Energy Incentive Programs, Washington

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Updated February 2015

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

Washington has no public-purpose-funded energy efficiency programs. However, the state's utilities budgeted over $215 million in 2013 to promote increased energy efficiency in the state. Additional resources were allocated through the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA), Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), and Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NWPCC) regional organizations.

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 to manage operating costs and identify energy saving opportunities;

  • Industrial customers can receive technical assistance and financial incentives to pay for 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;

  • Commercial customers also receive financial incentives, based on annual kWh savings (up to 70% of project costs) 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 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;

  • 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 typically pay $0.30/kWh and $5/therm for first-year energy savings for most qualifying retrofit projects (maximum 70% of the installed cost). Payment is typically $0.20/kWh for lighting up to 50% of the cost of qualifying 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 rebates for a wide array of efficient equipment including commercial lighting, food service equipment, and variable frequency drives.

Avista also offers the following incentives:

  • Site-specific (custom) incentives pay up to 50% of incremental cost for electric efficiency and fuel conversion projects not included under other programs. Remuneration levels are based on the simple payback period, with longer payback projects receiving higher incentives. To be eligible, customers must alert Avista in advance of any installation;

  • The Commercial Natural Gas HVAC program offers incentives that range from $6 - $10 per thousand Btu/h depending on the system installed;

  • The Power management for PC networks program offers a $5 incentive per controlled PC for the installation of software solutions that provide qualifying energy management and reporting functions;

  • The Green Motors Initiative operates in conjunction with the Green Motors Practices Group and provides incentives of $1 per horsepower for repair/rewinds that improve reliability and efficiency of NEMA rated motors from 15 to 500 hp. Incentives are paid as an instant rebate on the invoice from a participating service center;

  • The retro-commissioning program offers incentives 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 five years, possess 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 of not less than 50% over the previous two years.

PacifiCorp/Pacific Power has consolidated its incentives into the wattsmart business program.

  • Typical upgrades cover a wide array of projects from lighting to HVAC to green motor rewinds;

  • Custom projects pay $0.15 per first-year kWh savings (maximum 70% and one-year simple payback). If required, individual measure incentives will be adjusted downward pro-rata so the project has a simple payback after incentives of one year.

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 Renewables and Efficiency (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 Ways to Save at Work 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 Commercial Conservation Rebates are available for energy efficiency improvements including lighting, heat pumps, commercial appliances, and industrial process improvements.


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

  • BPA provides project analysis and development 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. 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;

  • 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 programs cover lighting and refrigeration, HVAC measures, envelope, plug load, and commercial equipment. Incentives for custom projects are also offered. More details are available through the utilities that purchase BPA power as well as from many of the Pacific Northwest's lighting trade allies.

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

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.

Puget Sound Energy's Renewable Energy Advantage Program (REAP) provides incentives from $0.12 to $0.54/ kWh generated to eligible customers who use solar PV, wind, or anaerobic digesters to generate their own electricity.

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?

The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA), The Lighting Design Lab and the Northwest Energy Education Institute offer educational resources and training opportunities.

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). Information is available in GSA's Energy Division Library. Federal facilities should contact their account executive to determine the level of each utility's participation.