Ameresco Consulting, Inc. is the engineering consulting arm of Ameresco Canada, a subsidiary of North American company Ameresco Inc. Formerly Byrne Engineering, Ameresco Consulting was acquired by Ameresco Canada in 2009. While Ameresco Consulting’s list of service offerings includes the innovative design and development of original concept projects, Ameresco Canada assists with financing solutions, engineering and construction oversight, and performance period services of larger Energy Performance Contracting (EPC), and facility renewal and renewable energy projects. The Canadian Business Journal sat down with Mario Iusi, President, Ameresco Canada, Daniel Crosthwaite, Vice-President of Engineering, Ameresco Consulting, Gilles Uguen, Manager of Business Development, Ameresco Consulting and Andre Martineau, Vice-President and General Manager, Ameresco Consulting to learn more about Ameresco Canada, Ameresco Consulting and the Company’s approach to engineering, design, project management and project financing.
“In order to move our business forward, it was important for Ameresco Canada to acquire a company that could help us grow our breadth of services. Byrne Engineering’s experience and focus on infrastructure project work was an excellent fit and complementary to our own business. In 2009 we acquired Byrne Engineering and successfully launched our engineering consulting arm — Ameresco Consulting,” stated Iusi.
While approximately 20 per cent of business comes through its parent company, Ameresco Consulting obtains the greater portion from external clients. As an ISO 9001:2008 registered company, Ameresco Consulting provides services of the highest quality in structural, mechanical, machine and electrical engineering services, HVAC, and energy services. “Ameresco Consulting offers niche skills and expertise in specialized segments such as movable bridges, as well as photovoltaic [PV – solar energy] industries,” says Martineau.
Uguen clarified, “Pertaining to the solar projects, we are focusing on what is known as the MUSH (municipal, university, school boards, hospitals) markets — basically the institutional sector, but we also work with the industrial and commercial customers.”
Ameresco Consulting has completed a multitude of projects across industries of all types.
Recently the company completed the design of photovoltaic systems as part of the Ontario Power Authority Feed in Tariff (FIT) Program that involves the installation of rooftop solar panels on select buildings.
“Ameresco Canada has been heavily involved in this program, assisting with project financing, project design, development and operation, while Ameresco Consulting has provided the engineering work associated with these projects,” said Daniel Crosthwaite. This exemplifies the importance of Ameresco Consulting’s expertise in engineering project development.
Ameresco Consulting has completed numerous movable bridge projects, from swing bridges, bascule bridges (single and double leaf) to vertical lift bridges throughout the years, and this has been one of the company’s recognized specialties. The company provides structural, mechanical, and electrical engineering design services, as well as full service reviews, inspections, detailed design of appropriate repairs or upgrades, project management, construction support, commissioning and personnel training.
Uncertain economic times have led to some disruption in the approvals of projects resulting in tighter deadlines and increased agility from Ameresco Consulting. “We have to be able to mobilize quickly, and at the same time, meet the ever-changing needs of our clients,” says Crosthwaite. “This fact has been accentuated by clients’ demands to move forward with projects quickly, where we excel in meeting this challenge.” With many projects awaiting approval, the company deals with logistical challenges and balancing project demands based on clients demands.
“As the local governments have to deal with their deficits and the inability to spend the necessary money on infrastructure and institutional projects, they will start looking at companies such as Ameresco Canada for innovative financing solutions to support these projects,” explains Iusi. “As such, Ameresco is able to create strategies and implement client-driven solution and assist with obtaining financing for the infrastructure renewal projects. I expect the MUSH sector customers to be looking more and more for financial solutions to their infrastructure needs,” he continued.
Ameresco Canada is a qualified energy services company (ESCO) and as such, has the given ability to provide turnkey implementation and project financing through Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs). Through ESPCs the cost of the building renewal projects is financed through future utility bill savings — savings that result from the installation of new energy saving building systems during building renewal or reconstruction. As an ESCO, the company offers “Guaranteed Energy Savings” that obligate the organization, in this case, Ameresco Canada to pay for any energy savings shortfalls.
Iusi says about this approach, “The difference is that we take on the responsibility for the results. We are redirecting the energy savings to pay for the cost associated with the project.”
Ameresco Consulting remains focused on its niche services, drawing on its vast engineering experience and ability to advance projects quickly and meet or exceed client expectations.