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Energy Incentive Programs, Washington

Updated January 2013

Washington utilities budgeted over $180 million in 2011 to promote increased energy efficiency in the state, excluding the offerings administered by the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance and Bonneville Power Authority (see below).

What public-purpose-funded energy efficiency programs are available in my state?

Washington has no public-purpose-funded energy efficiency programs.

What utility energy efficiency programs are available to me?

Seattle City Light offers a variety of energy efficiency programs to commercial and industrial customers through its Energy Smart Services initiative:

  • Free facility energy assessments are available to medium and large commercial customers in order to manage operating costs and identify energy saving opportunities.

  • Industrial customers may receive technical assistance and financial incentives to pay for all costs of an energy analysis/study, and up to 70% of efficiency project costs (based on electricity savings) including lighting upgrades, compressed air system upgrades, variable speed drives, heat recovery, electric furnace upgrades, controls, premium efficiency motors and most other measures that can save electricity.

  • Financial incentives, based on annual kWh savings (up to 70% of project costs), are available to medium and large commercial customers for installing energy-efficient equipment, including lighting, HVAC, controls, glazing, insulation and custom measures, as well as industrial process improvements. These incentives are available for both retrofit and new construction projects.

  • For new construction projects, Seattle City Light also offers funding to support design and installation of building system designs that generate energy-saving performance, and for energy efficient equipment including lighting, HVAC and most custom measures that can save energy. Seattle City Light may also elect to cover the cost of commissioning of some of the new construction measures supported by an Energy Smart Services grant.

  • For small commercial customers, rebates for replacing inefficient lighting are available through the Smart Business Program. Any small business in Seattle City Light's service area that is on Rate Schedule ESMC or ESMS (formerly rates 31 and 56) and is not part of a chain, campus or institution is eligible for this program.

  • Seattle City Light offers $80 rebates on Vending Miser units. These devices reduce the energy consumption of cold drink vending machines by using an occupancy sensor to power down the lights and compressor. All rebates require an incentive contract of at least $500, and must be approved by City Light before installation.

Puget Sound Energy (PSE) offers a variety of energy efficiency incentives:

  • Commercial rebates are available to help non-residential customers offset the costs of installing efficient equipment, including lighting and lighting controls, occupancy sensors, HVAC equipment, PC power management, commercial kitchen and refrigeration equipment.

  • Custom retrofit grants provide funding for up to 70% of the installed cost of most qualifying retrofit projects, and up to 50% of qualifying lighting upgrades for existing facilities, renovations, or new construction. Eligible efficiency measures include lighting retrofits, HVAC systems and controls, water heating, variable speed drives, compressed air systems, industrial processes and building commissioning. There's no limit to grant size as long as the funding meets eligibility requirements.

  • For building owners who want to achieve significant energy savings with no major capital expense, PSE's Building Tune Ups program offers two approaches. The Simplified Building Tune-Up program provides incentives for off-site consultation and online tracking tools. The Comprehensive Building Tune-Up offers incentives for existing building commissioning using approved providers with on-site services.

  • PSE provides funding and support to owners of multiple buildings who are interested in hiring a resource conservation manager to develop and implement a plan to manage energy, water, and solid waste costs. Typically, PSE pays for a portion of the first-year salary, and also provides assistance in achieving savings that will exceed the individual's salary over a period of three years.

Avista Utilities offers Energy Efficiency Incentives for a broad array of electric and natural gas efficiency measures and equipment in addition to technical assistance and design review services. Rebates are limited to eligible projects that achieve a simple payback of less than 8 years for lighting and less than 13 for other measures (e.g., HVAC, windows, insulation and renewable projects). NOTE: Avista natural gas rebate programs are currently available but under review by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission. The outcome of the review may result in program changes after March 1, 2013.

  • Site-Specific (Custom) Incentives, which provide custom incentives (up to 50% of incremental cost) for electric efficiency, fuel conversion and natural gas efficiency projects, including measures and equipment not included under other programs. The Commercial Lighting Incentive Program offers increased incentives for most T12 conversions for a limited time. Incentives are also available for other types of efficient indoor and outdoor lighting retrofits.

