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Explore Financing Options

Not sure where to start on energy efficiency or renewable energy financing? Use this page to explore financing options and see how they compare to each other. Anywhere in the page, click on a Financing Option Button to learn more about that option, including how to connect with providers who can finance your projects. For more information on how financing for energy projects is done within each sector, view the sector energy financing primers below.

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Financing Landscape

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Is the financing option available throughout the U.S., or limited to certain areas that have the appropriate policies and programs in place? 

Sector Energy Financing Primers

Looking up at sky scrapers from ground level

The commercial sector is large, diverse, and represents substantial energy savings potential as commercial buildings represent just under one-fifth of U.S. energy consumption. Companies in the commercial sector range from large corporations with hundreds of properties across the country to small businesses with one or two properties. A range of financing solutions are available to companies of all sizes and structures that are looking to implement energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

Industrial complex

The industrial sector is a significant consumer of energy, accounting for nearly a third of energy consumption in the US. Industrial facilities are often energy intensive due to their size and the energy consumption of process and cross-cutting industrial technologies such as furnaces and compressed air systems. There are important opportunities to save energy by implementing best practices and energy saving technologies. Manufacturers are using a variety of financing strategies to fund energy efficiency, some of them quite innovative.

interior of neoclassical building with desks and lamps with green lampshades

Energy consumption in state and local government buildings totals 980 trillion Btus annually – more than half of the total energy use of all government-owned buildings in the United States. With a 20% improvement in energy performance, these buildings could save $6 billion annually in avoided energy costs. Energy efficiency in the public sector reduces operational costs, frees up much-needed funding for public priorities, and demonstrates good stewardship of taxpayer dollars.

contemporary building with solar panels on roof

There are more than 18 million market-rate and affordable multifamily housing units in the U.S., and one in six American households resides in a multifamily building. Financing energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation projects in multifamily buildings can be challenging as the sector’s diversity, complexity, and unique characteristics create barriers to implementation, but new financing mechanisms and other resources are creating opportunities for building owners.

Emergency Hospital Building Exterior

The healthcare sector accounts for over 4.1 billion square feet of floor space in the United States and spends over $5 billion annually on energy. Energy costs can consume 1-3 percent of a typical healthcare facility’s operating budget, which often represents an estimated 15% or more of profits. The sector has been a market leader in the adoption of innovative internal funding strategies for energy projects, and other common financing solutions for energy efficiency and renewable energy include leases, loans, and energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs).

Building with neoclassical facade

The higher education sector accounts for over 5 billion square feet of floor space in the United States and spends an estimated $6 billion annually on energy costs. Higher education institutions play a unique role in their communities as labs for innovation and research, and many schools are using innovative financing strategies to implement energy efficiency and renewable energy. The sector has been a market leader in the adoption of energy savings performance contracting (ESPC) and, more recently, green revolving funds. Other common financing approaches include leases, loan and debt financing, and other forms of internal funding.

Financing Toolkits

Finance and Resilience

The Finance and Resilience Roadmap is designed to help commercial building owners develop a plan for measuring, managing, and mitigating resilience risk. It is the result of the Department of Energy's Finance and Resilience Initiative, which brings together leading experts from finance, insurance, real estate, and other fields to foster clarity, collaboration, and guidance on emerging resilience issues and how they affect energy and financial performance in buildings.

two people reviewing schematics at a construction site
Commercial PACE Financing for New Construction

This toolkit provides energy resources and energy project case studies for building owners and developers to take advantage of commercial PACE for new construction.

Two energy meters
A Guide to Efficiency-as-a-Service

This toolkit provides resources and project case studies for building owners, operators, and occupants that may want to take advantage of efficiency-as-a-service to improve energy and water performance in their facilities.

solar panel
Financing for Resilience with Commercial PACE

This toolkit provides an overview of CPACE financing to help building owners, operators, and occupants improve resilience in their facilities.

Green Piggy Bank
Green Revolving Funds

This toolkit provides cross-sector guidance on establishing a green revolving fund to overcome the common barrier of dedicated funding. A green revolving fund is an internal capital pool that is dedicated to funding energy efficiency, renewable energy, and/or sustainability projects that generate cost savings. A portion of those savings is then used to replenish the fund.

Ready to take the next step? Answer a few simple questions that will help you find financing options that are right for your organization, or connect with financing providers directly.