leak detection

U.S. Embassy, Nicaragua

  • LED replacements
  • Chiller plant optimization
  • Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) and direct expansion (DX) cooling
  • Building automation system retro-commissioning (RCx) and sequence optimization
  • High-efficiency transformers
  • Solar photovoltaics (PV)

King and Brickell Federal Buildings

  • Packaged water A/C units – and right-sizing units
  • Lighting upgrades and controls
  • Variable air volume (VAV) boxes
  • Water conservation/on-site treatment
  • Energy recovery ventilation

City of Boulder Buildings

  • Lighting retrofits and controls
  • Chiller, boiler and air handling unit (AHU) replacements
  • Smart building systems
  • Water conservation measures
  • Demand response via electric vehicle battery storage
  • Solar photovoltaics (PV) and solar thermal

National Archives

  • LED and other lighting upgrades
  • Controls upgrades
  • Variable frequency drives
  • Chiller upgrades with staged loading
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