Case Study: Performance Contracting

Kentucky Community and Technical College System


2.5 Million Square Feet of Infrastructure Improvements, and Counting!

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), an agency that supports sixteen regional colleges, has partnered with CMTA for a multi-phase, multi-campus renovation and energy upgrade project. Robust, long-term solutions featuring complete HVAC system replacements, controls systems, and comprehensive LED lighting are addressing aging infrastructure and rising utility costs.

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

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) is responsible for managing the infrastructure needs for sixteen regional colleges across Kentucky. As the second-largest owner of public buildings in the state, managing the life-cycle of buildings, their infrastructure and associated operational cost is no small undertaking. With tight operational budgets, and most capital projects dedicated to new building construction, KCTCS has turned to Guaranteed Energy Savings Performance Contracting as a mechanism for funding facility improvements.

CMTA is partnering with KCTCS on the delivery of these Performance Contracting projects. To date, two phases of projects (four colleges with fourteen campuses) have been completed with at least a year of post-project energy performance documented. As of publishing, CMTA is kicking off construction of an additional phase of projects covering four more colleges (1.8 million additional square feet).

CMTA raises the bar in energy project delivery for KCTCS by taking the approach of delivering the most thorough and far-reaching scopes possible. More than twelve buildings received major or complete system replacements in the first phase. By favoring full system renovations and complete equipment replacements over trendy energy “widgets”, CMTA is driving energy consumption as low as possible and renewing the life cycle of the building. HVAC Improvements range from replacing AHUs and VAV terminal units to entire chiller and boiler plants. Additional scope includes lighting renovations to 100% LED, most with 10-year warranties, water efficiency and computer power management strategies.

DDC Controls infrastructure was another point of emphasis for KCTCS. Legacy control systems with failed components and limited adjustability plagued the college systems 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 the Owner 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 Owner’s standards, exceeded the energy savings performance expectation, and was functionally sound.

Post-Project Technical Energy Support Services

At the request of the Owner, CMTA offered an on-going technical support service at the conclusion of the construction phase. The service leverages a building data analytics platform (CEMCS) to seek out additional building optimization opportunities and identify building system issues before they become energy or comfort problems to building managers and occupants. Over a two-year period, additional energy cost reductions of $272,205 have been achieved over and above the performance guarantees of the original contracts. 

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

The Results

Through these significant infrastructure renovations, KCTCS has received financial benefits to the tune of $3,800,000 via energy and operational savings. Far exceeding the guarantee, by more than $1,100,000 meaning the project is generating positive cash flow each year even after debt service payments are considered. The colleges are realizing an average annual reduction of 67 cents per square foot across all campuses. Some buildings with cost reductions beyond 60%.

The impact of the project performance is far-reaching with benefits being widely felt across KCTCS. From the facility manager’s perspective this means less down time and more resources that can be dedicated to other needs. To building operator it means fewer trouble calls and the ability to remotely monitor buildings at all hours. For the CFO it means an improved bottom line and the refreshing change of an infrastructure project that is actually generating positive cash flow for the college instead of being a drain. To students the result is an improved educational environment and the continued assurance of the exceptional higher-educational value of KCTCS.

The successful partnership between KCTCS and CMTA has led to an on-going commitment to upgrade at least four additional colleges over the next year, bringing total infrastructure investment to $29,000,000 to date.

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