City of Beaufort Partners with Johnson Controls for Energy Savings Performance Contract

By Rachel Leber

BEAUFORT, S.C. — The city of Beaufort announced on April 26 that they are partnering with Johnson Controls, based in Milwaukee, to complete a city-wide performance infrastructure and conservation project that will reduce the city’s overall carbon footprint, energy usage and water consumption. The energy savings performance contract (ESPC) is expected to generate $5.4 million in savings over 15 years for the city.

The energy savings performance contract is expected to generate $5.4 million in savings over 15 years for the city. Photo Credit: Johnson Controls

The city-wide performance energy audit and retrofit will begin in July, with a plan to be complete by March 2018, with a budget of $3.1 million. Neal Pugliese, the city of Beaufort’s senior project manager, will be the direct contact working hand-in-hand with Johnson Controls and its subcontractors on the project. The upgrades will be applied to nine city buildings and two parks, according to Kimberly Smith, senior account executive at Johnson Controls, with upgrades being implemented based on both the savings they generate and the priority set by the city based on their scheduling needs. “The goal is to minimize disruptions to Beaufort’s operation and staff while also maximizing savings to the city during the installation period,” said Smith.

The utility and operational savings from the energy retrofits will not only save the city money in the long term, but will also pay for the work that it will take to make these upgrades happen. “The financial arrangement provided by Johnson Controls ensures that the cost of the projects are paid through the energy savings achieved over the contract term,” said William Prokop, city manager of Beaufort in a recent statement. “In the process, we will provide a cleaner, safer environment, reduce energy expenses, reduce our carbon output and accomplish considerable improvements to many of our facilities in a fiscally responsible manner.”

The upgrades and retrofits that are planned for city buildings include new smart building automation systems for upgraded security, lighting and access control systems. Additionally, advanced chilled water systems will be installed to cool buildings more efficiently, and solar photovoltaic panels will be installed to convert sunlight into electricity. Extensive LED lighting retrofits will be implemented citywide, as well as HVAC, electrical and mechanical work being done on buildings across the city, and retrofits for water use and efficiency. Regarding city parks, LED outdoor lighting will be installed for the Waterfront Park, greatly improving the environment for the city’s premier park, according to Smith.

The ESPC is part of the city’s overall long-term plan. The city of Beaufort created a “Civic Master Plan” in 2009, the efforts of which have been ongoing since then. Amongst the 17 priorities listed in the city’s master plan, many of them are of and relating to sustainability, resource efficiency, climate change and natural infrastructure.

The ESPC project is the first major step that Beaufort has taken towards efficiency and sustainability within city facilities, though the city has “worked diligently over the years to maintain the vibrancy and economic viability of the Downtown Commercial Core, historic sites and parks that attract visitors and inspire their residents,” according to Smith.

In addition to the beautification and preservation of its natural resources, another goal of the city’s master plan is to better enable residents to “live locally, with the option of walking or biking to reduce overall dependence on cars,” according to the master plan. In addition, another goal is to establish a green infrastructure of parks and greenways on a local and regional scale. Improvements and upgrades to the city parks are just some of the ways that Johnson Controls will help the city with their overall vision, in addition to the building retrofits and upgrades.