Many old signature buildings and developments (and some that are not that old) present significant cost-saving and efficiency improvements. Outsourcing, sale and lease back, new office furniture, and many other options, have all been well known and widely adopted ways to finance improvements. And yes, energy efficiency, although rejected by many that think it only means additional costs, is also booming. For some ideologic reason, normal efficiency measures tend to be sneered at by some people as soon as they include CO2 reduction.

But the business opportunity is very real, and many capable companies and professionals can support your needs. Very importantly, these improvements generate jobs directly in your city and even neighborhood! Let me bring an example of a somewhat more sophisticated alliance that involves government buildings and energy companies: old boilers that have been in use for 60 years at the Department of Energy’s Germantown, Maryland facility were on their last legs. Funding for replacements is limited, forcing the Department of Energy (DOE) to look for a company that could help them explore alternative means to finance the new boilers. They were able to find this help through the company Constellation. The DOE was able to access the help they needed from Constellation by receiving the Utility Energy Services Contract (UESC), which is offered by the Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO). PEPCO and Constellation are both Exelon-owned companies and are part of the energy value chain that is available to all larger and smaller facilities. The UESC provides energy upgrades that are paid over time through reduced operation and energy costs. 

Yes, these boilers are larger than the ones at your home or business, but the savings and financing opportunity is there for all of us.

This contract allowed Constellation to provide energy conservation measures with the boiler replacement including lighting and HVAC upgrades. Constellation installed more than 6 million dollars’ worth of the measures. The facility is expected to save 900 metric tons of CO2 each year, which is an astounding measurement in environmental protection and something many more businesses should aspire to do. The DOE has a 17-year contract with Constellation and the energy conservation measures are expected to save the DOE more than $425,000 in the first year alone. This contract is flexible and allows both parties to collaborate in making sure the facility meets the requirements needed. Thus far, Constellation has: put LED lights in 8,000 old fixtures, had bare pipes reinsulated, installed steam meters, replaced steam kettles with electric ones, and installed controls that will give ventilation based on actual occupancy of a room instead of a preset value, improved building envelopes which include exterior and interior seals.

Senior Vice President of Distributed Energy at Constellation, Michael D. Smith said that the company is happy to work with many businesses with these updates. By working with the agency, they were able to help the DOE achieve energy resiliency, manageable goals, and reduce costs. This is the mission of Constellation, to help the customer with solutions for their energy needs. Through this project, combined with the efforts in renewable energy and minimal environmental impact, Constellation is paving a new way forward for the future of energy solutions. One that will help millions across the United States manage their energy needs in an ever-changing world. If we want to continue to see these developments in the future, we need to also teach and train professionals like heating, plumbing, cooling and electrical technicians that there is a great opportunity to get more work while helping their customers, large and small to reduce their operating costs, and yes, this also creates a significant reduction of CO2. Here we are back to our issue of confusing business opportunities with additional costs as soon as the CO2 reduction is mentioned. All in all, I am confident, that even narrow-minded professionals will be seduced by the business opportunities that open up for them. And it gets better, this is job creation right in your backyard.