Read the latest updates from Bernhard.

Bernhard and Mercy Project Wins AEE Region IV Corporate Energy Management Project of the Year


Bernhard announced today that an Energy Stewardship Program created with St. Louis-based Mercy recently won the 2022 Association of Energy Engineers’ Region IV Corporate Energy Management Project of the Year.The award was presented during the AEE’s 45th annual World Energy Conference & Expo, held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia. The awards recognize organizations, individuals and projects making contributions to or doing important work in energy management, sustainability, energy efficiency and related fields.“Bernhard shares Mercy’s focus on stewardship and improving patient care through the upkeep of Mercy’s infrastructure and controls assets. The program’s turnkey, design-build-commission approach allows projects to follow expedited schedules and preserve team continuity from start to finish,” said Aric Reed, project manager at Bernhard. “Maintaining contact with each facility after completion of projects via monitoring-based commissioning and operator training ensures the implemented energy-saving measures remain in place.”

Launched in March 2020, Mercy’s energy stewardship program is focused on improving energy efficiency, reducing operational costs, making needed infrastructure upgrades and improving indoor environmental quality for patients and co-workers. The project is unique in size and scope, with Bernhard substantially optimizing the energy efficiency of systems serving more than 14 million square feet of medical office and clinical space. 23 projects have been completed, with another 29 in progress.

“Mercy has benefitted in many ways from the energy stewardship program,” said Tom Brinkmann, Mercy’s Director of Facilities Maintenance and Operations. “In addition to reducing operating costs, focusing on this critical aspect of our facility operation improves comfort, indoor air quality and maintenance resource utilization, energy stewardship also supports our overall sustainability initiative.”

Multiple systems were upgraded as part of the project, including direct digital control (DDC) building automation, HVAC upgrades and modernization, metering, fault detection, LED lighting upgrades, as well as ongoing measurement and verification, remote operator support, utility bill auditing and commodity management. The program has led to estimated energy savings of $1.7 million per year.

The AEE’s Region IV judging considered energy projects from 11 states in the central and southern U.S., including Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota. Founded in 1977, the Association of Energy Engineers currently represents more than 18,000 energy professionals in more than 100 countries.

For a full list of 2022 AEE Regional Award winners, click here.

Bernhard’s Chris Jackson Named to 2022 Environment+Energy Leader 50


Chris Jackson, vice president of business development, has been named to the 2022 Environment+Energy Leader 50 (E+E 50) list. The annual E+E 50 list recognizes the top 50 environment and energy professionals who are driving their companies – and the environment, sustainability, and energy management industries – forward.

“The honorees on our annual list show groundbreaking work and dedication to the field of sustainability and energy management,” says Sarah Roberts, Publisher of Environment+Energy Leader. “We’re thrilled to recognize this year’s honorees and congratulate all who made the list.”

Chris is a licensed professional engineer in four states (Utah, Arizona, California, and Washington), as well as a LEED accredited professional. He graduated with a B.S. in chemical engineering and an MBA from the University of Utah while simultaneously performing as a scholarship member of the men’s basketball team.

He entered the engineering industry with ETC Group 15 years ago and relocated to Tempe in 2014 to establish their Arizona office. He grew the branch from 2 to 16 employees and nearly 50% of the company’s total project work. Chris was a principal engineer and shareholder of ETC Group, helping to guide the company to a successful acquisition earlier this year. Chris has been a vice president since 2019, retaining the title and successfully expanding his team through the merger.

“It’s an honor to be selected to the E+E 50 list, especially in a year with so much professional transition,” said Jackson. “Although this is an individual honor, I have to commend my team at Bernhard who are continually pushing the energy industry forward and innovating every day.”

Chris’ accomplishments establishing the Arizona branch and growing sales were instrumental to developing acquisition interest. Bernhard, headquartered in New Orleans, now comprised of 25 offices in 14 states, is one of the largest privately-owned infrastructure firms and the largest private energy-as-a-service company in the United States. Bernhard now has two offices in Arizona—Tempe and Tucson.

Now in its sixth year, the annual E+E 50 recognizes those environment and energy “doers” who break trail in creating new solutions, programs, platforms, best practices and products to help their companies achieve greater success in commercial and industrial environment and energy management. The E+E 50 doesn’t just celebrate the C-suite, but also those top managers and in-the-trenches team members who are working diligently behind the scenes and shaping the industry. Nominations are open to the public and the final honoree list is selected by Environment+Energy Leader. See this year’s honorees and past honorees here:

Nominations for the E+E 50 are made by Environment+Energy Leader readers and others that work in the industry, are vetted and then Environment+Energy Leader team and a select group of advisors from the industry make the final selections.

