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Energy Performance Contract Launch

New energy efficient HVAC equipment for Emily Griffith.
New energy efficient HVAC equipment headed for the roof of Emily Griffith.

January 12th, 2021

Denver Public Schools and McKinstry Launch Energy Performance Contract Project to improve learning environments and student and staff comfort while reducing utility and operations costs at more than two dozen school buildings.

McKinstry and Denver Public Schools, in consultation with the Colorado Energy Office, embarked on an Energy Performance Contract (EPC) project in January 2019 that is providing facility upgrades by capitalizing on utility and operational cost savings. The project includes upgrades at 27 schools, totaling more than 3.8 million square feet, to improve the learning environment, address maintenance challenges, reduce utility costs through efficiency improvements, and fund capital upgrades. Check out a video of a photovoltaic installation.

As part of this EPC project, McKinstry, a national leader in designing, constructing, operating and maintaining high-performing buildings, will guarantee savings from the work. It also includes rooftop solar installations at 14 schools, which will generate electricity and help the district meet its sustainability goals in a fiscally responsible manner.

Solar panels ready for installation at JFK High School

Solar panels ready for installation at JFK High School

“Because this project is fully funded through guaranteed savings, we are able to address critical improvements in our schools,” said Trena Marsal, Executive Director of Facilities for Denver Public Schools. “Our overall goal is to improve the quality of the learning environment for our students and staff to ensure that we meet our vision of ‘Every Child Succeeds.’ All told, this project will enhance the educational environment for more than 15,000 students and 500 staff.”

With construction 80% complete, McKinstry and Denver Public School’s Office of Sustainability are kicking off the student and staff engagement portion of the project. McKinstry’s powerED program challenges building occupants to become active contributors to reduce energy use and increase sustainability in their schools. PowerED empowers students and staff to improve their facilities, engages them through a campaign called People.Power.Planet, and provides students resources to explore career-related skills. 

At each building, powerED will be led by site champions through extra-curricular activities that complement current initiatives. The overall goals of this program are to improve comfort, increase energy efficiency, and increase sustainability engagement and awareness. In the background, the program is collaborating with DPS facilities teams to ensure operational optimization of mechanical systems in schools and leverage an energy tracking dashboard that can also be utilized in the classroom. 

The entire project is the result of a Technical Energy Audit completed early in 2020, which included a thorough evaluation of capital retrofits, utility efficiency measures, solar and renewable energy options and opportunities for improving occupant comfort. The upgrades are expected to provide nearly $1.5 million in annual cost savings as well as an estimated $215,000 in utility rebates.

“We’re thrilled to expand our work with Denver Public Schools and once again serve as a trusted partner in modernizing their facilities to offer the best educational environment possible,” said Leslie Larocque, McKinstry’s Vice President, Energy & Technical Services for the Mountain Regions. “This project will provide a healthier, more comfortable classroom learning environment for students, while also providing up to five megawatts of solar energy to reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by almost 10,000 tons.

Since Colorado established its Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) program in the mid-1990s, 152 public jurisdictions – including 58 school districts – have worked with energy services companies, like McKinstry, to save almost $35 million in annual utility costs, 228 million kWh of electricity and more than 507 million gallons of water. 

“As of May 2020, a total of 221 projects have improved the performance and efficiency of public buildings, encompassing 90 million square feet and funding over $654 million of improvements across the State of Colorado,” said DeLynne Southern, Technical Specialist with the Colorado Energy Office.

McKinstry has extensive experience serving K-12 school districts across the country. To date, the company has completed nearly 600 K-12 energy projects for more than 450 school districts nationwide.

About McKinstry

McKinstry is a national leader in designing, constructing, operating and maintaining high-performing buildings. From new construction and ongoing operations to adaptive reuse and energy retrofits, the company provides a single point of accountability across the entire building lifecycle. McKinstry focuses on people and outcomes to ensure the built environment serves owners, operators and occupants alike. McKinstry is your trusted partner for the life of your building.

Buildings part of Energy Performance Contract:

Abraham Lincoln High School                             

Ashley Elementary                           

Beach Court Elementary                                     

Castro Elementary                             

Cheltenham Elementary                                     

Denver School of the Arts

Eagleton Elementary                                         

East High School                               

Emily Griffith Campus                                        

Garden Place Elementary                   

Gilpin Elementary (Denver Language School)       

Hallett Elementary                             

Harrington Elementary                                     

Henry Middle School

Joe Shoemaker Elementary                               

Lake Middle School                             

Manual High School                                          

Marrama Elementary                          

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Early College               

Maxwell Elementary                           

Mitchell (DSST: Cole Middle School)                    

North High School                             

Oakland Elementary                                         

Philips (Odyssey School of Denver)

Schmitt Elementary                                         

Valverde Elementary             

West High School