Case Study: Performance Contracting

Kentucky Community and Technical College System


Over 4 Million Square Feet of Infrastructure Improvements Adds Up to Substantial Savings

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), an agency that supports sixteen regional colleges over 70 campuses, partnered with CMTA for a multi-phase, multi-campus renovation and energy upgrade project encompassing 132 buildings, over 4,100,00 square feet. Robust, long-term solutions featuring complete HVAC system replacements, controls systems, and comprehensive LED lighting have been implemented to address aging infrastructure and rising utility costs. CMTA won the 2022 First Place ASHRAE Technology Award in the Educational Facilities category for our thorough commissioning work for this multi-campus system.

The Challenges

  • Replace aging infrastructure and address years of deferred maintenance
  • Retrofit or replace 100% of lighting with LED
  • Replace or integrate obsolete and legacy DDC Controls to a standard front-end interface
  • Fund the project 100% by savings over a 14 year term
  • Renovate HVAC, controls, lighting and plumbing systems with no interruption to the academic semester
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We see these buildings everyday and consistently find issues and places for improvements with control. This was the first building in all of our experience where advanced control strategies had been implemented, and implemented correctly. Created with Sketch.

Kevin Fuller, Executive Vice President

Interval Data Systems, Inc.

The Solutions

KCTCS encompasses the second largest area of public buildings in the commonwealth of Kentucky. With tight operational budgets and most capital projects dedicated to new building construction, KCTCS turned to CMTA, with Guaranteed Energy Savings Performance Contracting utilized as a mechanism for funding facility improvements. Thus far CMTA has partnered with KCTCS on nine college projects; five have been completed with at least a year of post-project energy performance documented. 

CMTA has raised the bar in energy project delivery for KCTCS by delivering the most thorough and far-reaching scopes possible. Fifteen buildings have received major or complete system replacements so far. By favoring full system renovations and complete equipment replacements over trendy energy “widgets,” CMTA has driven energy consumption as low as possible and renewed the life cycle of KCTCS buildings. HVAC improvements have ranged from the replacement of AHUs and VAV terminal units to entire chiller and boiler plant replacements. 

DDC Controls infrastructure has been one point of emphasis. Legacy control systems with failed components and limited adjustability plagued various campuses and severely hindered energy performance. KCTCS has high expectations for building automation. CMTA developed a dedicated implementation plan headed by professional engineers, commissioning experts and controls specialists to directly coordinate with KCTCS through all phases of the project, audit through warranty. By not relying on a low bidder’s DDC controls contractor to specify and design the controls, CMTA ensured system architecture conformed with KCTCS' standards and exceeded energy savings performance expectations.

Other renovations have included LED lighting upgrades and occupancy sensor and daylighting additions at all buildings, water efficiency upgrades to low-flow fixtures across all facilities, and computer power management for over 3,000 campus computers.

Post-Project Technical Energy Support Services

At the request of KCTCS, CMTA has provided ongoing technical support service at the conclusion of the initial projects' construction phases. CMTA leverages Kentucky's state building data analytics platform, Commonwealth Energy Management and Control System (CEMCS), to seek out additional building optimization opportunities and identify building system issues before they become energy or comfort problems for building managers and occupants. 

This technical support service has been rolled out to five campuses within KCTCS for 76 buildings so far. Over the course of two years, a total of 124 additional energy conservation measures have been analyzed and implemented. CMTA has identified at least $418,000 in savings with minimal to zero costs for KCTCS campuses through this service.

These savings have come in the form of coordinated building and class schedules, optimized setpoints and tuned control sequences, repairs to systems outside the original energy project scope, and checks for utility billing errors. Savings continue to grow as additional buildings have been added to the program.

The Results

With these significant infrastructure renovations, KCTCS has so far received financial benefits to the tune of $3,800,000 via energy and operational savings. This means that the project is generating positive cash flow each year even after debt service payments are factored in. The colleges are realizing an average annual reduction of 67 cents per square foot across all campuses; some buildings have cost reductions beyond 60%.

Through the construction and post-construction periods and into CEMCS commissioning, the energy usage intensity (EUI) for all KCTCS colleges has continually decreased from the pre-construction baseline. The average EUI reduction from pre-construction to the continual commissioning phase, according to CEMCS findings, is 7.5.

Since CMTA was selected as an energy partner by KCTCS in 2015, energy costs have been reduced over the entire college system by 35%. This number is expected to continue increasing as more colleges enter the post-construction and CEMCS support service stages.

KCTCS Energy Use

What does this data mean?
Baseline: The annual energy consumption before the project
Guaranteed: CMTA's guaranteed energy use for the client post-project
Actual: The measured energy use after the project