BUFFALO GROVE, Ill. - Siemens Building Technologies Inc. and George Mason University have reached an agreement on a 15-year energy performance contract that will save Virginia's largest state university a minimum of $1 million per year in energy costs.

Performance contracts typically allow a customer to purchase a systems upgrade or service that pays for itself over time, with no upfront costs.

The savings in energy and operating costs fund the building improvements and financing costs over a specified term, and the savings are guaranteed on an annual basis.

The construction phase of the project, which will take 15 months to complete, involves a selective upgrade of the university's HVAC system, including the replacement of boilers for heating and the retrofitting of chillers for cooling water in the AC system.

It also involves the enhancement of the existing energy management and building automation control system to implement faster network speeds and more comprehensive energy saving routines to increase the energy savings and support the ongoing measurement and verification process.

Siemens also is upgrading the university's lighting system by retrofitting or replacing more than 55,000 lamps with more energy-efficient lighting provided by its sister company, Osram Sylvania. The lighting upgrade will save 16 million KWH of electricity each year.

Over the 15-year term of the contract, there will be continual oversight by George Mason and Siemens to implement newer technology as it becomes available.

In addition to the work of upgrading the system, Siemens assisted George Mason in finding a favorable interest rate of 3.81 percent for financing the cost of the project. The savings generated by the upgrades will cover not only the project's cost, but the financing as well.

- compiled by Kyle Gargaro

Publication date: 07/18/2005