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Funding and Financing

DCSEU: Low-Income Qualified Efficiency Fund

Building Sector:

Multifamily Affordable Housing

Energy Type:

Electricity Gas

Financial Incentives:



DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU)

Program name

Low-Income Qualified Efficiency Fund (IQEF)

Program summary

The IQEF program provides financial support to projects that increase energy efficiency in qualified low-income multifamily buildings, shelters and clinics. This program funds DCSEU-approved contractors to implement projects that result in energy savings.

Applicable building size

Four or more residential units


Measures include heating and cooling systems, in-unit and common area lighting, appliances, controls, thermostats, ventilation fans, domestic hot water systems, and low-flow water fixtures.


  • Incentive/funding details. Incentive varies, but projects that have more matching funds secured towards the total cost of the energy efficiency upgrades will receive preference for DCSEU support. Note: Starting on October 1, 2021 DCSEU will no longer incentivize the installation of new gas equipment but will consider efficiency improvements to existing gas equipment on a case-by-case basis.
  • Contract structure. Potential customers apply for project funding during a certain period and are chosen based on criteria including contractor status (CBE preference); number of District residents impacted; energy savings per dollar; matching funds available and innovative measures incorporated. Work is then completed on an established schedule through a DCSEU Work Order with an approved contractor and it is evaluated upon completion.
  • Amount (max, min, average). Based on program budget, no specific figures are associated with this program. However, DCSEU must spend 30% of its annual budget in the low-income space.
  • Simple payback. Yes, estimate possible by request after scope of work (SOW) has been shared.
  • Tax and balance sheet. Taxable; W9 is required by the DCSEU for payment.
  • Pairing with other sources. The DCSEU incentive is intended to offset the incremental cost of purchasing more-efficient equipment and does not prohibit the use of other forms of project financing (e.g. DC Green Bank, DC PACE, traditional loan, self funding).


  • When in the project process an application should be started/completed. Applications for the IQEF program are normally offered on an semi-annual basis each Fiscal Year.
  • Level of effort to get the funding. Typically the DCSEU contractor will provide necessary information to the DCSEU.
  • Length of time to receive funding. Once all documentation is submitted, inspection is completed, and the DCSEU Finance team has reviewed/approved, within four weeks.
  • Contractor requirements. Certified Business Enterprise or other contractor under contract with the DCSEU.

Additional information

  • Advantages. Contractors typically handle the entire process. Elevated levels of funding relative to other DCSEU programs.
  • Disadvantages. Buildings must qualify as “low income” per DCSEU definitions.
  • Ownership types or organizations are best suited for the program. Owners of qualified low-income multifamily housing, shelters, and clinics that are electric and/or natural gas utility ratepayers in the District of Columbia.
  • Program fit for the customer. Owners and managers of low-income multifamily housing, clinics, or shelters who have planned projects that need incentives to make the project happen.

Take action

Contact DCSEU at or (202) 479-2222

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