Energy Efficiency: Partnering Successfully with an ESCO

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A recent feature in The Chronicle detailed how as funds for facilities decrease, more colleges are signing performance contracts with energy services companies (ESCOs); often, an experienced ESCO can implement much needed infrastructure improvements and efficiency projects that are then paid for by energy savings. However, the Chronicle notes several cases in which poorly structured partnerships led to long negotiations late in the project or even litigation, and quotes one expert, the president of Synchronous Energy Solutions, as remarking, "If you're going to try to fix everything at the end, it's a lost cause for everyone -- the ESCO and the owner."

We turned to Bruce Colburn, chief operating officer at EPS Capital Corp., who has both taken part on many college review committees selecting ESCOs and served at an ESCO, for advice on how colleges can set up a successful partnership from the beginning -- including what to consider in the RFP, the selection process, and the contract.

The Right RFP

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