Energy Efficient Schools Initiative - Loans

March 06, 2023


The Energy Efficient Schools Initiative (EESI) was created in May 2008 to provide 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.  

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.

Program Overview

Implementing Sector: State
Category: Financial Incentive
State: Tennessee
Incentive Type: Loan Program
Web Site:
Administrator: Energy Efficient Schools Initiative
Start Date:
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
  • Geothermal Heat Pumps
  • Lighting
  • Lighting Controls/Sensors
  • Chillers
  • Furnaces
  • Boilers
  • Heat pumps
  • Air conditioners
  • Programmable Thermostats
  • Energy Mgmt. Systems/Building Controls
  • Motors
  • Motor VFDs
  • Comprehensive Measures/Whole Building
  • Custom/Others pending approval
  • Yes; specific technologies not identified
  • Food Service Equipment
Maximum Loan: Maximum of $5 million.
Loan Term: The interest rate is fixed at 0.5% currently.
Loans must be repaid from energy cost savings or other legally available funds within a maximum term of 16 years, depending on energy savings estimated payback


Name: Paul Cross
Organization: Energy Efficient Schools Initiative
Address: 710 James Robertson Parkway, 10th Floor
Nashville TN 37243
Phone: (615) 585-1167

This information is sourced from DSIRE; the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University.