The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) on March 22 announced that 30 of its federal buildings, totaling nearly 117 million square feet, are participating in a challenge to achieve deep energy savings. The Deep Retrofit Challenge is asking energy service companies to make these buildings more energy efficient using energy service performance contracts (ESPCs). Retrofit projects at these buildings will contribute to the goals of a presidential memorandum on implementing energy savings projects and performance-based contracting. In December 2011, President Obama directed federal agencies to enter into at least $2 billion in performance-based contracts over the next two years to achieve substantial energy savings and create jobs.

At no net cost to taxpayers, ESPCs retrofit buildings for guaranteed greater energy performance. The retrofit projects are paid for through energy savings over time. An ESPC is an agreement between a federal agency and an energy service company. The energy service company conducts a comprehensive energy audit for the federal facility and identifies improvements to save energy. Sixteen energy services companies are pre-approved by and under contract with DOE to bid on these projects. The energy service companies consult with GSA on the designs, construct projects that meet GSA's needs, and arrange the necessary funding. And, the energy service company guarantees that the improvements will generate energy cost savings sufficient to pay for the project over the term of the contract. After the capital is paid back, any additional cost savings accrue to GSA. See the GSA press release.