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Energy savings performance contracts help reduce consumption

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Making investments in energy and water improvements can be challenging in a resource constrained environment. 

When every infrastructure requirement is competing for the same funding, it can sometimes be tough to prioritize a project that may take 10 to 15 years to recoup an investment. 

The Department of Energy recognized this challenge, and in 1998, created energy savings performance contracts.  An ESPC is a contract in which an energy service company designs, constructs, implements, operates, maintains, and arranges the necessary funding of improvements that reduce energy and water consumption and promote the use of renewable energy technologies. 

ESPCs enable the Air Force to improve energy performance while addressing aging infrastructure concerns and reducing consumption, through a budget-neutral approach.

ESPCs are utilized for reducing energy consumption at an installation through improvements to infrastructure, facilities, and facility systems.  ESPCs can be used to replace inefficient energy and water-consuming equipment including HVAC, lighting, electrical power generation, and renewable energy.

These contracts can also be used to reduce process energy within buildings, including, but not limited to, process equipment; or research, development, test and evaluation equipment.  Any initiative that results in a net decrease in future energy or water costs can be considered for ESPC.

At Wright-Patterson, there are currently two active ESPCs providing energy and water benefits to the base. 

The first completed construction began in 2007 by Honeywell International, Inc.  The construction project includes the upgrade of older, inefficient lighting systems with new lamps and electronic ballasts, new fixtures with occupancy sensors, exit signs, and compact fluorescent technology.  The contract also includes the installation of a new, more efficient, process chiller and heat exchanger.  Combined, the energy improvements generate more than $250,000 per year in savings. 

The second active ESPC completed construction began performance in 2018 by Johnson Controls Inc. 

This construction project includes chiller plant upgrades, controls upgrades, lighting upgrades, insulation, and water conservation devices.  Overall, this second ESPC provides more than $500,000 per year in energy, water, and maintenance savings.