Federal Mandates Boost Energy-Services Firms’ Business

Honeywell International, Johnson Controls, Ameresco and other energy-services firms are among the companies to likely benefit from President Obama’s focus on climate-change issues, Reuters reports.

The president, in his second inaugural address, made preventing climate change his most prominent policy vow.

The news agency says this is good news for companies that can perform heating and cooling system upgrades, lighting retrofits and other energy-efficiency measures to help federal agencies meet a mandate to cut energy use by the end of this year.

The federal government is the nation’s largest energy consumer, and in late 2009, Obama issued an executive order that set aggressive energy efficiency goals across the federal government. Two years later, President Obama issued a memorandum that he said commits the federal government to spending $2 billion on energy upgrades to its own buildings, using energy savings performance contracts, by 2013.

With less than a year left to reach the $2 billion goal, Reuters says efficiency companies expect to receive several contracts this year.

In October 2012, Honeywell won an $80.6 million energy-efficiency contract at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma, which will be the Air Force’s largest domestic energy retrofit funded through guaranteed savings. The upgrades are expected to save $6.4 million the first year after the work is complete and more than $170 million over 20 years.

In December 2012, Ameresco completed the first phase of a $28 million energy savings project with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility, located on Virginia’s eastern shore. Performed under the DOE’s Energy Savings Performance Contract Program, the first phase is projected to reduce energy intensity by 35 percent. ESPCs are a key plank of the Obama administration’s directive to reduce energy costs in agency facilities.

Ameresco is currently engaged in building and deploying a $13 million second phase to the project, which includes a geothermal installation projected for completion in 2013.

Other companies that may benefit from federal projects, according to Reuters, include United Technologies Corp’s Noresco unit, Clark Energy Group, Siemens and Schneider Electric.

In December 2012, Seimens completed work on the US Army’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) system at White Sands Missile Range, a 4.1 MW installation that will generate about 10 million kWh of electricity annually and provide an estimated annual savings of $930,000. The $16.8 million solar PV system was the primary component of an energy savings performance contract implemented by the Building Technologies Division of Siemens Industry.

Reuters says smaller companies — including Acuity Brands, Digital Lumens and Optimum Energy — that supply equipment or software to the project developers are also likely to benefit from federal project, according to Aditya Ranade, who leads the sustainable building materials team at Lux Research.

Digital Lumens and Acuity Brands provide LED and lighting systems, while Optimum Energy a cloud-based platform to make HVAC systems more energy-efficient.

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