HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (Aug. 2, 2019) – Two Energy Division workshops brought dozens of contractors from throughout the country to the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, July 25.
One workshop focused on the Energy Savings Performance Contracting Program and the measurement and verification process therein, while the other focused on safety. Both groups started the day together in a joint workshop.
Boyce Ross, Huntsville Center’s acting deputy commander (civilian) and director of Engineering, opened the event by welcoming attendees and giving a historical overview of Huntsville Center, explaining how it fits into the greater Corps of Engineers picture.
“From the beginning we started developing expertise that no other organization in the Corps of Engineers either had the ability to develop from a technical perspective, or it wasn’t normal, regularly occurring work that the Corps of Engineers’ districts could perform,” Ross said.
What that’s evolved into, he continued, is an array of Centers of Expertise with a lineup of experts in a variety of complex technical specialties. One area of expertise that goes back to the 1970s, Ross added, is the Installation Support Technical Center of Expertise, which includes the Energy Division.
“A lot of the innovative things that have happened in the energy field have a genesis in Huntsville Center,” he said. “Energy Savings Performance Contracting is one of them. Between us and the Department of Energy, we’re the only game in town for the Department of Defense.”
ESPC workshop attendees included members of various utility companies and representatives from every energy-service company under Huntsville Center’s ESPC Multiple Award Task Order, along with Huntsville Center Energy Division professionals and, as a special guest, the program director of DOE’s Federal Energy Management Program, Robert Ivester.
The ESPC program gives federal agencies a way to make improvements to existing infrastructure at military installations to increase energy efficiency, ensure energy resilience, and save taxpayer money – all without the requirement of upfront capital costs or congressional funds.
ESPC contract vehicles leverage third-party financing to fund these energy-conservation measures. This approach is especially handy for installations that do not have funds already budgeted for improvements on existing infrastructure.
As part of the ESPC process, Huntsville Center maintains an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity Multiple Award Task Order, which has a current roster of 13 energy-service companies, or ESCOs. For each project, the ESCO that secures the contract is responsible for producing upfront capital costs through a financier. The ESCO and financier are then paid from the savings generated by the energy-conservation measures the ESCO produces for the installation.
The measurement and verification process ensures a project is meeting those energy savings requirements, which are outlined in the contract. The process must be conducted annually throughout the life of the contract, which can be up to 25 years.
For fiscal 2018 alone, Huntsville Center’s ESPC Program racked up more than $102 million in verified savings.
“The main purpose of the workshop was to share experiences with each other about the measurement and verification process, and also to come up with a common understanding between the ESCO community and us about the process we need to follow, how we decide on site visits, how we communicate back and forth, and how we handle any issues that might come up,” said Shah Alam, Huntsville Center ESPC program manager.
With help from several of his Huntsville Center colleagues, Safety Manager Will Eggleston led the safety workshop, which was aimed at prime contractor safety officers. The main focus was how to operate in accordance with the Corps of Engineers’ Safety and Health Requirements Manual, Engineering Manual 385-1-1. The workshop also covered best practices, strategies to prevent workplace mishaps, and ways of eliminating worksite hazards.
For the working luncheon, corporate safety officers took the lead and discussed their own safety lessons learned.
The two workshops also happened to overlap with Day 2 of the adjacent Electronic Security Systems Contractor Safety Summit, the attendees of which joined the Energy Division’s one-day safety workshop on the summit’s second day.
Kyle Shireman, the safety manager for the Electronic Technology Division, joined forces with Eggleston for the combined workshop. Shireman said, despite any differences in areas of expertise, the attendees were able to benefit from each other’s safety knowledge, skills and experience.
“It worked out perfectly that way,” Shireman said. “Both sides really liked it because they started hearing other programs’ issues and seeing that they’re not alone with those issues.”
To learn more about the ESPC process, visit www.energy.gov/eere/femp/resources-implementing-federal-energy-savings-performance-contracts.
Check out the related story, "Huntsville Center safety manager helps boost contractors' safety acumen," at www.hnc.usace.army.mil/Media/News-Stories/Article/1924154
“Q&A: This is why Energy Savings Performance Contracts are a ‘big deal’”: https://www.energy.gov/eere/articles/qa-why-energy-savings-performance-contracts-are-big-deal
Check out USACE Engineering Manual 385-1-1 at https://www.publications.usace.army.mil/Portals/76/Publications/EngineerManuals/EM_385-1-1.pdf