Maine municipalities with 4,000 residents or fewer have an opportunity to apply for enhanced incentives from Efficiency Maine for high-performance heat pumps and LED lighting projects in municipal buildings. By launching this limited-time offer, Efficiency Maine aims to accelerate heating, ventilation, and air conditioning upgrades and lighting conversions in municipal buildings, according to a news release from Efficiency Maine, based in Augusta.

Eligible buildings that qualify for this enhanced incentive are community centers, fire stations, police stations, public safety buildings (combined fire and police services), public works facilities (office garages, bus garages), and town halls, libraries, sewer districts, and water districts. Outbuildings, such as sport, storage, and playground buildings, schools, pump stations, and modular nonpermanent structures are not eligible.

Funds for eligible accepted projects are provided by Efficiency Maine’s Commercial and Industrial Prescriptive Program with an additional contribution from The Nature Conservancy in Maine.

“Small municipalities are especially susceptible to budget constraints that would prevent them from upgrading municipal buildings,” said Rick Meinking, senior program manager for Commercial Initiatives at Efficiency Maine, according to the release. “We’re pleased to be working with The Nature Conservancy in Maine to help these municipalities improve energy efficiency and lower energy costs.”

The heat pump incentives are $2,600 per single-zone system with a maximum of three systems, or $7,800. Efficiency Maine is contributing $1,600 of the $2,600 and The Nature Conservancy is contributing $1,000. This limited-time offer will support the installation of 100 heat pumps. Lighting incentives, provided solely by Efficiency Maine, include a fixed price per kilowatt hour saved in the first year and are subject to a cap of 90% of the total cost.

“The Nature Conservancy is committed to supporting Maine communities’ transitions to clean, efficient sources of energy,” said Kate Dempsey, state director for The Nature Conservancy in Maine, according to the release. “We’re excited to collaborate with Efficiency Maine on this initiative to help small municipalities reduce their carbon footprint and save on energy costs.”

The limited-time offer began on Dec. 29, 2020. The application deadline is March 31. Accepted projects must be complete by June 1. Interested municipalities can get more information about this funding opportunity on the Efficiency Maine website

Efficiency Maine’s Commercial and Industrial Prescriptive Program offers fixed incentives to reduce the cost of projects and to improve energy efficiency for various sectors, including businesses, municipalities, schools and higher education facilities, manufacturing and other industrial facilities, as well as other non-residential facilities, and multifamily and condominium buildings with five or more units.

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