This Energy Efficiency Incentives Guide provides information about regional incentive programs that encourage energy-efficient improvements in the built environment.
Energy efficiency incentive programs typically require an energy audit to be performed by a qualified energy rater and work to be performed by a certified contractor. These "qualifications" -- often times a BPI or RESNET Certification -- establish eligibility for incentives, rebates, and low interest loans. As a result, states with incentive programs generally have an increased demand for the energy auditing skill set, leading to greater employment opportunities for BPI Building Analysts, HERS Raters, Weatherization Professionals, and Home Performance contractors.
Nationwide Incentives & Resources
DSIRE - Database for State Incentives for Renewable Energy
DSIRE is a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility, and federal incentives and policies that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. Established in 1995 and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, DSIRE is an ongoing project of the N.C. Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.
ENERGY STAR is a government-backed program helping businesses and individuals protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices. Starting in 1992 as a voluntary labeling program, ENERGY STAR has expanded to include major appliances, office equipment, lighting, home electronics, and more. ENERGY STAR provides easy-to-use home and building assessment tools so that homeowners and building managers can start down the path to greater efficiency and cost savings.
U.S. Department of Energy
The U.S. Department of Energy features a state-by-state guide to approved tax credits, rebates, and savings. Filter by state, sector, product, and/or provider to see all the options in your area! This resource is constantly updated, so you don't have to miss out on any savings!
Alternative Funding Options for Energy Improvements
Unsecured Private-Capital Lending Programs - These programs allow contractors to provide direct financing to their customers. One example is the GeoSmart Loans from the Electric & Gas Industries Association. These loans are available for amounts up to $25,000 for efficiency retrofits and solar installations, with competitive interest rates, 24-hour approval, and direct deposit of funds.
The Federal Housing Administration's Energy-Efficient Mortgage Program - This program allows homeowners to finance energy improvements as part of a home purchase or refinance. By working with commercial financial institutions to increase funding, and conducting consumer outreach through real estate professionals and mortgage brokers, this program could be expanded to reach many more American homeowners.
On-Bill Financing (OBF) Programs - These types of programs allow homeowners to repay energy improvement loans via a surcharge on their monthly utility bills. This eliminates the upfront cost to the consumer for clean energy improvements by financing all costs not covered through rebates. These programs stretch out the financing costs over a sufficiently long period to make the repayments less than the savings. On-bill repayment allows for a streamlined process as utilities already have a billing relationship with their customers, as well as access to information about their energy usage patterns and payment history.
Utility Demand-Side Management (DSM) Programs - These are utility-sponsored programs designed to encourage consumers to modify their level and pattern of energy usage. Expenses are recouped by utilities through regulatory rate cases. These programs are distinct from programs supported by public benefits funds. This can include efforts to advance smart grid technology.