Guaranteed Energy Savings Act
Normally, second, third and fourth class school districts must receive Departmental approval of the plans and specifications for renovation projects. For all school districts, such work with a value of greater than $10,000 must normally be accomplished under separate contracts entered into with the lowest responsible bidder after proper advertising.
However, the Guaranteed Energy Savings Act, 62 Pa C.S. §3751, gives school districts a choice of whether to enter into a contract under the provisions of the Act (which would not require Departmental approval) or to enter into a contract using the normal statutory requirements (which would require Departmental approval). Moreover, the Guaranteed Energy Savings Act does not require “separation” of contracts. The Guaranteed Energy Savings Act simply provides for a Request for Proposals (RFP) procedure that allows the governmental unit to award a contract to any entity whose proposal is timely and meets the requirements of the governmental unit.
The Guaranteed Energy Savings Act allows governmental units to ignore other contrary or inconsistent laws when entering into contracts with qualified providers. School districts have the option of soliciting construction offers through the “Request for Proposals” process outlined in the Act, or by going through the normal statutory process for school construction projects including competitive bidding, separation of contracts and awarding of contracts to the lowest bidder.
You should note, however, that unless PDE approval is sought and received for construction projects under the normal statutory process, no school construction reimbursement is possible. If school districts wish to be eligible for state reimbursement for construction projects, they must go through the added steps necessary to obtain Departmental approval. A district may desire to do both a reimbursable renovation project and a Guaranteed Energy Savings Act project. To do so, all costs associated with the Guaranteed Energy Savings Act project must be excluded from PlanCon documents.