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Getting Your Energy Efficiency Project Funded

Apr 16

Written by:
4/16/2015 10:24 AM  RssIcon

Finding funds for energy efficiency projects can be challenging. Even if the project will return your investment in less than a year, budgets are tight, and it’s difficult to get approval from busy administrators.

So what can you do to get your project funded?

  1. Price your project down with incentives first. Check the DSIRE website for federal and state incentives. Call your local utility and state/local government to find out if they have incentives for energy efficiency. Check with your tax accountant to find out if there are tax deductions that may apply.
  2. Ask the vendor if they offer a payment plan. Some vendors will allow you to pay for energy efficiency projects over time. For example, Streamside Solutions offers a 3-year payment option for new Events2HVAC licenses. So organizations can begin using the software right away, and use the energy savings from the first year to pay for the remainder of the license.
  3. Consider establishing a green-revolving fund. This is the type of fund that keeps on giving. You use money from the fund for energy efficiency projects, and then you funnel your savings back into the fund to pay for future projects. You may be able establish a green revolving fund with grant money or with a gift from a sponsor whose name can be associated with the fund
    (e.g. “Willard Smith Green Revolving Fund”)
  4. Determine if you can implement the project in phases. Some projects must be fully implemented to begin saving energy. But some projects can be phased in, using savings from the first phase to fund subsequent phases. For example, you might be able to upgrade to energy efficiency lighting or begin using Events2HVAC in one building this year, and use your savings to implement these improvements to another building next year.
  5. Use as much on-hand capital as possible. Using available capital is less expensive than a loan. So even if you plan to seek a loan for your energy efficiency project, try to use some on-hand capital to decrease the loan amount and minimize interest expense.
  6. Check with your utility to find out if on-bill financing is available. If you must seek a loan for an energy efficiency project, on-bill financing is a good option for projects under $10,000. The utility will pay for energy efficiency improvements, and then add a portion of the cost to your utility bill each month. You will pay interest, of course, but the money will come out of your operating budget rather than showing up on your balance sheet, which is sometimes desirable.
  7. Consider Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing. Check to find out if PACE financing is available in your area. This is a good option for large projects, but it takes more effort than other financing options. You might also want to check with your state or local government to find out if PACE is available or if there are plans to offer it in the near future.

If the strategies above are not successful, try this one:

For more information on these and other energy efficiency financing options, see the white paper by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati titled “Innovations and Opportunities in Energy Efficiency Finance.”


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Founded in 1998, Streamside Solutions provides software products, solutions and services for the building automation industry.

Phone: (888) 320-4277



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