Bernhard Announces “360 Promise” with Tulane to Encourage Students to Enter Energy Industry


Bernhard announced this week a bold commitment to hire 360 Tulane University graduates over the next three decades. Dubbed the “360 Promise,” the program is a partnership between Bernhard and the Tulane Energy Institute (TEI), a world-renowned component of Tulane’s A.B. Freeman School of Business in New Orleans. The commitment, although primarily focused on Tulane Energy Institute students and curriculum, also extends to other relevant departments across the university, including Tulane’s Law School and School of Science and Engineering.

“When we think globally about the opportunity that the Energy Transition presents, it’s clear to us that talent is a critical ingredient to success,” said Rob Guthrie, Bernhard’s Chief Development Officer. “That’s true of the energy industry in general, and it’s certainly true at Bernhard. By making the 360 Promise with Tulane, Bernhard is strengthening its role to shape and develop future industry leaders. It’s a bold and exciting step, made more significant by the strength of our partner—one of the nation’s leading universities.”

As a branch of the Freeman School of Business, the Tulane Energy Institute provides educational opportunities that improve understanding of the integration of energy markets, policies, technology and the environment, and fosters interest and expertise in the energy industry, propelling graduates into top positions in one of the world’s most dynamic fields. As part of the commitment, Bernhard experts will assist Tulane in developing course content and curricula relevant to burgeoning trends in the energy services industry.

“A unique feature of this promise is folding in Bernhard projects into our course content,” said Pierre Conner, Executive Director of Tulane Energy Institute. “Students get a chance to learn from real-time projects alongside experts from one of the most respected energy services companies in the world. That brings our curriculum to life and makes for a more engaging learning experience, which we take great pride in at Tulane.”

360 Promise comes on the heels of Project RISE, a 30-year Energy-as-a-Service (EaaS) partnership, designed to help Tulane substantially reduce on-campus greenhouse gas emissions, with a goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. Bernhard will complete a host of major energy infrastructure improvements at Tulane facilities including the construction of a 1-megawatt solar energy plant that will supply 10 percent of electrical demand at Tulane’s uptown campus.

Bernhard Announces Multiple Hires in Development Division Focused on Energy Projects


Bernhard announced today multiple hires in their Development Division. The hires include Christopher Benson named vice president of business development, Devon Kalkbrenner named vice president of contract management, Christopher Workman named vice president of pre-engineering and energy analytics, and Leighton Wolffe named vice president of demand management.

Wolffe has more than 25 years of experience in the facilities and energy industries. His interest in technologies led to leadership positions with energy companies, manufacturers and systems integration firms designing and developing innovative hardware and software applications. Leighton provides expertise and domain knowledge to help clients navigate their way through the highly dynamic intersection of energy markets, emerging technologies and industry players. In a previous position as VP Strategy for Constellation Energy, Leighton founded the NewEnergy Alliance and formed commercial relationships with more than 40 energy technology companies to develop applications and deliver solutions around Constellation’s VirtuWatt Platform, which connected buildings directly to energy markets and Constellation’s trading desk. Leighton is co-developer for this ground-breaking platform.

Benson is responsible for leading the development team in the execution of long-term Energy-as-a-Service partnerships. A broad blend of experience in business management and engineering has allowed Benson to play an important role in energy and sustainability projects across 58 million square feet of buildings and saving millions of dollars in operational costs during his career. He holds an MBA from the David Eccles School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Utah. He is a licensed engineer, certified energy manager, LEED accredited professional, and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.

Kalkbrenner joins Bernhard’s legal team and will work with developers on closing EaaS transactions. She joins Bernhard after 11 years as corporate counsel at VCC in Little Rock, Ark. and brings significant experience in recognizing, mitigating and resolving risk issues. She was awarded a Juris Doctor from the William H. Bowen School of Law and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She is licensed to practice law in Arkansas and Texas.

With more than a decade of engineering experience, Workman joins Bernhard from Willdan Group where he was the Director of Project Development in the Performance Engineering Division. His new role will see him responsible for scoping cost savings opportunities and facility improvements for project development. He received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University California, and a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering with a specialization in energy systems from the University of Utah.

