Energy Efficiency Project Financing

Energy Efficiency Project Financing

A variety of barriers can prevent the funding of energy efficiency projects, from lack of similar projects for comparing expected savings to unclear metrics for analyzing performance. Fortunately, specialized financing mechanisms are available to help overcome upfront costs and other financing barriers. Additionally, industry leaders are collaborating on data collection and research efforts to help prove the link between energy efficiency and financial performance. These resources include case studies to help prove the value of efficiency projects, information on collaborative groups, and guidance documents to explain energy efficiency financing mechanisms.

Find Financing for Your Energy Efficiency Projects: Financing Navigator
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Financial Ally List

Financial Allies are actively seeking new partners to work with and can help drive energy efficiency success for commercial, multifamily, industrial, and public buildings. 

Events Calendar

Better Buildings partners participate in webinars, peer-exchange calls, meetings, and industry workshops and conferences. Browse upcoming events and opportunities to participate by month.

Alliance Activities

Participate in expert-led technology teams, test out an implementation model, join a technology campaign, or take part in a technology challenge or demonstration.

Featured Solutions

There are many ways to finance energy efficiency projects in buildings you own or occupy. The Navigator helps you cut through this complexity to secure financing that works for you. 
Customers can borrow money directly from banks or other lenders to pay for energy efficiency projects.
Under an Energy Performance Contract (EPC), an energy service company (ESCO) coordinates installation and maintenance of efficiency equipment in a customer’s facilities and is paid from the associated energy savings.
Lease Financing Fact Sheet
A lease is a simple financing structure that allows a customer to use energy efficiency equipment without purchasing it outright.
PACE Financing Fact Sheet
Commercial property-assessed clean energy (CPACE) is a financing structure in which building owners borrow money for energy efficiency or renewable energy projects and make repayments via an assessment on the their property tax bill.
On-bill financing (OBF) and repayment (OBR) are financing options in which a utility or private lender supplies capital to a customer to make energy efficiency improvements and is repaid through regular payments on an existing utility bill.
An Energy Services Agreement (ESA) is a pay-for-performance, off-balance sheet financing solution that allows customers to implement energy and water efficiency projects with no upfront capital expenditure.
Internal Funding Fact Sheet
Internal funding refers to the use of an organization’s existing financial resources to pay for energy efficiency projects, rather than seeking external financing.

Other Resources


This guidance discusses the five major components of a clean energy lending product, one by one, and describes each component's major characteristics. It also illustrates the relationship between the components.
This guide provides a snapshot of the federal finance facilities available for energy efficiency upgrades and clean energy deployment.

Implementation Models

This implementation model describes how Prologis, Inc., took advantage of PACE financing to retrofit its headquarters at the historic Pier 1 building in San Francisco.
This implementation model highlights a financing mechanism developed by Metrus Energy; the company created an Efficiency Services Agreement to deploy multi-measure energy efficiency retrofits in BAE Systems facilities with no upfront costs.
Kuakini Medical Center Implementation Model
This implementation model describes how Metrus Energy funded 100% of critical facility improvements and equipment upgrades for Kuakini Medical Center through a projected 25% reduction in its total utility bill.
This implementation model describes how Citi used an innovative third-party energy services agreement to deliver efficient electricity and cooling at its London data center, and plans to implement this model at other U.S. facilities in the future.

Showcase Project

PNC faced the technical challenge of designing a branch that generates at least as much energy as it consumes. For this project, PNC decided to push the boundaries of its existing, high performance buildings.

Additional Information

State Incentives (DSIRE)
A comprehensive database of incentives, rebates and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States.

See Action Financing Solution and Existing Buildings Working Groups
The mission of the Financing Solutions Working Group for the State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network (SEE Action) is to provide responsive financing instruments and mechanisms (loans, leases, and power and service agreements) that support widespread adoption of energy efficiency technologies in the United States. The working group recognizes that effective financing is a vital tool that can encourage implementation of energy efficiencies by strengthening the value proposition of investments consumers consider making in energy conservation.

Green Building Financial Consortium
Offers a free, downloadable book that details how to value and underwrite sustainable properties.

Green Revolving Funds: A guide to Implementation and Management
A white paper that helps organizations build the business case for energy efficiency by establishing a green revolving fund. The paper focuses on higher education, but most of its insights are applicable across sectors.

Energy and Financial Modeling tools
The Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) has developed a set of tools and templates that will save time and increase the quality of energy modeling. These include the Energy Model Input Translator (EMIT), Model Manager, LCCAid, and Elements.

The RMI Retrofit Depot Guides to Managing and Identifying Opportunities for Deep Retrofits
RMI provides three guides to help enact a deep retrofit: (1) Managing Deep Retrofits, (2) Identifying Design Opportunities, and (3) Building the Business Case.


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