Financial Planning

Financing Decarbonization Retrofits

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Insights from the Empire Building Challenge

Financing can make or break a project. Presenting the different financing options to the project ownership team and decision-makers at the onset can increase the likelihood that a project will be implemented. Below is a non-exhaustive list of currently available financing resources and an overview of options to pay for energy-related building improvements. 

Incentives and Rebates 

All project teams should investigate federal, state, and local utility incentive programs and rebates, including as part of their financing model. Certain incentives are predictable and reliable enough that they can reasonably be included in the decision-making process with relatively low risk (e.g., incentives for lighting upgrades). Specialized incentive programs for new technologies with large carbon reduction potential should also be considered as they may significantly improve the financial performance of a decarbonization solution. For example, studying and pursuing incentives associated with heat pumps may reduce the payback time or improve the NPV of heating electrification measures.

Find more information on local utility programs in the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE). 

NY Green Bank

NY Green Bank (NYGB) fills gaps in the market where financing may not be available from conventional lenders   by offering financing for a wide variety of building decarbonization projects.  The NYGB can come in at multiple points in the capital stack and project lifecycle, including: 

  • Predevelopment
  • Construction/construction-to-permanent
  • Term
  • Mid-cycle improvement loans
  • Preferred equity

NYGB also offers creating financing solutions, such as:

  • On-lease financing for commercial tenant efficiency improvements
  • Energy saving loans for ESCOs
  • Predevelopment loans for NYCHA PACT conversions

Learn more about NYGB.

New York Energy Efficiency Corporation

The New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation (NYCEEC) is a clean energy and energy efficiency lender, financing a wide range of energy efficiency and clean energy technologies throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, including: 

  • Energy efficiency
  • Renewables
  • Storage
  • Fuel conversions
  • High performance/Passive House Buildings

NYCEEC is also the City of New York’s designated administrator of the NYC Accelerator PACE Financing program. Learn more about the NYC Accelerator PACE Financing program.

PACE Financing

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing is available for commercial and multi-family building owners. Unlike conventional financing, PACE is repaid in installments through a charge on the subject property’s tax bill, allowing for longer term, flexible financing. Read more about PACE financing guidelines.

  • PACE in New York City: NYC Accelerator PACE is offered by the New York City Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice, in partnership with the New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation (NYCEEC), who oversees PACE applications and approvals of the PACE Lenders for New York City. View a list of pre-qualified PACE lenders in New York City.
  • PACE outside New York City: PACE financing is available through the Energy Improvement Corporation’s Energize NY OPEN C-PACE program (EIC). Learn more about the EIC program.

On-Lease Financing for Commercial Tenants

Improving the energy efficiency of leased spaces in commercial buildings is key to supporting building-wide decarbonization efforts. The NY Green Bank offers an innovative financial product for commercial tenants to access financing to reduce their energy consumption, utility costs, and environmental impacts. This may be achieved without upfront investment and with the potential to generate positive cash flow as soon as efficiency improvements are placed in service. Through this innovative financing option, NYGB provides funding to the commercial property owner, who can offer their commercial tenants financing to make energy efficiency improvements to their leased spaces. The tenants repay the building owner via an on-lease repayment mechanism. Contact NYGB to learn more about their offerings.

Financing Options by Typology

Visit NYC Accelerator to learn more about the range of financing options available for different building and ownership types, including an option to contact Financing Specialists from the New York City Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice for additional support.