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4 St. Louis Communities Leverage Better Buildings to Boost Greater Savings

Four St. Louis area cities – Des Peres, St. Ann, St. Charles, and Wentzville – are achieving an array of goals with one common solution: better building infrastructure.

The St. Louis metropolitan area is home to approximately 2.8 million people made up of several distinct and diverse communities. Like many American cities, St. Louis’ local leaders juggle shifting community priorities while stewarding taxpayer dollars and budgets. One consistent struggle comes from managing and repairing costly aging infrastructure.

With resiliency, sustainability, and community savings at the forefront of their list of priorities, four St. Louis area cities – Des Peres, St. Ann, St. Charles, and Wentzville – are achieving an array of goals with one common solution: better building infrastructure. 


By leaning on strategic reinvestment of efficiency-led savings, best-value cooperative procurement, and once-in-an-era federal funding, leaders throughout greater St. Louis are improving the spaces that residents rely on the most without impacting taxpayer funds. By working with Trane, each city was able to build a customized approach to meet specific their goals while maximizing the investment.

City of Des Peres: Modernizing for Community Comfort & Prosperity

A first-ring suburb, historic Des Peres’ many community buildings were aging and needed repair. The iconic 100-year-old City Hall had an old mechanical system that was inefficient and costly to run. The comfort of the Public Safety Building that houses first responders had become unreliable with failing HVAC systems and insulation. And the community center was aging, uncomfortable, and didn’t represent the pride that residents felt for their community.

Des Peres’ leaders acted swiftly by working with Trane to modernize each of the in-need facilities by leveraging an energy savings performance contract (ESPC). Through energy conservation measures, the ESPC’s guaranteed operational and energy savings, and a supplemental FEMA grant, Des Peres’ significantly improved each building without relying on additional taxpayer funds. In an extra step toward savings, Des Peres procured the project through OMNIA Partners, a cooperative purchasing resource offering streamlined project procurement and best-value pricing.

These strategic capital recovery efforts are saving the community over $140,000 in annual energy costs. Trane helped Des Peres improve each facility with:

…and more. From design and construction to staff training and maintenance, the Trane team serves as an extension of the Des Peres staff and helps ensure every building is operating optimally.

The efficiencies achieved have been incredible,” said Des Peres City Administrator, Doug Harms. “Energy savings started almost immediately upon project completion, and we’ve met Trane’s guaranteed savings every year to achieve approximately $140,000 in savings annually for the past 5 years.

City of St. Ann: Streamlining Community Savings with ESPC & OMNIA

Just north of St. Louis, St. Ann is home to roughly 13,000 residents. St. Ann’s officials had compiled a lengthy list of costly repairs and improvements community spaces needed. Aging HVAC systems, failing heaters and exhaust systems, and dilapidating roofing was costing thousands to repair. St. Ann’s leaders struggled to prioritize modernizations that would help reduce these costs and knew that doing so without impacting taxpayer dollars was critical.

To ease the burden of managing the modernization of each facility, the city sought a single provider to be responsible for the entirety of the project. Relying on Trane as its single, turnkey provider for project management and installation streamlined the execution process and drove important cost-saving efficiencies. Working with Trane’s local building experts, city leaders opted to modernize several facilities with high-efficiency HVAC systems (including new rooftop units), exterior and indoor lighting, and controls upgrades including Tracer SC+ building automation systems. To ensure these upgrades and their related operational savings were sustained for many years ahead, an annual maintenance and repair service agreement was included in the project’s scope.

St. Ann’s leaders leaned into further increasing their savings by procuring the project through a cooperative purchasing contract with OMNIA Partners. Relying on cooperative purchasing offered best-value, pre-negotiated pricing and streamlined equipment, controls, and service procurement directly from Trane – reducing the cost to fund, execute, and manage the project.

We’ve significantly improved the efficiency of the buildings throughout our entire city, improving the comfort and indoor air quality for staff and residents alike,” said St. Ann City Administrator, Matt Conley. “We are also seeing over $21,000 in energy savings annually.”

