Alternative Financing

The single greatest barrier to reducing energy costs in federal agencies (and at all levels of government) is constraints on the resources needed to identify, plan, and implement energy conservation measures. The SFO group has helped the public sector with both time-tested and innovative methods to finance energy efficiency improvements and repay those funds with savings from the utility costs that agencies are already paying. We have been engaged in the creation and implementation of federal energy efficiency third-party financing vehicles – ESPC, UESC and PPA – since their inception in the mid-1990s. We have also helped shape and streamline ESPC programs and execute new ESPC IDIQ contracts.

We led the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP)'s effort to expand the applicability and scope of ESPC and have been a lead entity in the federal government for standards and methods of measurement and verification (M&V), which is critical to successful third-party financing. For example, the first three versions of the FEMP M&V guidelines were LBNL products. We also lead the effort at LBNL's own facilities to reduce energy costs by leasing efficient energy-intensive equipment like transformers and laboratory freezers, in a mode where savings will at least partly offset costs.

Other examples of our work and less traditional third-party financing:

  • LBNL has developed and maintains eProject Builder (ePB), a secure web-based data entry and tracking system for energy savings performance contract (ESPC) projects across the U.S. ePB standardizes data collection for ESPC projects nationwide -- across ESCOs and all market sectors, including: federal, state, local, K-12, universities and colleges, public housing, health, industrial and private commercial. ePB provides authorized users with a streamlined, standardized, and secure platform for collecting, housing and reporting their ESPC project data. More information is available on ePB’s Help and Documentation page.

  • Led the implementation of ENABLE, FEMP's program to streamline and speed up ESPC projects for smaller sites
  • Developed, tested, and promoted techniques within ESPC to encourage the use of new and under-utilized technologies and energy conservation measures (ECMs) that enable deeper savings
  • Pioneered the use of Energy Service Agreements (ESAs) within ESPCs, accomplishing a longer term of amortization for renewable assets, which will make many more projects financially viable
  • Served as the project facilitator for the largest ever Federal wind-farm project, at NNSA's Pantex facility
  • PPAs for renewables: We have been instrumental in the 15 MW PV installation at Fort Detrick, MD, and leading an innovative project to aggregate PV installations across sites and across agencies into one PPA, to achieve economies of scale.
  • ESPC for non-building (mobility) applications: We have conducted energy audits on Navy Reserve vessels, helped them to arrange third-party utility financing for savings in cold-iron energy costs, and explored methods to create, expand and implement third-party financing of energy retrofits on vessels. Third-party financing features not only ESPC (if statutorily authorized), but also equipment leasing, utility financing for vessels in port in"'cold iron" mode, and other means. We are also developing IPMVP-based M&V protocols to measure and verify energy savings from application of conservation measures on naval vessels.
  • Utility and public benefit program cash incentives: We provide FEMP and all Federal agencies with up-to-date information on applicable utility and public benefit program cash incentives for energy efficiency measures. LBNL staff provide direct support to agencies in obtaining those incentives.
  • The Measurement & Verification Portal offers valuable resources for quantifying the savings resulting from the installation of energy conservation measures; however, information available via the portal is no longer updated.