  • Food Service Equipment Rebates, which provide rebates for purchase of qualifying energy efficient electric and natural gas equipment. Rebates for natural gas food service equipment are available until March 1, 2013, but are under review.

  • Commercial HVAC Variable Frequency Drive Incentives provide $80 to $100 per HP for primary pumps and fans, depending on the type of equipment installed.

  • The Commercial Natural Gas HVAC program offers incentives for high efficiency natural gas furnaces of up to 225 kBtu/hr ($3.25 to $5.25/kBtu) and boilers of up to 300 kBtu/hr ($6.00 to $7.25/kBtu). This program is currently under review and available until March 1, 2013.

  • The Commercial Windows and Insulation program offers rebates for installing qualified windows ($3.50/sq. ft. for existing buildings and $1.00/sq. ft. for new construction), and wall, attic and roof insulation ($0.28 to $0.35/sq. ft.). Rebates for window and insulation projects in natural gas heated buildings are under review but available until March 1, 2013.

  • The new Standby Generator Block Heater program provides rebates for retrofit from a thermosiphon circulating block heater to a pump driven circulating block heater that operates continuously.

  • The Premium Efficiency Motors Rebate program offers incentives for installation of qualifying premium electric motors.

  • The Power Management for Personal Computer (PC) Networks program offers a $10 incentive per controlled PC for installation of software solutions which provide qualifying energy management and reporting functions.

  • Commercial Clothes Washer Rebates of $200 for purchase and installation of Energy Star or CEE-certified commercial clothes washers. Rebates for clothes washers heated with Avista natural gas hot water are currently under review and available until March 1, 2013.

  • The Green Motors Initiative, which, in conjunction with the Green Motors Practices Group, provides incentives of $1 per horsepower for repair/rewinds that improve reliability and efficiency of NEMA rated motors from 15 hp to 500 hp. Incentives are paid as instant rebates on invoices from participating service centers.

  • The Retro-Commissioning Program, which offers incentives to customers and qualified commissioning agents for optimizing the performance of systems that have never been commissioned. Qualifying buildings must have a minimum of 50,000 square feet of conditioned space, be older than 5 years, have an energy management control system (EMCS), have an Energy Use Index (EUI) greater than 100% of normal (according to Avista's EUI calculator), and have a minimum average occupancy rate above 50% over the previous two years. Rebates for retro-commissioning projects in natural gas heated buildings are currently under review and available until March 1, 2013.

PacifiCorp/Pacific Power offers two programs that federal facilities can take advantage of:

  • Washington Energy FinAnswer provides cash incentives for energy efficiency retrofits and new construction equal to $0.15/kWh of projected annual savings, plus $50/kW average monthly demand savings. Incentives are capped at 60% of the project cost, or for lighting, 50% of project savings. The program also incorporates a variety of engineering services, including facility energy analysis, detailed design assistance, competitive financing, commissioning, and post-installation savings verification.

  • Washington FinAnswer Express provides rebates for energy-efficient lighting, HVAC, motors and green motor rewinds, building envelope measures, PC power management equipment, compressed air equipment, and custom measures in existing buildings.

  • Washington FinAnswer Express for new construction and major renovation projects offers technical assistance and rebates for installation of energy-efficient lighting, HVAC, motors, building envelope measures, compressed air and other equipment that exceed code requirements.

Several public utility districts (PUDs) and cities in Washington offer energy efficiency programs to their commercial customers. The following table lists current programs for some of the largest PUDs (winter peak demand > 1,000 MW). For information on additional PUD programs, see The Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE).

