Coming Soon: A New ESPC Toolkit to Fine-Tune Funding Approaches for Retrofit Buildings Projects

By Alice Dasek, U.S. Department of Energy on Sep 15, 2016

Many public institutions hope to find the upfront funds to retrofit buildings knowing that the investments will reap savings for their organizations. But the truth is, it’s not always easy to get the money and ensure the savings all at the same time (which as energy professionals know, is what is often needed to get a project sold to leadership and shovels in the ground digging).

In comes a mechanism that is tried and true, energy savings performance contracting (ESPC). It’s a tool many have heard of, and more and more are using. ESPC is customizable to meet any organization’s need and after years of use is flexibly designed and officially vetted as a safe bet for laying out project requirements and ensuring a job is done to meet savings expectations. 

SAVINGS FACT: The potential for performance contracts to help public-sector organizations realize savings is significant. It is estimated that a typical ESPC project in the MUSH market saves approximately 13 percent to 31 percent annually compared to its baseline consumption.

That’s why when the ESPC Accelerator launched, DOE was focused on building on work already underway by stakeholders and created a forum for interested partners to share ideas and capture best practices. In addition, through the ESPC Accelerator, partners commit real dollars to real projects, and are investing $2 billion in ESPC projects over three years. By putting up real funds and collaborating with their peers and DOE experts to identify solutions to key barriers to ESPC, partners show the market how ESPC projects are executed, and offer important insights into first-hand experiences. You can see all the ESPC partner commitments below.

So, what’s next?

Now with 24 partners – and years of progress working with leaders in the space –  ESPC Accelerator partners are documenting how they are making ESPC an everyday reality and a trusted financing mechanism in their organizations. The goal for partners to develop their successful solutions to further ESPC projects is being met, and partner resources will be combined in a toolkit to be released on the  Better Buildings Solutions Center later this fall.  The ESPC toolkit will feature comprehensive tools including streamlined model documents, financing information, as well as  solutions partners have found most helpful.

The ESPC Toolkit features:

  • Twelve partners designed decision tools to help organizations select ways to improve the ESPC project process. Partner spotlight: Connecticut evaluated data management platforms for effective ESPC project management.
  • Six partners built frameworks to support ESPC as a regular option for advancing energy efficiency retrofits. Partner spotlight: Alabama is setting up a pre-qualified list of energy services companies to carry out ESPC projects in the state.
  • Six partners used a data-driven strategy to enable energy efficiency retrofits in target markets such as water utilities, rural governments, K-12 schools, and correctional facilities. Partner spotlight: Nevada, used the approach to assess ESPC opportunities in small and rural communities across the state.

To highlight this progress and partner achievements, as recently as last month, energy industry experts and public-sector thought leaders gathered in Louisville, KY at the 5th Annual Market Transformation Conference on August 23 to share ESPC innovations, case studies, best practices and lessons learned. There, DOE’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, Kathleen Hogan attended as a keynote speaker to recognize the success of Accelerator partners and highlight their leadership. Hogan also remarked and congratulated on progress partners are making; they are on track to individually meet or exceed their ESPC investment commitments and together achieve the Accelerator’s goal of driving $2 billion in state and local ESPC contracts.   


Investment Level


$5 million

Cincinnati, OH

$6 million


$125 million


$200 million

El Paso, TX

$20.6 million

Fort Worth, TX

$11 million


$300 million

Houston, TX

$9 million


$10 million


$350 million


$7.5 million


$105 million


$1 million


$5 million


$100 million

New Hampshire

$25 million

New Mexico

$50 million

Newark, NJ

$2.7 million

North Carolina

$100 million

Philadelphia School District

$24 million

South Carolina

$32 million

Virgin Islands

$35 million


$175 million

Washington State

$126 million