Project Development Plan

The technical analysis process begins with the establishment of a Project Development Plan. This plan results from the development of an understanding of the goals and objectives of the host facility's senior management. These criteria act as needed guideposts throughout the study. Objectives may be quantitative attributes, such as percent energy cost reduction figures, replacement of old equipment, and expansion of system capacity. They may also be qualitative attributes, such as preferred fuel and technologies (e.g., renewable resources) and the desire to upgrade or replace certain systems based on potential savings or the desire to improve indoor air quality, working conditions, or overall facility reliability.

Constraints are limitations to the acceptance of certain equipment and system characteristics. Constraints may include factors such as reliability requirements, desired degree of maintenance sophistication, adaptability to other facility systems, sound emission levels, or aesthetics, or may be externally imposed, such as environmental regulations or air emission credit limitations. Constraints of both qualitative and logistical nature can be useful for setting boundaries and eliminating certain measures from further consideration.

The technical analysis study team should then articulate and prioritize project objectives, framed within the host facility's goals and constraints, thus establishing the criteria that identifies the most valued system characteristics. If available, facility long-range planning documents should be reviewed in the process. Clarity in this early task of setting objectives will greatly facilitate the efficiency of screening, selection, and the eventual ranking of project opportunities. This process, well executed, will identify the measures that meet the project's objectives and best fit the facility goals.

The Project Development Plan should be based on establishment of a budget for the study process. The budget will largely determine the comprehensiveness of the study and allow for designation of staffing assignments. The budgeting process should consider the study objectives, size, and complexity of the facility, potential for savings, and documentation and reporting require ments. If significant investment decisions are to be made, the budget should be adequate to support a process that will produce a high level of certainty in the study results. Typically, a quality study will cost, at a minimum, a couple percent of the ultimate project implementation budget. Assuming a relationship between cost and quality, higher quality studies will mitigate project financial investment risk and also lead to reduced costs in the design phase of the project.

The project plan should also indicate the schedule and requirements of the host facility. This will ensure that data is compiled and made available at the appropriate time and that access to the facility is properly arranged. Subject to feedback from facility management and subsequent modifications to the plan and its final acceptance, the study team will proceed with the next phase of the process, which is the Preliminary Feasibility (Phase I) Study.

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