The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently announced $900 million worth of energy conservation contracts to be awarded to 16 Energy Service Companies (ESCOs). Under the Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPC) program, the contracts will be used to help government facilities achieve mandated energy reduction goals in accordance with the National Energy Conservation Policy Act.
The contracts, awarded to companies such as Honeywell, Inc. and Chevron Energy Solutions Company, will make energy improvements to government buildings and maintain them in exchange for a portion of the generated savings. The Federal Government is the largest single user of energy in the U.S., so the awarding of these energy conservation contracts represents a large step in reducing energy consumption.
The ESPC program aims to save energy, reduce federal energy costs, promote cutting-edge technologies, cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce water use, strengthen national security and create a stronger economy. It will be run through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Hunstville Center.
This news comes on the heels of another energy efficiency announcement, this time on the state level. Pennsylvania recently announced the creation of the Alternative Energy Investment Fund, a $650 million statewide program aimed at reducing energy consumption.
Small businesses can benefit from the creation of the fund with the opening of the $3 million Small Business Energy Efficiency Grant Program- the first program available through the Fund. The program helps small businesses cut costs by improving their energy efficiency.
“Small businesses need to cut their costs now more than ever,” said John Hanger, acting Environmental Protection Secretary. “Firms that commit to using energy wisely will be able to weather the current economic uncertainty, enhance their competitiveness, and be better prepared to manage rising electric rates.”
To qualify for the grant, projects must save at least 20 percent of their annual energy costs and at least $1,000 per year in energy costs. The maximum award for energy efficient small businesses is $25,000.
These energy investments will help create new, green jobs and promote environmentally responsible industries. Although the economy continues to slow, businesses and governments are looking to improve economic conditions by expanding green projects such as alternative energy, recycling and infrastructure improvements.