Case Study: Arizona State University

Contract Types

Energy Savings Performance Contract

Design/Build Contract

Power Purchase Agreement

Qualified Management Agreement

Professional Services Agreement

Master Strategic Alliance Agreement for Climate Neutrality

Beginning with a competitive process in 1999, Arizona State University (ASU) and Ameresco1 began an elaborate, successful and continuous comprehensive energy partnership that continues to flourish. The initial project focused on energy saving opportunities at the then 6.3 million square foot Tempe campus to improve the University’s energy consumption and infrastructure without additional capital outlay. The partnership has since expanded, resulting in successful multi-year, multi-phased, all-encompassing projects at all four main campuses and a Research Park spread throughout the metropolitan Phoenix area, including comprehensive energy retrofits and replacements, onsite generation, renewable energy installations, lighting, cooling tower replacement, boiler and burner replacement, combined heat and power plant design and construction, central plant design and construction, utility distribution system, sub-metering, motors and VAVs, Energy Manager, ongoing commissioning agents, and custom energy information monitoring systems.

Since the beginning of our partnership, Ameresco’s responsibilities have included detailed facility and energy analyses, and the design and construction management of facility and infrastructure upgrades that have resulted in more than $8 million of annual savings at over 11 million square feet of University infrastructure. Through this partnership, ASU has achieved an annual cost savings of over $8 million, saving 98.5 gigawatt hours of electricity, 1.4 million therms of natural gas, significantly reducing its annual energy usage, and reducing its carbon footprint by over 77,247 metric tons of CO2 annually–equivalent to 23 percent of the University’s total carbon footprint.2 As part of a broader commitment of attaining institutional sustainability and a University-wide goal of zero net greenhouse gas emissions, in May 2013 ASU selected Ameresco as its Strategic Business Partner to become climate neutral by 2025 (2035, including transportation).

Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Savings


kWh annaully


therms annually


metric tons of CO2 annually

Projects that have been successfully implemented throughout this partnership include, but are not limited to, the design and installation of an 8 MW combined heat and power facility; chiller replacement; cooling towers; boilers; steam distribution system upgrades; water treatment improvements; thermal storage modifications; building automation and control system installation; lighting and exist sign replacements; re-design of HVAC air handlers; motors; laboratory fume hood and supply air upgrades; outside air control measures; energy information system design and implementation; economic optimization dispatch model; and solar photovoltaic installations. The majority of this work was completed during regular school sessions in a very active university with minimal disruption to daily campus operations.

Ameresco has worked with the University to provide internships, and ultimately jobs, for ten engineers, finance personnel and construction managers. We support the ASU School of Engineering with guest lecturers and class project support, provide financial and manpower donations for events such as homecoming and ASU Foundation activities, and have developed a world class energy management and retro-commissioning team focused on the occupants’ comfrot and buildings’ energy consumption.

Ameresco provided both solar PV array and solar thermal solutions to the ASU Sun Devil Fitness Center to provide renewable energy back to the campus.

Services Provided

Energy Service Performance Contracts (ESPC)

To date, Ameresco has completed two energy service performance (ESPC) contracts. In addition to the over $8 million in annual energy savings, these ESPC contracts have yielded ASU tremendous benefits, including, but not limited to enabling replacement of equipment nearing or beyond its useful lifecycle, reducing deferred capital and maintenance burden, improving the reliability and performance of equipment and reducing the annual production of GHG emissions.