Evaluation of Federal Energy Savings Performance Contracting -- Methodology for Comparing Processes and Costs of ESPC and Appropriatins-Funded Energy Projects

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Federal agencies have had performance contracting authority since 1985, when Congress first authorized agencies to enter into shared energy savings agreements with Public Law 99-272, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. By the end of FY 2001, agencies had used energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs) to attract private-sector investment of over $1 billion to improve the energy efficiency of federal buildings. Executive Order 13123 directs agencies to maximize their use of alternative financing contracting mechanisms such as ESPCs when life-cycle cost effective to reduce energy use and cost in their facilities and operations. Continuing support for ESPCs at the Administration ... continued below

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Hughes, P.J. October 8, 2002.

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Federal agencies have had performance contracting authority since 1985, when Congress first authorized agencies to enter into shared energy savings agreements with Public Law 99-272, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. By the end of FY 2001, agencies had used energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs) to attract private-sector investment of over $1 billion to improve the energy efficiency of federal buildings. Executive Order 13123 directs agencies to maximize their use of alternative financing contracting mechanisms such as ESPCs when life-cycle cost effective to reduce energy use and cost in their facilities and operations. Continuing support for ESPCs at the Administration and Congressional levels is evident in the pending comprehensive national energy legislation, which repeals the sunset provision on ESPC authority and extends ESPC authority to water savings projects. Despite the Congressional and Presidential directives to use ESPCs, some agencies have been reluctant to do so. Decision makers in these agencies see no reason to enter into long-term obligations to pay interest on borrowed money out of their own operating budgets if instead Congress will grant them appropriations to pay for the improvements up front. Questions frequently arise about whether pricing in ESPCs, which are negotiated for best value, is as favorable as prices obtained through competitive sourcing, and whether ESPC as a means of implementing energy conservation projects is as life-cycle cost effective as the standard practice of funding these projects through appropriations. The lack of any quantitative analysis to address these issues was the impetus for this study. ESPCs are by definition cost-effective because of their ''pay-from-savings'' requirement and guarantee, but do their interest costs and negotiated pricing extract an unreasonably high price? Appropriations seem to be the least-cost option, because the U.S. Treasury can borrow money at lower interest rates than the private sector, but appropriations for energy projects are scarce. What are the costs associated with requesting funding and waiting for appropriations? And how is the value of an energy project affected if savings that are not guaranteed do not last? The objective of this study was to develop and demonstrate methods to help federal energy managers take some of the guesswork out of obtaining best value from spending on building retrofit energy improvements. We developed a method for comparing all-inclusive prices of energy conservation measures (ECMs) implemented using appropriated funds and through ESPCs that illustrates how agencies can use their own appropriations-funded project experience to ensure fair ESPC pricing. The second method documented in this report is for comparing life-cycle costs. This method illustrates how agencies can use their experience, and their judgment concerning their prospects for appropriations, to decide between financing and waiting.

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  • Report No.: ORNL/TM-2002/150
  • Grant Number: DE-AC05-00OR22725
  • DOI: 10.2172/885774 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 885774
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc875348

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  • October 8, 2002

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Nov. 28, 2016, 1:36 p.m.

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Hughes, P.J. Evaluation of Federal Energy Savings Performance Contracting -- Methodology for Comparing Processes and Costs of ESPC and Appropriatins-Funded Energy Projects, report, October 8, 2002; [Tennessee]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc875348/: accessed September 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.