Lead Performer: Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) – Arlington, VA
-- Deloitte – New York, NY
-- Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) – Boston, MA
-- Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) – Washington, D.C.
-- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – Boston, MA
DOE Total Funding: $750,000
Cost Share: $750,000
Project Term: April 1, 2015 – June 30, 2018
Funding Opportunity: Advancing Solutions to Improve the Energy Efficiency of U.S. Commercial Buildings (DE-FOA-0001168)


The project’s goal is to drive energy and carbon reduction in the retail sector by improving retail energy managers’ ability to secure financing for efficiency projects. The project’s objectives are to create a suite of resources that will help retailers improve relationships with their finance departments, establish dedicated energy efficiency budgets, improve project proposal processes, improve finance team awareness of energy project value, improve project piloting processes, establish energy innovation funds, and utilize external financing where necessary. These resources will be supported and demonstrated during education events and company consultations.

Financial management is a top priority for retail energy managers for whom better access to capital and finance enables efficiency projects that would not otherwise be completed. Though it is a top focus, many retail energy managers lack even basic relationships with their internal finance teams, and less than one-third of retailers participating in a Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) 2014 survey saw efficiency budgets increase from 2013 to 2014, if they had a dedicated budget at all. Fortunately, some retailers have developed replicable energy finance approaches—such as those featured as Implementation Models in DOE’s Better Buildings Challenge— that this project will implement across the industry  to improve and scale energy managers’ ability to secure financing for energy projects.


This project is being done because many retail energy managers currently have financially sound projects that go incomplete due to lack of or tough competition for internal capital. The project audience is both retail energy managers and retail finance professionals.

If successful, the project will result in new energy efficiency or renewable energy projects in well over one hundred buildings and supply the industry with financing strategies for more reliable sources of capital for new energy projects. The retail companies who will benefit from and implement the project recommendations represent tens of thousands of stores with an estimated $433 million achievable in reduced energy spend, or roughly 4 billion kWh and 3 million metric tons of CO2.


DOE Technology Manager: Holly Carr
Principal Investigator: Erin Hiatt, RILA