Estimating customer electricity and fuel savings from projects installed by the US ESCO industry

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Journal Article

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The US energy service company (ESCO) industry has a well-established track record of delivering substantial energy and dollar savings in the public and institutional facilities sector, typically through the use of energy savings performance contracts (ESPC). The ESCO industry has the opportunity to play an important role in achieving demand-side energy efficiency under the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Clean Power Plan. The EPA considered demand-side energy efficiency as a compliance strategy for proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards under section 111 (d) of the Clean Air Act. To date, there has been little or no research in the public domain to estimate electricity or fuel savings for the entire US ESCO industry. Estimating these savings levels is a foundational step in order to determine total avoided GHG emissions from demand-side energy efficiency measures installed by US ESCOs. We find that on average, 66 % of total energy savings are in the form of electricity, but that in more comprehensive projects, almost 50 % of savings are produced from fuel resources. Overall, we estimate that active US ESCO industry projects generated about 34 TWh of electricity savings in 2012. About 15 TWh of these electricity savings were for municipal, local, and state government facilities; universities/colleges; K-12 schools; and healthcare (MUSH) facilities customers who did not rely on utility customer-funded energy efficiency programs. We extend the electricity analysis to estimate total energy savings and find that the US ESCO industry saved ∼224 million MMBtu in 2012 or ∼1 % of the total US commercial building energy consumption.


Energy Efficiency



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