Denver Housing Authority: Barney Ford Apartments


Managed by the Denver Housing Authority (DHA) and located in downtown Denver, Barney Ford Heights is an 81-unit apartment building providing subsidized housing to its residents. Built in 1962 the 8-story building was operated for 38 years with minimal energy efficiency upgrades until DHA launched a multi-year, multi-phased HUD approved energy performance contract (EPC) which is a variation of a traditional EPC with financing provided through an ESCo.

In 2007, Denver Housing Authority (DHA) completed phase 1 of a portfolio wide EPC. All of phase 1 projects were managed by an Energy Services Company (ESCo). This work included upgrades at Barney Ford which yielded 8% savings when measured against a 2002 baseline. Based on the measurable success of this work, a second phase was launched to generate additional savings but with the housing authority not the ESCo managing the work so as to secure better financing and have greater control over the projects scope of work, contractor selection and equipment purchasing and selection. Buildings included in DHA’s second energy performance contracting phase focused on multi-family row homes, single family scattered sites, and mid-rise buildings totaling over 2,700 public housing units across their portfolio. This city-wide EPC program is estimated to impact 2.7 million square feet of public housing and deliver an estimated annual cost savings of $2.4 million dollars.


Switching from an ESCo to a self-managed EPC allowed DHA to customize the scope of work for each building as well as the type of energy conservation measures (ECMs) that were implemented. DHA worked with a number of sub-contractors, to select and implement the best project specific energy improvements. For Barney Ford the ECMs included attic insulation, window and door replacements, central plant HVAC and DHW upgrades, common area lighting upgrades, residential lighting & appliance upgrades and building automated control systems.

In an effort to support the energy-efficient system installed under the EPC, DHA developed a training program for staff and tenants to change behavior, thereby increasing utility cost savings. Once the training program is implemented, DHA anticipates an additional 5% utility cost savings in future years.

Other Benefits

By choosing to self-manage its own EPC work DHA was able to execute projects that increased savings, reduced administrative overhead, and allowed for a larger, customized scope of work. Additionally, staff and residents were able to continually add their input throughout the planning, development, and implementation process.

DHA partnered with engineering and financial consultants as well as with a general contractor to orchestrate the project design, financing, construction, measurement & verification and HUD approval processes. The success of this self-managed EPC approach will influence future decisions on investing in energy efficiency and implementing energy conservation measures and solutions.

Image Gallery

Barney Ford exterior

Barney Ford exterior

Boiler install with staff

Boiler install with staff