Design Build Finance Own Operate and Maintain (DBFOOM)

Water Campus

Baton Rouge, Louisiana



Square Feet

$3 Million

Project Cost


Completion Date

Located south of downtown Baton Rouge, the Water Campus is a mixed-use complex currently under development with occupants that include the LSU Center for River Studies, The Water Institute of the Gulf, and the Louisiana Coastal Protection & Restoration Authority (CPRT). Ultimately, the campus includes 27 buildings, constructed in 4 phases, and spread across 30 acres of land. Building use types vary from research labs, private sector companies, and even residences.

After analyzing multiple options, Bernhard proposed the construction of a central utility plant and campus loop to serve the thermal needs of the entire development. This option generated significant savings over the life of the development through reduced energy consumption, reduced maintenance cost, scalability for future development, and full risk transfer of operation to Bernhard. With an initial investment of $3 million, Bernhard proposed a turnkey Energy-as-a-Service approach to finance and construct the central utility plant and thermal distribution. This allowed CPRT to avoid upfront capital expenses and realize the benefit of reduced energy and operations expenses. The net present value of this approach saved CPRT substantially more than the $3 million upfront cost.

Bernhard and CPRT-Water Campus, LLC entered into a 25-year agreement to finance, design, build, own, operate, and maintain the structure for the central utility plant that serves The Water Campus. CPRT provided Bernhard with a ground lease for the chilled water plant. To serve the initial buildings, Bernhard designed and built a chilled water plant, underground piping to each building, building pumps, and a single platform controls system. The plant is equipped measurement and verification software to track energy consumption and a billing solution to allocate utility costs.