U.S. Department of Energy and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab release updated tool to help state and local governments implement energy savings performance contracts and reap the benefits of energy efficiency
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (Berkeley Lab) have released eProject eXpress (ePX), which provides a streamlined, tailored pathway for state and local governments to document, track, and demonstrate the ongoing value of their energy project retrofits. Leveraging the established eProject Builder (ePB) platform – an online energy project data management system that has transformed how energy retrofits are developed, tracked, and reported – ePX unlocks new capabilities to meet the unique data management and reporting needs of the municipal and state governments, universities and colleges, schools, and hospitals (MUSH) market. Through its customized, streamlined, and secure functionality, ePX can significantly reduce MUSH market customers’ costs and staff time associated with tracking project data and contract agreements. States can also leverage ePX to demonstrate how taxpayer dollars are being spent and illustrate how they are saving energy and employing local workers.
Berkeley Lab and the DOE’s Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs Office (WIP) are offering a webinar to introduce stakeholders to ePX on Tuesday July 13, 12pm PDT / 3pm EDT. Register for free at https://register.gotowebinar.
The new suite of data entry and tracking features reinforce and illustrate the value and benefits from Energy Savings Performance Contracting (ESPC), which can help state and local governments unlock the estimated $66-208 billion of facility energy retrofit investment opportunity remaining within the MUSH market.
“eProject eXpress is a powerful tool for state and local governments to demonstrate the impact of energy savings performance contracts, which have already saved billions of public dollars for communities across the country,” said AnnaMaria Garcia, the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency at DOE. “Tracking project results and contract documents can be burdensome for any organization. ePX provides a free, secure, streamlined system that enables project participants and their energy service companies to consistently preserve and analyze information for a single project or for their entire portfolio of energy projects in perpetuity.”
The new ePX module provides ease of use and flexibility in entering, tracking, and reporting projects in the ePB system, focusing on the data needs most requested by state and local governments. Its streamlined nature and user-friendliness can help reduce staff time and costs to maintain state data collection systems. Secure web-based storage and the ability to easily upload and access key project documents further reduces the burden on state and local governments facing staff turnover. ePX also supports the execution of measurement and verification plans, helping to ensure energy savings are achieved.
ePX offers new customizable fields that agencies can use to document project-related metrics such as environmental benefits, jobs, or other key metrics of their choosing. By enabling focused reporting on data most needed to meet reporting requirements, like audits, project performance for budget requests, and mandatory reports to a governor or legislature, ePX helps states “make the case” to continue to fund and expand ESPC programs. New state-level “rollup reports” provided by ePX further enable users to compare their own program’s results with aggregate project statistics across their state.
“The streamlined ePX is a welcome tool for State Energy Offices and others to track the performance of their ESPCs not only at the project level but also across portfolios at the program level,” stated Rodney Sobin, Senior Program Director at the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO). “Consistent performance tracking and documentation using ePX, including the tool’s new ‘rollup reporting’ feature, can enhance ESPC management and help states to assure Governors, legislators, and the public that ESPCs are delivering taxpayer value and helping achieve state policy objectives, including important environmental and economic goals.”
“eProject eXpress provides a new level of support for fulfilling the needs of state and local units of government to collect, monitor, and report achieved impacts of their guaranteed energy saving performance contract projects and programs,” said Jim Arwood, Executive Director of the Energy Services Coalition (ESC), a leading public private coalition of energy retrofit practitioners. “A number of states have eagerly awaited the release of ePX, and we expect it will prove increasingly valuable to them as they are able to quickly report the results of their energy efficiency achievements year after year.”
“eProject Builder is fundamentally improving the way energy retrofit project data is reported, analyzed, and tracked,” said Tim Unruh, Executive Director of the National Association of Energy Service Companies (NAESCO), the ESCO industry trade association. “ePX will help document the achievements of guaranteed energy savings performance contracting in the MUSH market and significantly benefit the public and institutional customers of these projects.”
ePX and ePB help support the goals of DOE’s new Performance Contracting National Resource Center (PCNRC) – a hub for best practices and solutions for ESPC implemented in the federal and MUSH markets. As part of this initiative, DOE’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) and WIP collaborate with stakeholders to provide technical and financial expertise, training and workforce development, and other resources, like ePX and ePB.
DOE and Berkeley Lab developed ePB to standardize and enable reporting of energy project performance data nationwide. Since its launch in 2014, the R&D 100 award-winning system has seen growing adoption by the $6 billion energy services industry, among others. ePB has been endorsed by NAESCO and ESC. NAESCO relies on ePB as the platform for ESCOs to submit project data when applying for national accreditation, and both organizations partner with Berkeley Lab on outreach and training activities for the system. ePB currently contains information for nearly 2,000 projects across all market segments, and over 1,500 users have been trained to-date. ESC collaborated with Berkeley Lab to collect and implement end-user feedback from government and private practitioners that resulted in the development of ePX.