Business growth should include your buildings

Many building owners are seeking ways to replace older equipment, solving comfort issues and operating hurdles, but they struggle to secure proper financing for all these projects. However, with integrated energy performance contracting, your building can become a safe investment, even bottom-line benefit, rather than a source of expense.

Building improvements – most specifically HVAC upgrades – are often seen as an expense unless they directly improve an industrial process or output. The truth is, however, that almost any well planned and implemented building HVAC improvement can become an investment when it leads to substantial energy efficiency improvements. Reducing bottom-line expenses can be just as good for business competitiveness as reaching new markets or increasing your current market share – and with less risk involved, when you work with a partner that contractually guarantees the financial outcomes.

Turning a capital expense into an investment

CAE is a manufacturer of simulation and training technologies for the civil aviation, defense and security, and healthcare markets. The company has over 8,000 employees in 35 countries.

In 2012, CAE’s head office in Montreal launched a public Request for Proposals (RFP) to find a contractor to replace the ageing HVAC equipment in its one- million-square-foot facility. Instead of doing a one-in-one-out replacement, CAE’s management team took the opportunity to ask the bidding companies to address the following goals as part of the retrofit:

  • Generate significant energy savings and the highest possible Net Present Value (NPV)
  • Optimize the HVAC system
  • Simplify operations and maintenance for staff
  • Contractually guarantee the project costs, incentives, and energy savings


Comparison between “one-for-one” replacement project and integrated energy performance project

In the end, CAE turned a capital expense into an investment by using an integrated energy performance contracting approach, and the company now highly praises this initiative for creating more value for their business.



“At CAE, optimizing the capital envelope is very important. We invest a lot each year. During a round table, we compare all of the potential projects that could benefi the company, including those submitted internally. The energy efficiency project was quickly selected because its rate of return  was advantageous compared to other proposed investments. Moreover, because the savings were guaranteed, the risk level was very low.”

– David Héon, Manager, Facility Services / Health, Safety and Environment CAE

Read David Héon’s interview here.

A complete reconfiguration of the rooftop units

Rather than spend money to replace 149 aging rooftop units as initially planned, the integrated project reconfigured the ventilation system, replacing the 149 units with 38, complete with a heat recovery glycol loop.




These four improvements were the core of the project

▲ Reconfiguration of the rooftop units
▲ Centralized heating and cooling systems in three new mechanical rooms
▲ Heat recovery network
▲ Modernization of centralized controls

Stay tuned for this upcoming webinar

AIAC is partnering with Ecosystem and CAE to produce a webinar for the aerospace industry that features this successful integrated HVAC retrofit project, including CAE’s own project manager and Ecosystem’s project engineer.

Through this webinar, you will learn about:

  • the procurement process that has helped them choose the best project/ partner
  • the key contractual elements that enabled a strong partnership with the integrated performance contracting firm
  • the building upgrades implemented to generate the most value for CAE
  • the measurement and verification process that confirms the project’s performance
  • the best practices that are highlighted in this unique initiative
  • the challenges they overcame
  • the references and guidelines that have helped CAE’s project team through this less commonly used business model

Webinar dates will soon be announced by AIAC. To register to the event please contact:

Bill Yetman
Vice President | Strategic Partnerships AIAC

Read the PDF version