Bernhard’s Tulane campus energy project a two-time finalist for 2022 P3 Awards


Bernhard announced today that a 30-year Energy-as-a-Service (EaaS) partnership reached in January with Tulane University has been named a finalist for the 2022 P3 Awards in two categories.  Founded in 2018, the P3 Awards recognize excellence in public infrastructure projects that use private financing in long-term partnering agreements.

Known as Project RISE (Renew, Innovate, Sustain, Engage), the partnership between Tulane and Bernhard was named a finalist in the “Best Education and Higher Education Project” and “Best Energy Project” categories.

“At Bernhard, our teams are celebrated for being innovative and thinking outside-the-box,” said Rob Guthrie, Bernhard’s Chief Development Officer. “Being shortlisted for such a prestigious award in multiple categories is evidence that we are breaking new ground in what was once considered possible in energy efficiency.”

Announced in January 2022, Project RISE is designed to help Tulane University substantially reduce on-campus greenhouse gas emissions, with a goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. As part of the agreement, Tulane transferred to Bernhard the authority to operate, upgrade and maintain energy infrastructure at the university’s uptown and downtown campuses. Bernhard will complete a host of major energy infrastructure improvements at Tulane facilities as part of Project RISE, including construction of a 1-megawatt solar energy plant that will supply 10 percent of electrical demand at Tulane’s uptown campus.

“This P3 award nomination speaks to the innovation of the unique relationship between Tulane and Bernhard,” said Patrick Norton, Tulane University chief operating officer. “We are proud that Project RISE has been selected as a finalist in both of these categories, and that the university’s long-term commitment to sustainability and resilience has been recognized on a national scale.”

Tulane University president Michael Fitts said of Project RISE:  “The Bernhard and Tulane partnership will significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions as we journey toward a carbon neutral future that also fully supports our critical research and educational missions. By increasing efficiency, building resilience and seeking alternative energy sources, we also expect to achieve the goal of a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gasses by 2025 as outlined in Tulane’s Climate Action Plan.”

In 2021, an EaaS partnership between Bernhard and East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika, Ala., was a finalist for the P3 Awards’ Best Social Infrastructure Project of the year. Winners of the 2022 P3 Awards will be announced on Oct. 11, 2022.

For more information about the P3 Awards, visit

Bernhard Leading Commissioning Service for Net-Zero Climate Innovation Center in Utah


Utah Clean Energy, a nonprofit leader in climate solutions, announced last month the public phase of their capital campaign to build the “Climate Innovation Center” in downtown Salt Lake City with an announcement ceremony. Bernhard, the largest privately-owned Energy-as-a-Service company in the United States, is providing an in-kind commissioning service for this net-zero office project. Bernhard’s Commissioning team provides an unbiased, objective view of the commissioned system’s installation, operation and performance ensuring that the facility and systems operate safely, reliably, and efficiently resulting in a healthy environment for all building occupants. When completed, the Climate Innovation Center will renovate a 70-plus-year-old building to become one of the city’s most high-performance, net-zero buildings.

“Bernhard, and previously ETC Group, has been a long-time partner of Utah Clean Energy and its net-zero vision from the very beginning,” says Glen Anderson, PE, Senior Vice President of Innovation at Bernhard. “We are excited to add our skill sets to Utah Clean Energy’s Climate Innovation Center. Commissioning is an essential step for this facility to run efficiently and to achieve net-zero.”

Energy used in our existing homes and buildings contributes up to 40% of U.S. energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, but those emissions can be drastically decreased by renovating building stock to be ultra-energy efficient. In addition to serving as the organization’s headquarters, the Climate Innovation Center will serve as a living laboratory that will educate the public and the business community about the tremendous role that buildings have in solving our climate crisis, and the ways to renovate and build for a healthy climate. Beyond the standard Commissioning reviews, Bernhard will be providing energy suggestions for PV Solar and Battery, which will be crucial for Utah Clean Energy to achieve Zero Energy Certification.

The announcement event was highlighted by the filling of a time capsule by attendees, who were invited to add a note capturing their vision and hopes for a healthy future. The capsule will be opened 20 years later, in 2042, at which time future generations will have the opportunity to reflect on the progress made in mitigating climate change.

