Representatives of Siemens Government Technologies walked the authority through the nuts and bolts of the program Wednesday.
The contracts involve an upfront energy feasibility analysis to determine the scope of potential savings and need for capital expenditures. The authority would then hire a vendor that would guarantee energy savings.
Doug Edwards, an account executive with Siemens, said the system provides a means of capital procurement, which allows public housing authorities to move forward with a series of capital projects under a single contract.
Typically, the energy performance contracts range from 12-20 years creating a long-term relationship for consultation on future building, operational and maintenance plans.
George Buchanan, national program manager for Siemens, based out of Atlanta, said that in addition to bringing in a complete line of energy efficient equipment, the savings generated by the program would allow the authority to reallocate as much as 50 percent of its capital budget for other things such as curb appeal.
Buchanan also stressed that the project could provide some jobs, both for residents of housing authority properties, and local mechanics, electricians and plumbers. “There’s a pretty high bar to participate,” Buchanan said.
For example, if the contract stipulates that 600 new water heaters need to be installed in a specific amount of time, a smaller local contractor might not be able to meet the requirement. “In that case, we encourage the contractor to use local sub-contractors,” Buchanan said.
The standardization of inventory also allows for single source warranty accountability,” Buchanan said. “That’s us.”
The authority agreed to look at other cities where Siemens has done similar work, including Augusta and Asheville, while authorizing Executive Director Sandra Hudson to start the process of developing a request for proposals since the contracts would be subject to competitive bids.
Based on preliminary estimates of annual savings, Buchanan said the authority could afford to finance the acquisition of $4 million to $5 million in new energy efficient equipment and pay for it out of the savings.
If at the end of a year, the guaranteed savings had not been realized, Siemens, or other contractor, would then write a check to the housing authority for the difference.
Asked how many times the savings guarantee had not been met, Buchanan said, “In public housing zero. In other markets we have written checks.”
Buchanan suggested that if Siemens were to get the contract, it could complete the initial phase of the energy audit within a six month period of time. It would then take another eight to 10 months to completely swap out equipment like shower heads, toilets, water heaters and the like.