A Public-Private Path to Better Buildings Dr. Timothy D. Unruh, Executive Director of the National Association of Energy Service Companies (NAESCO)

August 10th, 2020

Market Leadership

As we pass the midpoint of 2020 and both the government and private sector seek to spur economic activity, there is an opportunity for our country to take the bold step of making sustainable investments to rebuild vital parts of our outdated and aging infrastructure. While businesses figure out the right balance of remote and in-person work schedules, property owners and managers are likewise taking stock of how to make their buildings more resilient and energy- and cost-efficient. The rebuilding of America is coming, and the transformation of our buildings should be significant and sustainable. Meanwhile, climate change continues its advance. It’s clear that buildings need to be fortified in the face of droughts, flooding, smoke from fires and other adverse effects of climate change. From an economic and sustainability standpoint, incorporating energy efficient design and equipment upgrades is essential. With comparatively lower energy costs and better functionality and resiliency, energy efficient buildings are substantially more effective, durable, adaptable and, ultimately, valuable than their inefficient counterparts.

The Path Forward

How, then, can our public and private sector institutions achieve this goal? Our members at the National Association of Energy Service Companies (NAESCO) are well-suited for this challenge. We are determined to make 2020 a year of reflection and renewal – a year of trust among our customers, member and non-member energy service companies (ESCOs), policymakers, investors and other stakeholders in the U.S. energy community. As called for in the mission critical facility renewal program we developed with the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE) and others, now is the perfect time for the public and private sectors to join forces. Our country has a strong track record of supporting significant public works packages and major government-backed investment in our built environment that not only supports critical industries, generates new jobs, and opens opportunities for greater private sector investment but also improves overall community well-being. The private sector can bring immense resources to bear. This includes innovative financing options like energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs) and energy-efficiency-as-a-service (EEaaS). The ESCO community and its customers are increasingly reliant upon both mechanisms as a means to reduce energy costs, upgrade equipment, and meet sustainability targets without draining capital budgets or taking on debt. Together, public and private investments can be a potent force for change for our built environment. NAESCO and its members stand ready to help build a sustainable future.

About the Author

Dr. Timothy D. Unruh is the Executive Director of the National Association of Energy Service Companies (NAESCO) and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Renewable Power at the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Office of the U.S. Department of Energy.