Sustainable Energy Management Through Performance Contracting
Sustainable Energy Management Through Performance Contracting
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Sustainable Energy Management Through Performance Contracting
By: Patrick Worthington 1 minute read

An energy savings performance contract is a project delivery method in which a single contract provider executes both the turnkey implementation of energy-efficiency measures and a measurement and verification process to track project performance.

Today’s intense focus on being green has vaulted sustainability concerns to the list of integral components for airport design and operation. While aviation facility owners can draw on seemingly limitless choices for significant sustainability improvements, maximizing energy efficiency is the most widely considered and implemented opportunity.

The reason is simple. Energy efficiency can significantly reduce the facility’s carbon footprint while improving the bottom line through lower utility expenses. In many cases, the utility cost savings expected from implementing an energy-efficiency project are sufficient to recover the investment in the project in a relatively short period of time. Many organizations base their business case analyses on this expected return on investment.

Strategic Sustainability

On the surface, energy-efficiency projects seem to be a slam-dunk method for advancing sustainability efforts. Digging a little deeper, however, sheds light on a critical, yet often ignored, component that can make or break the efficacy of energy efficiency as a long-term sustainability strategy. In order to support a viable strategy, the energy savings resulting from such projects must not only occur when the project is implemented, but it must also be sustainable over time.

Because of the dynamic nature of aviation facilities, with multiple stakeholders and daily operational challenges, even the most well-designed energy-efficiency project requires a well-conceived and supported management system to ensure that the project delivers and sustains the intended financial and environmental benefits.

Energy Savings Guaranteed

An energy savings performance contract (ESPC) is a project delivery method in which a single contract provider executes both the turnkey implementation of energy-efficiency measures and a measurement and verification process to track project performance. A key feature of ESPC projects is that the ESPC provider guarantees that the project will realize the anticipated energy savings. Should the resulting energy savings not meet the guaranteed level, the ESPC provider pays the difference.

Aligned for Success

In addition to securing project cash flow, the energy savings guarantee aligns the definition of project success — the long-term achievement of energy-savings targets — for both the aviation facility and the ESPC provider. As a result, the relationship between the aviation facility and the ESPC provider is a true partnership, working cooperatively toward a common goal.

Once a project is implemented, a performance management period begins. During that time, the ESPC provider monitors facility systems, reports on energy performance, works with airport personnel to identify and correct performance deficiencies, assists with facility system troubleshooting and diagnostics, and evaluates opportunities for continued improvement. The performance management period lasts for the duration of the contract term, typically from 10 to 20 years. This close, long-term working relationship provides a built-in management system designed to verify that energy savings are achieved initially and every year thereafter.

Long-Term Strategy

Energy efficiency can and should be a major contributor to any aviation facility’s sustainability strategy. Through the close partnerships formed and performance management processes obtained through an ESPC, valuable energy savings can be achieved with the assurance that the benefits will not dissipate in the future.

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