eProject Builder: Promoting wider adoption of energy savings performance contracts through standardization and transparency
Energy savings performance contracting (ESPC) enables building owners to implement facility upgrades and reduce energy and water consumption (often with operations and maintenance expenses) using the resulting annual stream of cost savings to cover project installation and financing costs. The size of the international ESPC market is ~$30 billion per year and growing. However, ESPCs still face myriad barriers to achieving their market potential. Barriers include lack of data standardization and transparency, lost data, and inconsistent project performance monitoring. These barriers have limited stakeholders’ ability to understand how projects perform. The inability to document and quantify past projects’ success has led to skepticism, aversion, and unnecessarily high transaction costs. This work discusses a standardized approach to develop and document ESPCs through eProject Builder (ePB), which involves a simple Excel-based set of financial schedules combined with an on-line data archiving and tracking system. ePB enables standardized collection, calculation and reporting of project data in a way that promotes greater transparency of ESPCs to facility owners and other stakeholders. Specifically, the key benefits of ePB are that it (1) minimizes redundancies; (2) eliminates data inconsistencies resulting from multiple data repositories; (3) increases transparency by preserving and providing access to data in perpetuity; (4) enables development of “what if” scenarios; and (5) standardizes data to allow for comparative analysis of ESPC projects. Accordingly, ePB increases confidence in the ESPC vehicle among prospective customers. The paper demonstrates one key aspect of ePB’s value by using it to conduct sensitivity analyses of key factors in hypothetical ESPC projects.