True design is so much more than appearance or structural integrity; it’s total performance.
This means maximizing efficiency, renewing energy systems, and creating sustainable, beautiful assets for your district and community. Pair this with long-term energy savings and you’ve got the ideal situation that many of CPL’s K-12 clients enjoy today.
Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) is often used as a vehicle to help school districts use utility and operations savings to pay for the cost of energy efficiency improvements in their buildings. Instead of one-to-one replacements, the key is to use a whole-building approach to identify solutions that will ensure all system improvements are in sync and client-centric.
Determining whether an EPC is the best project approach can certainly be cumbersome. As a best practice, it is important to know and remember the following:
1) All EPC’s are NOT created equally.
Each building has its own unique operating characteristics, including energy usage, energy sources, and energy rates. Buyer beware of EPC’s that appear to be “cookie cutter” and do not effectively address your long-term facility needs.
2) Your school buildings have multiple systems that need to “speak” to each other.
It is imperative that your EPC accounts for the critical communication links provided through your building controls to optimize all systems and equipment operations. Often, EPC’s become too focused on short-term payback and end up reducing the functionality of your systems.
3) The quality of your equipment is paramount.
Cheap equipment might provide a “quicker” payback, but it will almost certainly break down and require more money to repair much sooner than desired.
4) Correlation does not equal causation when it comes to EPC’s and indoor air quality.
EPC’s do not directly improve indoor air quality. In fact, they can actually reduce ventilation to generate energy savings. An engineered system approach is required to improve your building’s indoor air quality, while still limiting the energy impact.