2018 Utility Builder Incentive Programs

On the front range of Colorado there are three utility builder incentive programs that have been renewed, and in some cases revised, for 2018.

Let’s get acquainted (or reacquainted) with Xcel Energy, Black Hills Energy, and Colorado Springs Utility (CSU) builder incentive programs.  These programs offer incentive payments directly to builders, and in some cases are offsetting the additional cost of implementation of the program by providing companies, such as EnergyLogic, with an administrative payment.

Xcel Energy’s ENERGY STAR® New Homes Program

The Xcel Energy New Homes Program is not really an ENERGY STAR® program, which means that you do not have to build an ENERGY STAR home to qualify for an incentive payment.  The program will not be changing for 2018, although you do not have to certify and label your homes as ENERGY STAR, you do, need to use and adhere to the ENERGY STAR Thermal Enclosure Checklist. In addition to the mandatory checklist requirement, this program offers a tiered rebate incentive payment to builders who build a specific percentage above the code of the jurisdiction in which they are building.  Therefore, a builder may receive a higher incentive payment in a jurisdiction that is on the 2015 IECC than a builder that is building in a jurisdiction that is on the 2009 IECC.  See the reference chart below.

Xcel also offers an incentive payment for ENERGY STAR appliances and if the home is labeled with the ENERGY STAR certification. See the reference chart below.

To learn more about the Xcel incentive program, please click here.

You may also learn more about eligibility requirements by clicking here.

Black Hills Energy New Construction Program

Black Hills Energy is offering a revamped New Construction Incentive Program for 2018.  They are sticking with their basic structure of offering a prescriptive path and a performance path for the program, but there are some significant changes to the prescriptive path which EnergyLogic feels will encourage additional participation.

To qualify for an incentive payment using the prescriptive path a builder must choose from a list of prequalified measures.  The total incentive depends on the measures selected.  New in 2018, a builder can receive an incentive payment for just one item on the list or for multiple items. Basically, the prescriptive program includes a limited a la carte list of items and incentive items that a builder can use to pick and choose to create their own incentive package.  For example, if a builder is installing R-19 batts at the rim joist, they can receive an incentive payment of $0.10 per sq. ft. of the insulated area up to $50.  This may be the only incentive payment the builder chooses, or it can be bundled with other options such as tight and tested ductwork or windows with a U-value of .30 or lower.

Black Hills Energy requires that a HERS rating is performed on the house to document and report on the measures that are implemented on the home. They also offer an administrative payment to companies like EnergyLogic for the time it takes to gather and report information to Black Hills Energy.

Black Hills Energy Performance path is structured similarly to Xcel Energy’s New Homes Program. “The Performance Path allows builders full flexibility to determine the natural gas savings measure they would like to install. The only requirement of the Performance Path is that builders are able to verify that the home has natural gas savings 10% above the local code as verified by a HERS rating. The total incentive in the Performance Path is $900 per qualifying home.”

Black Hills Energy Construction Program information can be found by clicking here.

Colorado Springs Builder Incentive Program

Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) revamped their builder incentive program in 2017 and have made some additional changes for 2018, making it the simplest and most straight-forward program available on the front range.  CSU decided in 2017 to move away from an ENERGY STAR based program to a HERS Index-based program.  In 2018, the program will begin by offering a $350 incentive payment for any home that achieves a HERS Index of 70.  The incentive also offers an additional $25 per HERS Index point, up to a maximum of $2,100.  For example, a builder could receive $2,100 for building a HERS Zero (a zero on the HERS Index scale – 2,100-350 =1750)/25=70). The lower the HERS Index, the more efficient the home with a HERS zero, which means that annually, the home produces as much energy as it uses.

Incentives for Colorado Springs Builders do not stop there.  An additional $350 is available for builders who certify and label their homes as ENERGY STAR. Therefore, the total possible incentive payment would be $2450. That is an incentive to inspire builders to make a change!

Each of the incentive Programs requires that documentation be submitted to the program in order to receive the incentive payment. Xcel and Black Hills Energy offer an administrative fee of $75  or ( or $100 to companies like EnergyLogic) to gather information, report, and submit on behalf of the builder for the incentive. Black Hills Energy and Colorado Springs Utility require an annual application which must be completed and returned directly from the builder.  Once the application submittal is complete, EnergyLogic will ensure that the builder receives the eligible rebate for each specific home based on the incentive program the builder has chosen.

Colorado Springs Utility Builder Incentive Program documents can be found by clicking here.

If you have any questions, please email Robby Schwarz or Rusty Buick

Robby Schwarz (faked)

Who to Contact:

Robby Schwarz
Principal, Director of Builder Relations

Email Robby


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