Public Sector


El Paso Community College

El Paso Community College

The Opportunity

El Paso Community College is one of the fastest growing community colleges in Texas, serving more than 30,000 students. The college provides for-credit educational programs and real-world learning opportunities to enhance, promote and develop a higher quality of life for the El Paso community. Like many community colleges, El Paso was faced with the challenge of finding a means to modernize their campuses, improve the classroom learning environment, and reduce the campus’ environmental impact, all without raising fees for students.

The Partnership

Starting in 2008, El Paso Community College partnered with the OpTerra Energy Services team to help improve facilities and operations that impact the end-user experience for students, staff, and other faculty. OpTerra was selected to manage El Paso CC’s comprehensive utility and operational efficiency program through a whole systems approach that would accomplish the college’s long term facilities goals and deliver guaranteed savings. Leveraging additional financial expertise, OpTerra helped secure funding for the first phase of work through the Texas State Energy Conservation Office LoanSTAR Program. El Paso Community College was able to make capital improvements to its facilities, reduce costs, and provide better learning environments for both students and staff, all paid by energy savings.

The Impact

El Paso Community College and OpTerra worked in partnership to develop a comprehensive energy savings program scope that hits on far-reaching fiscal and sustainability goals. Through extensive lighting retrofits across campuses, the learning environment and overall campus safety was improved. With guaranteed savings of more than $8.3 million over 15 years and lower long-term maintenance costs of new, efficient equipment, the district is able to redirect funds to other, critical capital projects that impact student life. Over the long-term, these efforts have successfully combined to reduce greenhouse gas emissions district-wide.

The Technical Scope

  • Modern air handling equipment: airflow control, dampers/blowers, exhaust fans, fume hoods
  • Modernized chillers and cooling towers
  • Cutting edge energy management systems
  • Extensive interior and outdoor lighting retrofit
  • Windows and building envelope retrofit
  • Vending machine efficiency measures
  • Water conservation measures
  • Comprehensive education and staff training on maintenance of new systems