Energy Efficiency Overhaul in Ellis County Revitalizes Historic Courthouse  

Located 40 miles south of Dallas, Ellis County is one of Texas’ fastest growing regions. Named after Richard Ellis, the President of the 1836 Constitutional Congress that declared Texas independence from Mexico, Ellis County is home to one of the state’s prized historic courthouses, erected in 1895. 

With roots in flour milling, cotton, grain and corn farming, Ellis County is strongly rooted in the Texas way of life. For decades, Ellis County leadership has been dedicated to serving its residents and honoring the history of the land known as Waxahachie. With an award of several million dollars in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds following the COVID-19 pandemic, the county sought to optimize and revitalize several of its essential community buildings with energy efficiency projects – including its prized historic courthouse. 

For many rural communities like Ellis County, the hearts of their communities reside in the local infrastructure and historical facilities, from community centers and recreational spaces to courthouses, county jails, and justice facilities. By prioritizing the revitalization of these spaces through facility upgrades, counties not only build resiliency and ensure longevity, but their investment also demonstrates mindful community stewardship and a dedication to preserving these integral community facilities for decades to come.  

In order to strengthen this revitalization effort, the county partnered with McKinstry to conduct an Investment Grade Audit (IGA) to identify energy conservation opportunities that may also improve occupant comfort and extend facility longevity. In addition to HVAC retrofits, plumbing and sewer upgrades, the county chose to implement resiliency measures that offer utility and operational savings including LED lighting upgrades, envelope weatherization to decrease weather-related infiltration, advanced flush valve replacements as well as controls optimization.  

The implementation of advanced and customizable controls provides county leadership and staff increased visibility into building performance using real time data. Oftentimes, the foot traffic and occupant comfort will vary from building to building and, what is needed in the historic courthouse may not suit the Sheriff’s Office and so on and so forth.  

To better manage building controls and improve the operational maintenance experience for the county, McKinstry deployed our proprietary energy performance dashboard, Reveal™. The dashboard has allowed Ellis County leadership to maximize building and staff utilization with integral facility maps, closely monitor building and equipment functionality with dynamic metrics and performance data as well as track utility bills for savings measurement and verification. With the implementation of the Reveal™ dashboard and other energy efficiency measures, the county will reach $240,179 in annual utility savings and $19,964 in estimated annual operational savings.  

Speaking to the project’s impact, County Judge Todd Little shared, “The building weatherization and additional energy efficiency upgrades completed through the ESPC project have been a worthwhile investment for Ellis County. Outside of operational savings and improved resident and staff comfort, the improvements increased our resiliency to potential operating interruptions caused by extreme weather while saving our taxpayers thousands of dollars.” 

In addition to the historic courthouse, project upgrades impacted 17  county buildings across multiple cities. The $4.3 million project was largely funded through ARPA funds but was completed using an Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC), a cost-neutral, self-funding solution with McKinstry-guaranteed energy and cost savings. McKinstry is honored to partner with the county to revitalize their historic community spaces while improving occupant comfort and energy efficiency for optimal municipal operations along the way.  


Waxahachie, TX 



Square Footage

297,377 SF


3.5 million gallons of water annually

Services Provided

Retro Commissioning (RCx) 


Controls Optimization 

Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) 

Investment Grade Audit (IGA) 

Mechanical and Plumbing