Mayor Chris Beutler today said using energy savings to pay for facility improvements is an innovative way to protect the environment, save energy and promote a cleaner, greener future. A resolution will be introduced at the February 26 City Council meeting that would allow the City to contract with Energy Savings Companies (ESCOs) to guarantee energy savings to pay for upgrades. The Council will hold a public hearing on the resolution and vote March 5.
"Under performance contracting, ESCOs are hired to do three things," said Mayor Beutler. "They analyze existing facilities to understand current energy use and how it can be improved.
They help select the best upgrades and equipment in order to reduce energy, operations and maintenance expenses. Finally, they procure and install the improvements, using the savings from reducing expenses to help pay for the upgrades. ESCOs are being used by the private and public sectors across the nation, and we believe Lincoln can benefit from them as well."
The Nebraska Unicameral has passed legislation in the last few years to allow for the use of ESCOs for State operations as well as for cities, counties and school districts. The City resolution outlines the following conditions under which the City should consider using ESCOs:
The Mayor said ESCOs would be used for larger improvements or purchases that would be financed over several years, such as the replacement of heating and cooling systems, improvements to wastewater facilities or upgrades to street lighting. The City has already conducted preliminary energy audits on most City facilities and the streetlight system, identified improvements and estimated costs and payback periods. Mayor Beutler said ESCOs would help the City make significant progress on three of the five energy strategies in the recently adopted Lincoln Environmental Action Plan.