Clean Energy Solutions

Hamilton County, Ohio

SERVICES PROVIDED:

Owners Advisor for Energy Performance Contracting

ENGAGEMENT BEGAN:

June 2009

The goal of CESI’s engagement with Hamilton County is to make energy performance contracting (EPC) work in the municipal sector, with better penetration that it has historically achieved. 

Hamilton County and CESI worked together to set aside $3M of Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) funding to use as incentives to facilitate EPC in county and municipal buildings across Hamilton County.  EPC can be challenging for municipalities for several reasons:

Unfamiliarity with the contracting and financing arrangements

Problems of scale that prevent smaller municipalities from benefiting from EPC

Lack of staff resources to oversee the EPC contractor selection process


CESI addressed these challenges by writing a custom RFP, overseeing the contractor selection process, and interviewing and selecting an ESCO.  Our arrangement with Hamilton County allows municipalities in the County to “piggyback” on the EPC contract, overcoming the procurement problem that makes it difficult for smaller municipalities to access the resources of an ESCO.  It also improves the financial attractiveness of EPC by providing incentives (a lower effective interest rate) that make the EPC contract more attractive to municipalities.  

Now that the EPC blanket agreement is in effect, CESI continues to support Hamilton County by acting as an owners agent.  This entails acting as an advocate for the county (who does not have previous experience dealing with ESCOs), reviewing contracts, assisting in negotiations with the ESCO, and performing additional QA/QC. 

Currently, we are reaching out to eligible buildings and municipalities to explain the program and the benefits of EPC in municipal buildings.  With luck, Hamilton County’s experience with performance contracting will be an example for other counties who can use a similar model overcome transaction costs and allow building owners to access the upfront capital needed to make deep retrofits and enjoy lower energy bills.

Hamilton County, Ohio

The goal of CESI’s engagement with Hamilton County was to make energy performance contracting (EPC) work in the municipal sector, with better penetration that it had historically achieved. 

Hamilton County and CESI worked together to set aside $3M of Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) funding to use as incentives to facilitate EPC in county and municipal buildings across Hamilton County.  EPC can be challenging for municipalities for several reasons:

  • Unfamiliarity with the contracting and financing arrangements
  • Problems of scale that prevent smaller municipalities from benefiting from EPC
  • Lack of staff resources to oversee the EPC contractor selection process

CESI addressed these challenges by writing a custom RFP, overseeing the contractor selection process, and interviewing and selecting an ESCO.  Our arrangement with Hamilton County allows municipalities in the County to “piggyback” on the EPC contract, overcoming the procurement problem that makes it difficult for smaller municipalities to access the resources of an ESCO.  It also improves the financial attractiveness of EPC by providing incentives (a lower effective interest rate) that make the EPC contract more attractive to municipalities.  

Once the EPC contract was in effect, CESI continued to support Hamilton County by acting as an owner's agent. This entails acting as an advocate for the county (who does not have previous experience dealing with ESCOs), reviewing contracts, assisting in negotiations with the ESCO, and performing additional QA/QC. 

Hamilton County’s experience with performance contracting set an example for other counties in Ohio to use a similar model to overcome transaction costs and give building owners access the upfront capital needed to make deep retrofits and enjoy lower energy bills.