Louisiana Energy Partners (LAEP), a partnership between Bernhard LLC and Johnson Controls Inc., and the University of New Orleans (UNO) announced today a 25-year Energy-as-a-Service (EaaS) partnership to renew UNO’s campus energy infrastructure, reduce campus Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions, and provide additional capital to advance UNO’s core academic and research mission. Within UNO’s existing operating budget, the University will generate $2.1 million of annual utility cost savings while addressing nearly $9 million of deferred maintenance during the lifetime of the partnership.
“We are thrilled to partner with LAEP to bolster our energy infrastructure and provide the most sustainable campus for future generations of Privateers,” said UNO President John Nicklow. “The upgrades our campus will receive are near-term solutions that embrace our goals of being more sustainable and proactive in combating climate change and simultaneously create a more comfortable and reliable environment for students and employees.
“A more sustainable campus and the infrastructure upgrades will also boost capabilities and add breadth to our nationally-recognized education and research programs. Students and faculty researchers will have the opportunity to learn and improve understanding of sustainable energy practices through this partnership.”
UNO’s 200-acre lakefront campus in New Orleans will see $27 million of upfront energy infrastructure and building improvements deployed within the first 24 months of the partnership. These improvements include a 1.8 MWdc solar array, renewal of the campus chilled water systems, upgrading building assets including air handling systems, efficiency improvements to lighting and building water systems, and retro-commissioning of building automation systems. In addition, UNO will transfer operations and maintenance (O&M) risk of their campus energy infrastructure to Bernhard’s team of experts.
“This partnership is a great victory not only for UNO, but for the entire UL System,” said Dr. Jim Henderson, President and CEO of the University of Louisiana System. “We have been exploring our options to address deferred maintenance and offer the best facilities possible for our students, faculty, and staff. We view this as a key differentiator in the increasingly competitive landscape in higher education. UNO is the System’s initial partner and we look forward to exploring similar agreements with our other eight member institutions. I want to commend Dr. Nicklow and his staff for the work they have done to make this possible.”
The University of New Orleans has fully embraced evolving the University campus to better address changing trends in sustainability, climate change, and the physical characteristics of New Orleans and the surrounding area. The foundation of this EaaS partnership was built on dramatically enhancing the sustainability efforts of the University. Bernhard will utilize cutting-edge measurement and verification through the Bernhard Connect® platform for accurate monitoring of energy savings to ensure savings are sustained throughout the lifetime of the contract. Through the campus improvements to be completed early in the project, LAEP estimates a 27% reduction of electricity consumption, 18% less water consumption, and 19% less natural gas consumption.
"With this holistic infrastructure upgrade, UNO has demonstrated its commitment to the health and wellness of its community as well as the planet,” said Jason Fritsche, business development leader at Johnson Controls. “In pursuing campus-wide energy efficiency through this project, UNO will see benefits to its bottom line all while creating a healthier and more productive campus environment for generations to come.”
Along with these infrastructure upgrades, UNO will receive upfront capital to support its core mission. As the only public, urban-serving research university in Louisiana, the campus is devoted to offering a variety of world-class, research-based programs, advancing shared knowledge and adding to the region's industry, culture and economy.
“We are incredibly pleased at the partnership we were able to develop with UNO offering significant campus upgrades with additional capital for the University’s critical academic and research mission,” said David Amoss, Bernhard Development Vice President. “We fully expect these improvements to help UNO grow as a true champion of sustainability within higher education. Many people worked diligently on this partnership for the past 18 months, and this outcome was well worth the wait.”
LAEP was supported in the transaction by a group of advisors, including Fishman Haygood LLP, and Haynie and Associates. Other supporting advisors included Sisung Securities Corporation, M&E Consulting Inc., DeCuir Clark and Adams, LLP, Jones Walker LLP, and Baker Donelson.