Better Buildings Financing Navigator

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.

FINANCING LANDSCAPE

The diagram below summarizes the energy efficiency and renewable energy financing options available in the market. “Traditional” options are commonly used to finance energy projects in addition to other types of goods and services, whereas “specialized” options are specifically designed for energy projects. Organizations can also fund projects internally without seeking third-party financing. For a more detailed typology of financing options, see LBNL's "Current Practices in Efficiency Financing" report.

BROWSE FINANCING OPTIONS

Here you can sort the available financing options according to a variety of attributes such as balance sheet treatment, contract complexity, and typical close time. Simply select an attribute from the drop-down menu to sort accordingly.

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.

Each building sector faces different challenges and opportunities regarding financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. The sector-specific financing primers provide a summary of how energy financing is done within each sector.

 

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.