Portland Public Schools Innovative Funding Mechanism for ESPC Brings Efficiency to 80 Facilities

Portland Public Schools (PPS) made it easy to fund energy efficiency upgrades without compromising a limited capital budget reserved for emergency needs. The district created a two-pronged approach. It would combine recovery zone economic development bonds for smaller, owner managed projects with a traditional energy savings performance contract (ESPC).

This allowed the district to fund building improvements in two phases:

  • Phase I of the project included a pilot program at four area schools paid for by utility cost savings, Oregon Department of Energy funds and business energy tax credits. 
  • Phase II expanded the effort district-wide with projects funded by $11 million in Recovery Zone Economic Development bonds.

Because of savings from these efforts, PPS has hired a full time project manager to oversee project implementation and manage program bidding and reporting.  In addition, the district has increased administrative and school board support for projects as well as incorporated environmental responsibility into the curriculum and community outreach efforts.

To date, PPS has completed work at over 80 facilities in the district’s portfolio contracting work for over $10.5 million to date. The district has realized an annual energy savings of over 1.6 million kWh, 206,000 therms, $1.2 million and offset over 3.5 million lbs. of CO2 since the project was initiated in 2012. 

Learn more about Portland Public Schools efficiency action here.