The energy savings are guaranteed. If the savings are not realized you are reimbursed the difference, if you realize more savings than anticipated you get to keep the additional dollars.
Sounds too good to be true - there are some caveats. These are construction contracts with all the risks and responsibilities associated with any project. These are also design/build agreements so make sure there are favorable termination clauses should you not want to pursue the energy conservation measures (ECM's) proposed by the ESCO. You also want to make sure you have a design consultant assist you to assure you get the capital improvements you desire and they are of the quality you need and expect.
Typical ECM's include: HVAC upgrades, lighting improvements, building envelope modifications, automation and energy management control systems, renewable energy systems, peak shaving/load shifting.
Measuring methodologies and verification of the energy savings are also important factors to consider in your ESPC. Federal and State agencies have additional information on these valuable tools to help save energy and money even with limited capital. For more information on these and other green building strategies, we have assembled some valuable links.