Energy Efficiency Grant Program

HVAC Worker doing maintenance

Energy Retrofits for Public Buildings

The Energy Efficiency Grant Program funds projects for improvements to existing public-owned facilities and related projects that result in energy and operational cost savings. Energy Efficiency grants are serving communities throughout Washington.

Now Accepting Applications: 2022 Request for Applications

Commerce is now accepting applications for Energy Efficiency 2022 Grants. Commerce will award up to $1.8 million for energy efficiency projects through this program. Applications are due May 25, 2022, at 4 p.m.

Program documents

Application resources

Key changes from previous RFAs:

  • Projects will be required to utilize non-fossil fueled heating equipment or to demonstrate why that is not possible or cost-effective.*
  • The maximum award amount will be reduced from $500,000 to $350,000.
  • Additional communities will be eligible for a lower threshold for matching funds.
  • Projects in certain priority communities will receive a preference for awards.

The RFA includes full details and definitions.

*The Life Cycle Cost Analysis tool on the WA OFM website should be used for comparing the savings of a fossil-fuel solution versus an alternative. That report will be a supplemental requirement of the application.

Applicants must be public entities in the state of Washington:

  • Local agencies – Any city, town, county, special purpose district, municipal corporation, agency, port district or authority, or political subdivision of any type, or any other entity or authority of local government in corporate form or otherwise.
  • Public higher education institutions
  • K-12 public school districts
  • State agencies –State Agencies are highly encouraged to apply to the State Project Improvement Grant program (SPI) if eligible.
  • Federally-recognized Tribal governments

Not open to non-governmental organizations. 

Energy Efficiency grants are offered for improvements to existing publicly-owned (including Tribally-owned) facilities and related projects that result in energy and operational cost savings. Projects will use non-fossil fuel devices and systems whenever possible and be cost-effective.

Projects in small cities and towns (populations under 5,000) will receive at least 20% of the funding awarded. 

  • The construction phase of the project must be completed within 18 months of award letter return.
  • No more than 50% of energy savings (in kWh) can come from lighting efficiency projects.
  • PCB lighting projects at schools may be 100% of the energy savings.

Applicants must provide 50% of project cost from other non-state sources.  Total project cost excludes any contingency funds.

Certain priority communities are eligible for lower match requirements of 33%, excluding contingency funds.  Priority Communities include:

  • Rural: Projects not located in a city or town that has a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants and the urbanized area contiguous and adjacent to such a city or town, as defined by the USDA Rural Energy Pilot Program.
  • Highly Impacted Communities: Projects located in a census district with a census tract with an overall rank of 9 or 10 on the Environmental Health Disparities V 1.1 tool created by Washington Department of Health, or any census tract with Tribal lands, as listed in the Environmental Health Disparities tool.
  • Lower-income: Projects located in a city, county, or Tribal Area with an area median income less than 80% of State Median Income (currently $59,020), according to the American Community Survey 5-year estimates. Use the median income of the incorporated city in which the project is located, or the county if the project is located outside of an incorporated city. Tribes may instead use the median income of Tribal Areas (Reservations and Off-Reservation Trust Lands), as defined in the American Community Survey, for projects that are located in these areas.
  • Tribal communities: Projects of federally recognized Tribal governments.

Projects that meet these criteria will receive higher scores. Any eligible project will still be considered for this grant if it does not meet some or all of these criteria:

  • Projects with shorter calculated payback period.
  • Projects that provide more matching funds from other sources, above the minimum requirements.
  • Applicant has not received energy efficiency funding from this program previously.
  • School lighting projects that remove PCBs.
  • Projects in priority communities.
  • Projects that demonstrate community input and benefits.

Please sign up for email updates to receive RFA announcements and other updates about this program.

All dates in 2022

  • April 4 – May 17: Questions accepted by email
  • May 25: Applications due by 4 p.m.
  • July: Awards Announced

Quick links

Additional resources

Contact us

Send an email to:
energyretrofits@commerce.wa.gov

Kristen Kalbrener, Program Manager
energyretrofits@commerce.wa.gov
360-515-8112

Jennifer Grove, Managing Director
jennifer.grove@commerce.wa.gov
360-763-2213

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