ABM Saves Historic Courthouse through ESPC

Saint Joseph County and ABM/City Plumbing and Heating Team standing in front of the beautiful sandstone walls that accent the County Courthouse. From Left to Right: Angie Steinman (Finance Director, Saint Joseph County Michigan), Carey Ross (Owner, City Plumbing and Heating), Tom Hogan (ABM Sales Representative), Ross Fisher (Business Development Director, City Plumbing and Heating), and Teresa Doehring (County Administrator, Saint Joseph County Michigan)

St. Joseph County, Michigan

Historic Saint Joseph County Courthouse sits on West Main street in Centreville, Michigan. The three-storied red brick building with accent trims of sandstone boasts a symbolic 45-foot center tower constructed in the Richardson Romanesque architecture style. Since its construction in 1900 the Saint Joseph County Courthouse has served as the county seat, and the historic building is the center of the county seal. In the 1970s a second building was added known as the courts’ building which now holds the district circuit courthouse. Leaving the administrative offices, county treasurer’s office and Board of Commissioners room in the original St. Joseph County Courthouse.

While the striking exterior of the building is known for its historic beauty, the inside of the building was in need of maintenance and operation updates. The key driver for the project came from the board of commissioners who requested updating the HVAC and lighting systems in addition to proactive upgrades to the historic infrastructure and its aged equipment. St. Joseph County Administrator, Teresa Doehring was tasked with finding an option for these necessary energy-saving updates to the courthouse. Doehring set out to find a cost-effective solution and referred to their current maintenance contractor, City Plumbing and Heating. City Plumbing and Heating, which is part of ABM Franchising Group’s Linc Service franchise network, recommended Doehring to reach out to ABM for an onsite assessment and information on an Energy Performance Contract.

Tom Hogan, Sales Representative from ABM, began working with Doehring and St. Joseph County team. Tom and the ABM team completed an initial audit and based on the scope of work proposed an energy-savings performance contract (ESPC).

When the ESPC was presented to the finance director, it made financial sense to move forward. Never having worked with an ESPC, ABM was a partner in educating St. Joseph County by answering questions and working to guide the board of commissioners through the process. An EPC contract proved to be a cost-effective solution that provided the upgrades needed without having an impact on the county’s general fund budget. Without an EPC the county would have had to cut programs and funds to the community in order to provide the necessary updates.

“The ESPC was a perfect marriage of what ABM provides and what we needed as an organization,’ stated Doehring. ‘It seemed too good to be true. Everything checked out, we checked off all the boxes, and it was a fantastic solution for us”.

With the kickoff complete, ABM has strategically scheduled their work so the courthouse and courts’ buildings would not be impacted by downtime. The primary purpose of the building is to service and provide for the people of St. Joseph County. Working with ABM on the ESPC has allowed the buildings to remain open and operational.

“It should be a showplace, a place that people are proud of, and we continue to make efforts to maintain and renovate. We are providing a service, and we need to be available to provide those services; that’s what this building is for”, said Doehring.

With the focus of serving the public in mind, ABM has designed a communications plan that will keep the board of commissioners and citizens informed. Meetings are scheduled once weekly with the ABM and St. Joseph County project team. The board of commissioners receives monthly project updates which are communicated to the community.

Not only did the ESPC allow for utility and operational costs of the building to be lowered, but it allowed the historic building to continue being the heart of Centreville and maintain its service to the people of St. Joseph County.

Project Stats

Contract Executed: June 27th, 2019

Project State Date: June 28th, 2019

Estimated Completion Date: June 1st, 2020

Audit prior to RFP: Yes

Contract Value: $2.4 Million

Energy Savings: > $2.6 Million

Payback Period: 15 Years

Technologies Used: Building Automation, LED Lighting, Chillers, Boilers, HVAC Armor, Building Envelope