Case Study: Performance Contracting

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and State Office Building

Frankfort, KentuckyCommonwealth of Kentucky

Central Heating Plant Decentralization Producing Substantial Saving for Years to Come

Located in downtown Frankfort, Kentucky, the Transportation Cabinet Office Building (TCOB) and the State Office Building (SOB) provide over 800,000 square feet of office space for the Commonwealth. When constructed in 2004, the TCOB included a complex hot water heating system in the central utility plant with capacity to heat an additional two million square feet of future office space. However, plans for the future office space changed and it was never constructed, leaving the State with an over-sized, inefficient, and complex heating plant.

The Challenges

  • Over-sized, inefficient, and complex center heating plant
  • Out of business boiler manufacturer leaves owner with little O&M options
  • Underfloor Variable Air Volume air distribution systems that were failing
  • Office building plagued with high humidity levels and hot offices
  • Renovating major infrastructure in occupied buildings
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I’ve been genuinely impressed by the ability of CMTA to remedy complications and meet our needs during construction with a high standard of excellence. I’ve never worked with a team that strives so hard to leave something in better condition than they found it. Created with Sketch.

Mitch Gathof

Facilities Mechanical Maintenance & Operations Manager

The Solutions

CMTA has completed over 10 ESPC projects with the Commonwealth of Kentucky Department of Finance. However, this project is centered in the Capitol city of Frankfort, with all eyes on both CMTA and the Finance Cabinet, this project needed to run smoothly. CMTA worked closely with the building personnel and the agencies occupying the space to develop a scope of work that not only saved energy and operational costs, but also resolved occupant comfort issues and difficulties associated with the existing heating plant. High efficiency condensing boilers were installed in each building on campus to eliminate the existing central heating plant and simplify the campus heating system. Approximately 1,500 new underfloor supply air terminal units were installed to restore HVAC systems operation, and a comprehensive campus wide LED lighting upgrade was completed. All of these improvements were fully funded from savings.

CMTA was able to resolve one of the largest occupant comfort issues for the Commonwealth by replacing 1,500 nonoperational underfloor terminal boxes. This scope of work was previously pursued by the State but cost far exceeded budget. CMTA completed this previously cost prohibitive undertaking by partnering with Price Industries to develop a custom plug and play retrofit solution that reduced both installation and equipment cost. After installation was complete and the controls system modified, zone temperatures were immediately brought under control and fan energy substantially reduced. Renovating this 450,000 square foot office building with a cost-effective solution is truly a win-win for the Commonwealth, the Kentucky Taxpayers, and especially the employees occupying the building.

The reduced natural gas consumption resulting from the heating plant decentralization was going to cause the facilities to be switched to a less favorable utility rate. To offset this, CMTA negotiated the regulatory requirements, designed and installed over 2,600 feet of natural gas piping from the existing CUP to each new boiler room across the campus. This piping placed all campus gas usage on one meter, allowing all the campus buildings to take advantage of the lower cost utility rate. This level of infrastructure improvements would be cost prohibitive under any other procurement method. However, careful planning and coordination with existing utilities, geotechnical research, and a competitive bid process allowed CMTA to offer significant infrastructure improvements to the Commonwealth while providing substantial monetary savings. This approach allows CMTA to find scope that other ESCO providers cannot. Real utility savings tied with CMTA’s “down to earth” approach allowed this major Scope of work to have a standalone ROI of less than 6 years.  

A complete DDC controls upgrade was also completed on the 40,000 square foot Annex building. This replaced the existing pneumatic controls system that left the facility plagued with high humidity levels and hot offices. This upgrade also included supply diffuser replacement to improve air flow, ventilation and occupant comfort. Work is ongoing, however building comfort levels have already been drastically improved with the major work completed to date.

Substantial Kitchen Exhaust System Savings

CMTA installed a new kitchen exhaust system that included a new roof mounted exhaust fan and variable speed hood controls. This replaced an overly complex and failing 20-year-old exhaust system that included an expensive pollution abatement system. The new rooftop exhaust location eliminated the need for such a complex system and reduced fan energy by 40hp. Couple this with eliminating the pollution abatement system and this Energy Conservation Measure is expected to save over $24,000 annually in energy and operational costs.

The Results

While this project is still under construction, data is already showing drastic system improvements throughout the facilities. CMTA has done it again with this project leveraging the Energy Savings Performance Contracting model to provide major infrastructure improvements, typically only found in traditional bid spec work. This brings true value to our clients and allows the systems installed to more than pay for themselves over their lifespan.

Kentucky State Office Buildings 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