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Last Updated July 13, 2016

Program Overview


Financial Incentive



Incentive Type:

Loan Program


Energy Efficient Schools Initiative

Start Date:


Expiration Date:


Web Site:

Applicable Sectors:


Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:



The Energy Efficient Schools Initiative (EESI) was created in May 2008 to provide grants and loans to Tennessee school systems for capital outlay projects that meet energy efficient design and technology guidelines for school facilities.  All school systems in Tennessee are eligible to apply.

State government appropriated the original funding ($90 million) with a onetime transfer from the Lottery for Education Account reserve and Lottery for Education special reserve account for K-12 capital outlay. Additional money to the fund comes from interest earnings and other funds secured by the Energy Efficient Schools Council. The Council is administratively attached to the Department of Education.  

$12,000,000 is available to public school districts in 2016 for energy efficiency projects. Tennessee schools have already received $74,000,000 in low interest loans to fund facility improvements, which are repaid through energy cost savings. Most projects have generated positive cash flow over and above the annual loan payment amounts. The terms for this round of loans are an administrative cost fee of .075% on loans under $1,000,000 and 1% on loans in excess of $1,000,000. The payback period is determined by the annual energy cost savings and cannot exceed twelve years. Eligible projects include lighting retrofits and controls, HVAC upgrades, building automation systems, retro-commissioning, upgrades to more efficient appliances and certain building envelope improvements. Project required architectural and engineering services are also eligible.

All project applications will be reviewed by EESI’s Technical Advisory Committee, which will verify the proposed energy cost reductions to assure adequate savings to fund the loan debt. Assistance in completing the application will be provided to district personnel from EESI staff upon request. EESI staff can also recommend additional low cost project funding opportunities if the amount of funds they have available is less than what is needed. The deadline for submitting applications for 2016 was April 18, 2016.