Bernhard Earns 2022 Engineering Excellence Award for Energy, Large Project Category from American Council of Engineering Companies of Arkansas

UAMS energy project selected as winning submission


Bernhard was announced as the winner in the Energy, Large Project category at the American Council of Engineering Companies of Arkansas (ACEC) annual 2022 Engineering Excellence Awards (EEAs) celebration on March 31, 2022 at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock. The winning project was the $150 million Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) with University of Arkansas Medical Sciences, the largest energy savings project in Arkansas, the largest in the academic and healthcare sector, and one of the largest in the United States.

“This honor recognizes our dedication, innovation and hard work in this monumental project,” said Tim Staley, president of engineering at Bernhard. “Working alongside the UAMS team, we’ve created a truly unique partnership, which has and will continue to bring energy savings on a macro scale.”

The EEAs recognize Arkansas engineering projects that demonstrate a high degree of achievement, value, and ingenuity, according to ACEC. Judged by a panel of industry professionals from around the state, projects were evaluated based on uniqueness, future value to the engineering profession, sustainable considerations, and successful fulfillment of the client’s needs.

“Our Arkansas engineers are highly skilled and integral to the success of our state,” said Angie Cooper, executive director of ACEC. “Projects like UAMS and Bernhard are key to creating sustainable and increasing growth in Arkansas.”

In July 2019, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) was given approval by the University of Arkansas System Trustees for a $150 million Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) that is administered through the Arkansas Energy Performance Contracting (AEPC) program and implemented by Bernhard.

Bernhard’s Ashley Brennan Named to CityBusiness 2021 Women of the Year List

Brennan recognized for innovative leadership and community impact


New Orleans CityBusiness has named Bernhard’s Ashley Brennan to its 2021 Women of the Year list. A Louisiana native, Brennan serves as a project administrator at Metairie-based Bernhard, the largest privately-owned Energy-as-a-Service (“EaaS”) solutions company in the United States.

This annual list identifies and honors 50 outstanding women whose successes in business and contributions to the community have set the pace for the region’s future. According to New Orleans CityBusiness, Women of the Year honorees are “innovative leaders who are making waves with their energy, ideas, achievements and commitment to excellence in the area.”

“I am humbled to receive this honor,” said Brennan. “Improving and impacting the lives of others is an integral part of who I am. To have my hard work and community investment recognized in this way is touching and motivating. There is so much more we can do to make a change and the support of my employer and my community enables me to be a small part of this change.”

Volunteering and civic engagement is a major part of Brennan’s life. She has been involved with the Junior League of New Orleans since 2010 and while she has held various leadership positions throughout her League career, her most recent position was as Business Council Director on the Executive Board of Directors for the 2017-2018 League Year. She is also involved with Cabrini High School Alumnae Association, and is a recent graduate of the Class of 2021 and a Distinguished Fellow of the Nancy M. Marsiglia Institute of Justice, a program through the United Way of Southeast Louisiana and Loyola University’s College of Law. Brennan has been recognized for her civic and professional achievements through the March of Dimes Spotlight on Success, NORDC’s Women’s History Month Award, New Orleans City Business and the Class of 2018 Leadership Jefferson. Born in New Orleans, raised in Metairie and a product of Cabrini High School and the University of Southwestern Louisiana in Lafayette. Brennan joined Bernhard in 2014 and has worked in various roles and departments through her seven years, currently serving as a project administrator.

“We are proud Ashley has received this recognition highlighting her commitment to continually going above and beyond to bettering her community,” said Travis Bernhard, Vice President of IS Delivery at Bernhard. “She has been a vital piece to our team and incredibly deserving of this honor.”

Nominations were accepted from the public and a selection committee utilized these nominations and independent research to make final selections. Honorees will be given the Women of the Year award at an event at the Hyatt Regency.

Midland Health earns 5th ENERGY STAR Certification since Bernhard Partnership; Outperforms 86% of Similar U.S. Buildings in Efficiency

Program identifies the most energy-efficient buildings based on latest government-backed standards


Bernhard has announced that Midland Health has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR® certification for superior energy performance. This is the 5th year that Midland Health has earned the ENERGY STAR certification since partnering with Bernhard to optimize energy efficiency.

Midland’s ENERGY STAR scores reflect continual growth and efficiency for their energy operations. In 2016, Midland received their first ENERGY STAR Certification with a score of 75. With an unwavering commitment to increasing their energy efficiency, Midland has now seen their overall score increase by 10 percentage points in just 6 years.

“Earning another ENERGY STAR certification despite these difficult times is a true testament to the continuous work of our employees,” said Abraham Bejil, Director of Engineering at Midland Health. “We are proud to be part of an organization that is able to earn this certification for the last 6 years that shows our commitment to doing our part to protect the environment and public health of our community.”

