According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a variety of financial incentives are available to help accelerate and support energy-efficient lighting upgrades involving LEDs, fluorescent lighting using electronic ballasts, lighting controls, and other high-performing and energy-saving technologies. Among these are:
- Federal Government Incentives – these include the Federal National Mortgage Association, which provides a financial incentive through the Fannie Mae Multifamily Green Financing Business by including financing for energy and water efficiency property improvements in mortgage financing for multifamily properties and cooperatives.
- State Government Incentives – currently, 36 states (72%) have incentivized the use of energy-efficient lighting through the extension of rebates, low or zero-interest loans, or tax incentive programs designed to encourage the installation of these products.
- Public Benefit Funds -- currently, 30 states have public benefit funds dedicated to promoting energy efficiency; this money is typically collected through mandatory service charges on consumer electricity bills or through mandatory contributions by utilities and is designated for energy efficiency purposes such as lighting rebate and efficiency loan programs. According to studies, many of these programs report that every dollar invested by their public benefit fund generates at least two or more dollars in savings and other benefits.
- Local Government Incentives and PACE programs -- local governments may offer grants, loans, or other incentives to encourage consumers to use energy-efficient lighting; many states have also authorized Property Accessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, through which property owners can finance energy-efficient upgrades through assessments on their tax bill.
- Utility Incentive Programs -- roughly two-thirds of the country currently has access to an incentive program on energy-efficient lighting offered by their local or regional utility.
While upgrades to energy-efficient lighting technologies such as LEDs and high-efficiency fluorescent lamps often make economic sense on their own, the introduction of financial incentives into the equation helps to further increase project ROIs and shorten payback periods. For these reasons, it pays to investigate your incentive options and capitalize on these opportunities to help offset the cost of a beneficial lighting upgrade. For more information on these options, visit the NCSL at http://www.ncsl.org/research/energy/energy-efficient-lighting.aspx.