City to Hire Energy Management Company

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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City to Hire Energy Management Company

Posted: 11/06/2008
The City of Knoxville will hire an energy management company to develop a comprehensive plan aimed at significantly reducing energy and water consumption and costs at city facilities.

City Council unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday night authorizing the city to enter into a contract with Ameresco, Inc. to conduct an energy/water audit of all city properties and deliver a proposal to the city that includes recommendations for implementable energy conservation measures and projected energy savings.

"One of our key goals is for city government to become more energy efficient, in terms of cost and consumption," said Mayor Bill Haslam, "and this is a great step toward reaching that destination. This is a good company with a solid record of success and we're looking forward to working with them on a project that will make a significant difference to our city."

Eight firms responded to the Request-For-Qualifications that the city released earlier this year and Ameresco won the top rank from the city's selection committee. The Massachusetts-based firm has a large office in Knoxville and strong experience working with municipalities and other government clients on energy services performance contracts.

Ameresco will begin by conducting a detailed study of electricity, natural gas and water consumption in city facilities. They will review utility bills and evaluate existing energy systems - this includes everything from boilers to light bulbs to plumbing fixtures to windows.

Based on the results of the audit, Amereso will deliver a proposal with recommended energy conservation projects.

The proposal will tell the city not only how much it would cost to implement the recommended projects but also how much money each one would save on an annual basis. All proposed changes will have a positive return on investment, meaning that the energy savings will pay for the upfront costs.

"They will give us building-by-building recommendations for how we can reduce energy consumption and what the benefits will be in terms of energy cost savings and emission reductions," said Madeleine Weil, deputy director of the Policy & Communications.

Weil chairs the city's Energy & Sustainability Task Force which was formed in 2007 to help the city develop strategies for lowering energy consumption, costs and emissions.

According to the Energy Consumption & Emissions Inventory completed this year, city government pays almost $7 million annually for electricity, natural gas, water and water bills.

"We think we can cut consumption by 15-25% just by increasing efficiency. Energy rates are going up, so reducing consumption is the only way we have to control costs" Weil said.

Under the terms of the contract, there is no upfront charge for the audit or project proposal. If the city chooses to implement some or all of the recommended energy conservation measures, the city would enter into an "Energy Savings Agreement" contract with Ameresco and the costs of the capital improvements, the audit and Ameresco's management would be paid by the energy savings produced. If, however, the city chooses not to proceed with the Energy Savings Agreement, it would pay Ameresco roughly $200,000 for the audit.

"We're very pleased that Council has approved the resolution to enter into a contract with Ameresco," Weil said. "We believe this project is going to uncover lots of cost-effective ways for us to make city facilities more energy efficient."

The audit will begin before the end of the year and will take approximately six months to complete.