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ESPC: Measurement and Verification Made Easy with Three New DOE Resources

Energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs) enable public agencies to implement facility improvements with little or no upfront capital costs by leveraging a guaranteed multi-year stream of energy savings. The process of confirming that savings has been achieved, known as measurement and verification (M&V), is an essential component of ESPCs. Without M&V, ESPC customers and program administrators may miss out on key ESPC benefits. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) developed three technical assistance resources in partnership with the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) to help state and local governments achieve successful ESPCs with effective M&V:

For more information on ESPCs and these resources, visit the Evaluating ESPC Results web page on the Better Buildings ESPC Toolkit.

NASEO, NAESCO, and ESC Co-Release ESPC Principles

NASEO, Energy Services Coalition (ESC), and National Association of Energy Service Companies (NAESCO) released a set of principles to help strengthen and expand the use of ESPCs to cost effectively upgrade the performance and energy efficiency of state, local, and other public sector buildings and facilities.

The resource, NASEO-ESC-NAESCO State ESPC Program and Project Principles, seeks to strengthen the quality and performance of ESPC projects, and thus increase confidence in ESPCs, by improving understanding of ESPCs and clarifying the roles and responsibilities of customers and the energy service companies (ESCOs) that complete the projects. The principles emphasize the use of guidelines, standardized documents and methods, technical assistance, good measurement and verification of energy savings, and robust management and tracking practices. Read the full document.

Energy Savings in Minnesota: Three Success Stories from the North Star State

Minnesota wipo success stories

With funding from DOE's State Energy Program, the Minnesota Department of Commerce Division of Energy Resources (DER) created two state-level initiatives to reduce both energy waste and costs: the Guaranteed Energy Savings Program (GESP) and a technical assistance initiative for potential residential solar customers.

Guaranteed Energy Savings Program: Overview

The GESP is housed within the Minnesota DER and its goal is to create jobs and reduce operational costs through energy efficiency efforts while working to reduce energy consumption in state agencies by 20%. The program also seeks to serve local governments and K-12 school districts, in addition to state agencies, by providing technical, contractual, and financial assistance for energy efficiency projects. For more information on GESP, read the EERE success story on the program.

Guaranteed Energy Savings Program: Results

With GESP, Minnesota realized energy savings possibilities across multiple public facilities. The City of Bemidji, Minnesota, was the first local government entity to use GESP to achieve energy efficiency upgrades resulting from an audit and deciding to complete work in eight city buildings, a wastewater treatment plant, street lighting, and vending machines. The project has a combined annual energy saving of 15%, which will save the city $126,000 per year. Additionally, Riverland Community College in Minnesota was the first college to use GESP for energy efficiency improvements, including lighting improvements, lighting controls, energy management controls, and a retrofitted building envelope, which reduced energy use by 27% and will save the college more than $136,000 per year. For more information on the savings achieved by the GESP, read the EERE success story.

Tips for Hiring a Qualified Residential Solar Installer

The Minnesota DER has made residential solar installations more accessible to Minnesota residents by assisting solar customers in finding a qualified installer to ensure proper and safe installation of photovoltaic panels. The Minnesota DER created a tip sheet for hiring qualified solar installers that contains advice to aid consumers in choosing an installer and sources to help navigate the installation process. For more information, read the EERE success story.

DOE and Alaska Housing Finance Corporation Help Rural Alaskan Communities Identify Energy Savings

alaska success story wipo

Rural communities offer huge opportunities for energy savings, but they can be more difficult to reach than urban areas and typically have smaller-sized projects, which can limit financing options. When implementing energy efficiency projects in small buildings, reduced energy savings potential may not be enough to overcome fixed transaction costs resulting in longer project payback periods. 

Using a 2015 DOE State Energy Program Competitive Award, the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) addressed these issues to achieve energy savings and identify opportunities to reduce the energy burden for residents. One community that benefited from this project was Chuathbaluk, a 3.5-square-mile community of 100 residents. Two buildings in the community underwent energy audits and money-saving retrofits were identified. Combined, the two buildings are expected to save more than $16,000 annually with a payback period of about a year from LED retrofit and attic insulation upgrades. For more information on Alaska’s success, read the EERE success story.

New Better Buildings Resource—Benchmarking and Transparency: Resources for State and Local Leaders

DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative and the Institute for Market Transformation released a new guide that provides state and local leaders with streamlined access to key, existing resources for developing and implementing high-impact building energy benchmarking and transparency programs in their jurisdictions. This resource guide seeks to provide state and local governments with the tools to achieve success with benchmarking programs. Download the resource.

Events

Register for 2019 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit

Banner for Better Buildings Summit.

The 2019 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit features two days of interactive sessions, insightful speakers, and many opportunities to connect with peers. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to collaborate with other leaders and gain actionable insights to accelerate energy efficiency throughout your organization, understand the latest in emerging technologies, address workforce needs, and share your perspectives on upcoming issues.

What to expect at the 2019 Summit:

  • Discover what's next in emerging technologies, resiliency planning, and workforce development.
  • Share and discuss successful approaches utilized by Better Buildings, Better Plants partners facing the same challenges as your organization.
  • Grow your network and make connections with industry peers, technical experts, and other Better Buildings partners and Allies.
  • Explore future opportunities to achieve greater energy, water, and waste efficiency in your organization.

Registration is now open—reserve your spot today!

For more information, visit the Summit event website.

Infrastructure Investments in the News

First Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Financed Project Closed in Oregon: The $3.5-million investment helps finance the revitalization of the historic 1911 Vivian Apartments in Portland and will include seismic retrofits and energy efficiency upgrades.

New York State to Invest $1.5 Billion in Renewable Energy Projects: New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York will be investing nearly $1.5 billion into 26 large-scale renewable energy projects over the next five years.