Name of Public Utility District Programs Offered
Snohomish County PUD No 1 Rebates and Custom Incentives are offered for a variety of energy efficiency measures in existing buildings and new construction projects.
PUD No 1 of Clark County Business Conservation Programs provide technical assistance and a number of incentive programs for efficient lighting, heat pumps, programmable thermostats, industrial processes, windows, green motor rewinds, computer power management and custom efficiency improvement projects.
City of Tacoma Public Utilities Business conservation programs offer incentives for energy efficiency upgrade projects including HVAC, compressed air, custom building retrofits, lighting, motors and drives, and new construction.
PUD No 1 of Cowlitz County Financial incentives for commercial and industrial customers include energy-efficient lighting, and custom projects.
PUD No 3 of Mason County Free energy audits and a variety of rebates are available for efficient equipment and measures including heat pumps, duct sealing, lighting, green motor rewinds and custom projects in existing buildings and new construction.
City of Port Angeles The Weatherwise Service offers rebates for energy efficiency improvements including lighting, insulation and commercial appliances.

Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) offers several energy conservation programs relevant to federal customers:

  • BPA provides project analysis and development services through its Energy Smart Federal Partnership. Federal facilities located in areas that are served by public utilities receiving power from BPA may be eligible for energy efficiency incentives from their local utility. BPA may also be able to provide support in project analysis and development. In addition, a financing option is available to help federal agencies finance energy efficiency projects within the BPA-served territory. Interested federal agencies may contact their local utility representative or Allison Robbins of BPA at, or 503-230-5871. To learn if your utility is served by BPA, see the BPA territory map.

  • BPA's Implementation manual, updated semi-annually, provides utilities, program partners and regional stakeholders information on how to implement energy saving projects.

  • BPA's Commercial and Industrial Lighting program provides access to a lighting calculator, lighting trade allies, and incentives for energy-efficient lighting retrofits. More details are available through public utilities participating in BPA's program and through many of the Pacific Northwest's lighting trade allies. The Northwest Trade Ally Network also provides resources on regional lighting programs.

What load management/demand response options are available to me?

Seattle City Light offers a dynamic pricing option, Variable Rate General Service, for customers on Schedule HDC, under which the peak and off-peak electricity charges for each day are defined based upon daily electricity market prices.

PacifiCorp/Pacific Power offers the Energy Exchange program, an internet-based, voluntary demand reduction program open to customers with at least 1 MW of connected load. PacifiCorp notifies participating customers and posts a price on the Energy Exchange website for each hour in which load reductions are needed, and customers may respond by pledging to curtail a specified amount of load. Participants are paid the posted price per unit of measured energy reduction in each hour they curtail.

What distributed energy resource options are available to me?

Numerous public utility districts in Washington offer rebates and/or loans for solar water heating and/or photovoltaic installations. Consult the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) for information on programs that offer incentives for renewable distributed generation.

Using revenues generated from the sales of Green Tags, the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, accepts proposals for funding for renewable energy projects located in the Pacific Northwest. Any facility located in the Pacific Northwest (including Washington) may participate.

Puget Sound Energy's Renewable Energy Advantage Program (REAP) provides incentives from 12 cents to 54 cents/ kWh generated to eligible customers who use solar PV, wind, or anaerobic digesters to generate their own electricity. Systems with certain components manufactured in Washington State receive incentives at the high end of the range.

Are there energy efficiency programs sponsored by the state government?

For information on state-sponsored energy efficiency programs, contact the State Energy Office at the Department of Commerce.

What additional opportunities are available to me?

Pacific Northwest investor- and publicly-owned utilities, as well as public representatives, have banded together to offer energy efficiency market transformation initiatives under the auspices of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA), a non-profit organization. Federal customers should be aware of NEEA initiatives that could benefit their facilities, such as the Deep Energy Retrofits, Lighting Design Lab, and the Northwest Energy Education Institute.

Federal customers whose utilities have area-wide contracts through GSA (e.g., Cascade Natural Gas), may be able to take advantage of 3rd-party financed energy efficiency projects called utility energy services contracts (UESCs). Federal facilities should contact their account executive to determine the level of each utility's participation. Information is available on GSA's Energy Center of Expertise Library Page. Federal facilities should contact their account executive to determine the level of each utility's participation.

NOTE: Energy efficiency funds and demand response programs are updated at least annually.