City of St. Charles: Maximizing Return on IAQ & Infrastructure Investments

A modern community with a population of over 70,000 residents, St. Charles’ public facilities serve as the backbone of the city. In 2020, facing costly repairs and a growing need to improve indoor air quality (IAQ) in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Charles’ leaders turned to their local Trane team to help improve the comfort, IAQ, and efficiency of their community’s most critical spaces. 

With CARES Act funding in hand, city leaders worked wi3th Trane to modernize St. Charles’ justice center, senior center, tourism building, public works, city hall, and more. A holistic plan to improve IAQ throughout each facility was put into action, including HVAC system enhancements, increased ventilation, and over 50 Synexis systems installations.

After extensive IAQ upgrades were made, city officials turned their focus to St. Charles’ historic city hall. The building’s existing chiller and cooling tower were both rusting and had reached the end of their useful life. Repairs needed to continue operating each would have cost tens of thousands of dollars. To avoid system failures and costly repairs, Trane quickly stepped into action to replace the chiller and cooling tower through an OMNIA Partners cooperative purchasing agreement. This streamlined and value-priced procurement saved St. Charles money while helping to prevent system failure and staff discomfort throughout City Hall.

Updating this infrastructure was an important priority for our city. Simply put, our existing chiller would not have lasted another summer,” said St. Charles Director of Facilities, Scott Bennett. “Installation of the new equipment was seamless, and most importantly, our buildings stay cool even on the hottest summer days while using less energy.”

City of Wentzville: Supporting First Responders & Community Budgets

The fastest-growing community in Missouri, Wentzville is home to approximately 45,000 residents. However, its dated law enforcement center was not built for growth or long-term efficiency. Serving as a space for police, park rangers, and school resource staff to serve the community, the center’s heating, cooling, and comfort had become unreliable. Moreover, inefficient HVAC and lighting systems had made the center’s operational costs skyrocket – costs that hit Wentzville’s community budget. 

Modernizing the center – and doing so affordably – quickly became a priority. Hearing about the financial benefits of guaranteed energy savings programs from neighboring communities, Wentzville officials published a call for proposals for ESPC services, which was awarded to Trane because of their unique, consultative approach to scoping, funding, and completing infrastructure projects.

Widescale energy conservation measures and upgrades were made to the center, including a new rooftop unit system, building envelope improvements, a new Tracer® SC+ building automation system, lighting upgrades, and more. Through this ESPC project Trane helped Wentzville’s leaders to improve the reliability and comfort of the center while saving over $50,000 in annual management costs and earning over $39,000 in utility incentives.

Completing these upgrades meant we were able to improve efficiencies and extend the life of our law enforcement building,” said Wentzville assistant city administrator, Jessica Hoffman. “Being good stewards of taxpayer dollars is always a priority so delaying a costly new build while saving energy and money was a win/win.”

Leaning on the Industry’s Trusted Building Experts to Save Time & Resources

While each community’s goals were unique, they shared one solution: better buildings. By helping to improve the spaces where residents work, play and live, St. Louis’ area leaders leveraged community-serving buildings to accelerate numerous economic, social and environmental priorities. By leaning on Trane’s building technologies, energy solutions and turnkey project expertise, each city streamlined the often daunting task of quickly modernizing infrastructure while helping to saving money, time and resources.

Local Government Solutions

Supporting better communities through better buildings

Kasey Boxleitner

About the author
Jennifer Geen, Sr. Energy Services Account Executive

Jennifer is a Senior Account Executive for the Midwest Area Energy Services and Solutions Division of Trane. She helps leadership staff and elected officials throughout Missouri MUSH markets facilitate best practices to improve thermal comfort, indoor environmental quality, and energy efficiency while creating long-term facility resiliency and sustainability.

Jennifer’s primary focus is on providing feasible financial options for clients, through energy performance contracts in tandem with supplemental Federal ARPA funds; and by purchasing efficiently with Trane’s many cooperative purchasing agreement options. Jennifer holds a B.S. in Political Science and History from Lincoln University and a Master’s in Public Administration from Saint Louis University.