The ENERGY STAR certification program was created in 1992 to help businesses save energy and fight climate change. Today, every ENERGY STAR label is verified by a rigorous third-party certification process. ENERGY STAR is the only environmental program in the United States that certifies energy efficiency based on actual, verified energy performance and objective measures of performance, providing a guarantee of savings.

“Improving the energy efficiency of our nation’s buildings is critical to protecting our environment,” said Jean Lupinacci, Chief of the ENERGY STAR Commercial & Industrial Branch. “From the boiler room to the board room, organizations are leading the way by making their buildings more efficient and earning EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification.”

Bernhard’s storied history with Midland has given their team a unique perspective on Midland’s energy infrastructure and allowed for continued success utilizing their cutting-edge delivery methods to boost the facility’s energy efficiency year after year. Midland has trusted Bernhard with more than 25 projects over the last 10 years. The latest project, a 15-year Energy-as-a-Service project that provides $19M in infrastructure improvements and more than $664,000 in energy savings annually.

“Fulfilling the promises we make to our customers is something we take tremendous pride in,” said Rob Guthrie, Bernhard Chief Development Officer. “We take their trust very seriously and deploy everything our team of experts has to better a facility for future generations. The 2021 Midland certification is something to celebrate, and we’re looking forward to helping the hospital achieve an even higher score in 2022.”

To date, tens of thousands of buildings and plants across all fifty states have earned the ENERGY STAR. For more information about ENERGY STAR for Buildings and Plants, visit

CenTrio and Bernhard to promote reliability, operational efficiency, and sustainability at LSU under a 30-year public-private-partnership

The P3 deal will create more than $90 million in energy savings


Bernhard and CenTrio reached financial close with the Louisiana State University (LSU) Board of Supervisors to modernize the utility systems at the University’s main campus in Baton Rouge. The 30-year partnership is expected to generate substantial energy and operational savings for LSU while promoting sustainability, reliability and efficiency of utility systems campus-wide.

Tiger Energy Partners (TEP), a joint venture between Bernhard and Johnson Controls, will design and construct the initial modernization solutions of LSU’s central power production, steam and chilled water plants. CenTrio, as the concessionaire, will fund the modernization in addition to operating and maintaining LSU’s utility systems for the next 30 years. CenTrio will have the opportunity to perform and invest into additional capital improvements to the utility system needed to accommodate campus growth and address capital renewal and deferred maintenance. TEP will have the opportunity to design, build, and finance future building mechanical system upgrades on the Baton Rouge campus.

“We are thrilled to begin this modernization project at the Baton Rouge campus,” CenTrio’s Chief Operating Officer Doug Castleberry said. “CenTrio looks forward to making the Baton Rouge campus more resilient, efficient, and sustainable. By investing in university campuses, we are not only helping with their immediate energy infrastructure needs but also allowing them to focus capital and other resources on their core mission of education and research.”

“Perhaps the most rewarding part of moving forward with this project is knowing we are increasing local job creation and creating a positive impact for the local economy,” said Ed Tinsley, Bernhard’s Chief Executive Officer. “Bernhard was founded in Baton Rouge more than 100 years ago and this partnership highlights our unwavering dedication to Louisiana now, and for future generations to come.”

CenTrio, a leading utility public-private partnership (P3) developer, investor, and operator that develops, manages and operates critical energy infrastructures serving more than 400 buildings in urban centers, universities, and hospitals across the United States with a focus on reliability, energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. In October 2020, CenTrio established a similar partnership with Syracuse University to modernize its utility system infrastructure under a 40-year public-private-partnership.

Bernhard has had a presence in Louisiana since 1919, completing more than 400 projects for LSU during that time span, including the design and construction of LSU’s existing combined heating and power system. In addition to its LSU experience and Louisiana headquarters, Bernhard also operates and maintains over 100,000 tons of cooling in markets throughout the Southeast, including the on-going operation and maintenance of the energy plants at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and the Shaw Center for the Arts in Baton Rouge.

CenTrio also has strong ties to New Orleans and the State of Louisiana. The company began operating in New Orleans in 2000, providing thermal energy and backup generation services to Louisiana State University’s Health Sciences Center. The company has since spent over $100 million modernizing the facility, expanded to serve other customers in the city, and invested another $200 million in the local economy.