Schneider Electric recently announced that it will implement a $7.9 million energy savings performance contract (ESPC) with the city of Denison, Texas, to upgrade and retrofit existing equipment and reduce operational costs in the city’s wastewater treatment plant and other municipal buildings. The project, which is anticipated to be complete in the spring of 2013, will enable the city to implement long-term energy efficiency in its facilities, while saving approximately 20% of its annual energy costs over the 15-year term of the contract.

Much of the performance contract project will focus on the Denison Wastewater Treatment Plant, which was challenged to operate at peak efficiency levels as a result of outdated equipment. Schneider Electric is working with the city and its design engineers to improve the aeration basin and aerobic digester, install new fine bubble diffusion grids, replace blowers and pumps, and perform other upgrades to enable the plant to operate at its full potential, while improving processes and efficiency. When the project is complete, operators will be able to shut down parts of the basin that are not needed, allowing sections to be drained for routine maintenance — a task that has not been possible for 15 years — as well as increasing the overall dependability of the plant.

In addition to the project at the wastewater treatment plant, the performance contract will also support improvements, including the addition of a central energy management system (EMS) in 11 city buildings including city hall, the community center, Raynal Annex Building, the city library, Waterloo Pool, service center, police station, three fire stations, and an indoor batting facility. Other upgrades made throughout the city buildings include upgrades to aging HVAC equipment and retrofits from T12 to T8 lighting fixtures.

The performance contract will allow the city to leverage the operational savings from the new, more efficient equipment to pay for almost half of the project, while reducing its energy use by 2.1 million kilowatt hours, which is equivalent to taking 240 cars off the road annually. In addition to utilizing savings achieved through the project, the city received a $64,000 grant from ONCOR, the largest regulated electric delivery and transmission provider in the State of Texas, to fund facility retrofits.

“Schneider Electric worked closely with us to identify a cost-effective way to make upgrades in our municipal buildings through the creative and low-risk funding mechanism of an energy savings performance contract,” said Mayor Jared Johnson. “Once the project is complete, the performance contract guarantees that the city will save enough on utility bills to pay for almost half of the cost of the improvements. If those savings aren’t met, Schneider Electric will pay the difference.”

In the past 20 years, Schneider Electric has successfully implemented over 450 ESPCs across the nation and helped clients around the world save close to $1 billion. An ESPC helps publicly-funded entities make capital improvements over longer payback periods. Funded by third-party financing, an ESPC offers many long-term benefits such as improved facility efficiency, occupant comfort, financial management and environmental protection. Typically, new, more efficient equipment and upgraded facility automation systems maximize energy efficiency and generate utility savings.

“Through this performance contract, we are working closely with the city of Denison and their consulting engineering firm to address long-standing, critical wastewater treatment plant maintenance issues while helping the city realize their vision of long-term efficiency,” said James Potach, senior vice president, Energy Solutions, Schneider Electric. “In addition to creating an advanced plant with improved reliability and functionality that better meets the needs of the city and its citizens, this long-term partnership between Schneider Electric and the city of Denison allows the city to reap the benefits of Schneider Electric’s expertise in energy management for years to come.”