Green Buildings: The Expanding Role of State Clean Energy Funds

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Case Study

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"Green" buildings are typically designed to minimize environmental impacts in multiple areas (e.g., energy, water, materials), and to maximize the health and quality of life of building occupants. Green buildings can provide a niche market for renewable energy technologies for several reasons. First, designers of green buildings often wish to include renewable energy systems due to their associated environmental benefits and visibility. Green buildings also tend to be new buildings, where renewable energy technologies are often most cost-effective to install. Due to their energy efficiency and other features, green buildings may also provide opportunities to leverage additional funds – e.g., utility or state energy efficiency funds. Last, green buildings tend to receive a relatively high degree of public attention, increasing the exposure of any renewable energy systems they incorporate. This case study examines the efforts of several state renewable energy funds to promote renewable energy use in green buildings. These efforts fall into two categories: targeted funding for renewable energy systems used specifically on green (or at least energy-efficient) buildings, and general green building promotion. The states that are covered include Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Oregon, Illinois, and Ohio. Innovative Features State clean energy funds have explored a variety of methods to promote the use of renewable energy technologies on green buildings, including:

  • Design and planning incentives;
  • Construction incentives;
  • Public education;
  • Training;
  • Organizational support;
  • Schools support; and,
  • Research


Case Studies of State Support for Renewable Energy

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