Regional Super ESPC Saves Energy and Dollars at NASA Johnson Space Center

Space Shuttle Endeavour, 2002

The NASA Johnson Space Flight Center in Houston is well known for its achievements in the U.S. space program (this 2002 photo shows the Space Shuttle Endeavour on its way to the International Space Station).


NASA will save approximately $43 million in facility operations costs over the next 23 years at the Johnson Space Flight Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas, thanks to the largest delivery order signed to date under a Regional Super Energy Savings Performance Contract (Super ESPC). The U. S. Department of Energy's Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) instituted these special Regional Super ESPCs to streamline the financing process for Federal agencies.

The project calls for many new and improved energy and water efficiency measures that bring about energy, water, and cost savings now and for many years to come. A delivery order was issued to Honeywell in February 1999 under a FEMP Super ESPC awarded in July 1998. Under the terms of this delivery order, Honeywell is installing energy-efficient lighting and compressed-air systems; implementing measures to reduce water consumption; and improving air-conditioning and lighting control systems in more than 140 buildings at JSC, the Sonny Carter Training Facility, and Ellington Field in Houston. Honeywell's initial investment of about $20 million should save nearly $2 million a year in energy and water costs.

As JSC begins realizing these cost savings, Honeywell will receive a portion of them in payment for its investment. Additional investment and savings, through follow-up delivery orders, are also possible over the next several years.


The project was originally designed to be carried out in phases under multiple contract awards. Eventually, however, the project team decided to make use of a FEMP Super ESPC and worked through DOE's Denver Regional Office. They combined the phases under one delivery order for the entire project. These region-based Super ESPCs allow agencies to contract with competitively selected energy service companies (ESCOs) in their region for a variety of energy and water efficiency services. These contracts also include maintenance, which is usually done by the ESCO.

Project Summary

Honeywell staff worked closely with JSC's Energy Management Team at the Houston site to identify dozens of potential energy and water conservation measures and improvements. The JSC-Honeywell team then determined the feasibility of these measures, estimated their potential long-term savings, and prepared a guaranteed savings proposal.

The project team looked to FEMP to help verify calculated savings, validate proposed measurement and verification methods, and confirm price schedules.

Working closely with the JSC-Honeywell team, FEMP staff validated the guaranteed savings proposal. One unexpected, but not unusual, result occurred when the FEMP/JSC/ Honeywell team identified more than $1 million worth of additional operations and maintenance savings. These savings came about because Honeywell would manage the new building control system, so an existing building management contract could be cancelled. The savings were applied to the contract at no additional cost to JSC. The result was a win-win situation for all participants.

Lessons learned

FEMP's review of the technical proposal and support during negotiations allowed JSC to make the award quickly and confidently, thereby shaving several weeks off the process. JSC should realize about $40,000 in energy savings each week.

Quality assurance

Measurement and verification (M&V) of energy savings are negotiated as part of the delivery order. Honeywell's M&V activities concentrated on commissioning and first-year performance. Honeywell has also placed a technical resource manager on the site for the first five years of the contract to ensure that the new equipment is operating effectively and to help develop new energy-saving measures for follow-up delivery orders.