What Success Looks Like

To date, 140 public jurisdictions have executed 188 energy performance contracts, leveraging almost $32 million in guaranteed utility savings to invest $487 million into administration buildings, schools, courthouses, jails and correctional facilities, libraries, health clinics, veterans housing, ballparks and other community facilities. An EPC project is benefitting at least one community in 75 percent of Colorado's counties. Colorado’s total portfolio investment places it in the #4 position nationally in the ESC's Race to the Top challenge.

How did that happen?

Enabling Legislation and a Strong ESC Chapter

Colorado initiated its energy performance contracting (EPC) program in the early 1990s, and soon after created the ESC state chapter. Over the years the Colorado EPC Program has evolved into what is now considered a model for other states to replicate.

Throughout their joint history, the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) and the ESC Colorado Chapter have partnered to ensure that EPC reduces the strain on taxes and tuition fees and supports a healthy environment for Coloradans by updating public buildings and reducing utility costs and energy and water consumption.

Continuous Elected and Administrative Support

In accordance with the ESC Key Attributes to Program Readiness, Colorado has honored its bipartisan gubernatorial, Congressional, and legislative support throughout its history with strong administrative engagement of its Energy, State Architect, Attorney General, Treasurer, and Controller Offices. Three state funds and the annual federal State Energy Plan grant provide all programmatic support. Its enabling legislation provides for work in state, higher education and local government facilities.

Pre-Qualified ESCOs

In addition, Colorado maintains a pool of energy service companies (ESCOs) to provide EPC services. Each pre-qualified ESCO executes a five-year, annually renewable contract with the CEO. The contract provides the state’s endorsement in exchange for ESCO adherence to federal and state regulations, engineering and industry standards, and the Colorado EPC Program’s standards for success.

Standardized Documents and Other Tools

Other key elements to Colorado’s success are standardized contracts, toolkits to facilitate communication protocols and technical guidance documents; an engaged private financier community; and CEO technical support to EPC program clients throughout their project’s lifecycle.

EPC in the Private Sector

In FY12 the state received a federal competitive award to assess private sector reaction to the elements of a successful public sector energy performance contracting program. The three-year pilot program concluded that, with state EPC program support, private sector commercial building owners do benefit from deeper energy retrofits than previously reported in joint Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory/National Association of Energy Service Company market studies.

Accelerating Small and Rural Uptake

During FY14, the Legislature directed the CEO to consider aggregation, pooling and bundling as tools for accelerating uptake of EPC in small and rural communities. In FY15 CEO conducted a market study to research the technical, legal, financial and other considerations of those and other acceleration tools and strategies. The study identified insurmountable legal, financial, and political hurdles for project aggregation, and several simpler strategies for accelerating small and rural market uptake. CEO and the ESC Colorado Chapter membership are implementing those strategies.

Water and Wastewater Market Support

In FY16, Colorado began work with Western Resource Advocates and other Colorado River Basin states to identify how EPC might better capture opportunities to improve water conservation at public facilities. The collaborators will them look into whether EPC is a tool for improving water loss controls in public water systems. Colorado’s interest extends to wastewater systems.

ESC Engagement in Contract and Guidance Updates

In FY16, state offices and the ESC Colorado Chapter will conclude development of updates to program contracts and M&V protocols. New contract launch is anticipated at the beginning of FY17, on July 1, 2016. The M&V protocol update is already in play. Colorado is open to adopting FEMP’s state-friendly M&V 4.0 guidance, upon review.