State and Local Policy Database

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings and Renewable Energy

Beyond codes, there are a variety of policy options available to cities to incentivize and/or require the energy-efficient operation of existing private buildings and/or the incorporation of efficiency measures in new private buildings. This sub-category includes information on four topics:

  • Building Energy Savings Goals – Building energy use reduction targets specific to or including the private building sector, such as participation as a Community Partner in the DOE Better Buildings Challenge.
  • Incentive and Financing Programs for Efficient Buildings – A description of the city-provided financial or non-financial incentives (e.g. rebates, fee reductions or waivers, grants, tax abatements or credits, technical assistance, expedited permitting, density bonuses) or financing mechanisms (e.g. property assessed clean energy bonds, on-bill repayment, tax increment financing, revolving loan funds) for efficient buildings which are not administered through a utility; information on the categories of private commercial and private residential buildings which are eligible for each program.
  • Green Building Requirements – Above-code green building requirements, which include energy efficiency standards; information on the categories of private commercial, private residential, and/or private buildings using public funds included in the green building requirements.
  • Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements – Requirements for building energy retrofits or retrocommissioning for private residential and/or commercial buildings; building energy audit requirements for private residential and/or commercial buildings.

Green Building Requirements

Arlington uses form based code that requires building to LEED standards for commercial centers and to LEED, EarthCraft, or Arlington's Green Home Choice program for residential development. All affordable housing that receives public funds must comply with EarthCraft standards. 

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

Arlington does not yet require commercial or residential buildings to take energy efficiency actions such as energy audits or retro-commissioning.  

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings

Arlington provides expedited permitting for residential construction, density bonuses for commercial construction, as well as rebates for energy-efficient lighting retrofits.

Last Updated: May 2017

Building Energy Savings Goals

Boulder has not yet published an energy-intensity reduction target for its private buildings.

Green Building Requirements

Boulder has not yet established above-code building requirements for any class of building.

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

Through the Smart Regs program, Boulder requires single and multi-family rental homes to reach a certain level of energy efficiency by 2019. If compliance is not achieved, retrofits are then required.

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings

Home and business owners are eligible for loans through EnergySmart that can be used on energy efficiency projects. 

Last Updated: October 2015

Incentives

The city’s Energy Master Plan outlines state incentives for energy efficiency projects, but the city itself does not offer incentives for energy efficiency or solar energy projects.

Last updated: September 2020

Building Energy Savings Goals

Burlington has not yet published an energy-intensity reduction target for its private buildings.

Green Building Requirements

All construction is required to meet the Vermont State Commercial or Residential Building Efficiency Standards.

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

The residential sector is subject to the Time of Sale Energy Efficiency Ordinance, which mandates minimum energy efficiency upgrades must be made when buildings are sold. 

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings

The Burlington Electric Department provides on-bill financing for commercial efficiency projects.

Last Updated: October 2015

Building Energy Savings Goals

Carrboro has not yet published an energy-intensity reduction target for its private buildings.

Green Building Requirements

Carrboro has not yet established above-code building requirements for any class of building.

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

Carrboro does not yet require commercial or residential buildings to take energy efficiency actions such as energy audits or retro-commissioning.  

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings

Carrboro established and is maintaining an Energy Efficiency Revolving Loan Fund for small businesses.

Last Updated: April 2014

Building Energy Savings Goals

Charlottesville has not yet published an energy-intensity reduction target for its private buildings.

Green Building Requirements

Charlottesville has green building requirements for municipal buildings, but privately-funded commercial and residential buildings are not subject to green building requirements.

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

Charlottesville does not yet require commercial or residential buildings to take energy efficiency actions such as energy audits or retro-commissioning.  

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings

Charlottesville has several incentives for efficient buildings.  Commercial and residential buildings that meet energy efficiency standards are eligible for a reduced tax rate of 50% on the building value for one year.  Businesses in Charlottesville can receive funding from the Clean Energy Commercial Loan Program to invest in energy efficiency improvements.  Through LEAP, Charlottesville also funds the limited time 0% Power Saving Loan Program to buy down Power Savings Loans to a 0% interest rate over a five year term.

Last Updated: October 2015

Building Energy Savings Goals

Dubuque has not yet published an energy-intensity reduction target for its private buildings.

Green Building Requirements

Dubuque has not yet established above-code building requirements for any class of building.

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

Dubuque does not yet require commercial or residential buildings to take energy efficiency actions such as energy audits or retro-commissioning.  

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings

Dubuque does not yet provide incentives or financing products for home or building owners making energy efficient upgrades.

Last Updated: October 2013

Building Energy Savings Goals

Knoxville has not established a goal to reduce energy intensity across private building stock.

Green Building Requirements

Green building certification is included in scoring criteria for Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and PILOT, but there are no above code requirements for private building or buildings financed with public funds.

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

Knoxville does not yet require commercial or residential buildings to take energy efficiency actions such as energy audits or retro-commissioning.  

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings

Financing is available to qualifying residents that retrofit to energy certification standards.  TIF scoring is available for commercial buildings and favors buildings that achieve energy certification.

Last Updated: October 2015

Building Energy Savings Goals

Lawrence has not yet published an energy-intensity reduction target for its private buildings.

Green Building Requirements

Lawrence has not yet established above-code building requirements for any class of building.

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

Lawrence does not yet require commercial or residential buildings to take energy efficiency actions such as energy audits or retro-commissioning.  

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings

The City Commission passed a permit fee reduction for solar thermal installations, an energy-efficient technology, in residential and commercial properties.

Last Updated: October 2015

Building Energy Savings Goals

Madison has set the goal to reduce energy consumption across all building stock by 50% from the 2008 baseline by 2030. This goal is outlined in the Sustainability Plan.

Green Building Requirements

Madison has not yet established above-code building requirements for any class of building.

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

Madison does not yet require commercial or residential buildings to take energy efficiency actions such as energy audits or retro-commissioning.  

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings

Green Madison offers commercial property owners rebates and financing. Residential property owners are offered rebates and low interest energy efficiency financing for approved projects.

Last Updated: October 2013

Montgomery County offers nine incentives for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and low-income energy improvement projects.

Montgomery County provides an energy efficiency tax credit of $250 for homeowners, offers a weatherization assistance program for low-income households, and C-PACE for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. The county also offers a commercial building tax credit depending on level of LEED certification. The Montgomery County Green Bank finances energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades for residents and businesses.

Please note that each incentive/program is tallied based on the building types and energy resources eligible for award. For example, a PACE financing program that offers energy efficiency and renewable energy financing to both residential and commercial property owners is counted as four incentives.

Last updated: December 2019

Commercial and multifamily benchmarking

The State of California adopted Assembly Bill (AB) 802 in October of 2015. The policy requires commercial and multifamily buildings greater than 50,000 square feet and larger to benchmark energy usage annually. California requires commercial buildings to obtain and disclose ENERGY STAR ratings to transactional counter parties and the California Energy Commission at the time of a sale, lease, or financing for the entire building through AB 1130.

Last Update: September 2020

Building Energy Savings Goals

Park City has not yet published an energy-intensity reduction target for its private buildings.

Green Building Requirements

Park City has not yet established above-code building requirements for any class of building.

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

Park City does not yet require commercial or residential buildings to take energy efficiency actions such as energy audits or retro-commissioning.  

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings

Park City does not yet provide incentives or financing products for home or building owners making energy efficient upgrades.

Last Updated: October 2015

We could not find information on the number of incentives the city offers for energy efficiency, solar energy, and/or low-income energy improvement projects.

Last updated: March 2020