Custom Thermal Projects


Maine businesses, nonprofits, institutions, and governments are eligible for funding for a variety of thermal energy efficiency projects through Efficiency Maine’s Commercial and Industrial (C&I) Custom Program. Funding is currently available for thermal projects that involve a measure (or set of measures) that reduces the consumption of natural gas.

Awarded projects have included heat recovery measures, boiler upgrades and controls, and HVAC controls. While the C&I Custom Program has previously incentivized projects that reduce the consumption of oil, biomass, and fuels other than natural gas, funding for these fuels is not available at this time. For a list of previously awarded custom projects, click here.

Eligible Projects

  • A measure (or set of such measures) at a single facility or campus that reduces inefficient energy use (or increases efficient energy use), leading to natural gas savings related to producing thermal energy for end uses such as heating, steam production and hot water. Projects must save a minimum of 400 MMBtu annually (4,000 therms of piped natural gas).

Ineligible Projects

  • Measures that are eligible for Efficiency Maine’s C&I Prescriptive Incentive Program.
  • Thermal projects that reduce the consumption of oil, biomass, and fuels other than natural gas.
  • Projects that have a benefit-to-cost ratio less than 1, as per Efficiency Maine’s Total Resource Cost test.
  • Projects that have a simple payback of under one year (after factoring in the Efficiency Maine incentive).
  • Projects that involve measures required by state or federal law or local building or energy codes, or projects that are deemed by Efficiency Maine to represent standard industry practice measures.
  • Projects for which the customer (or its affiliate) has made binding commitments to proceed prior to the official award of funding under the Custom Program.
  • Measures that rely solely on human behavior changes or facility maintenance.
  • Feasibility studies.
  • Fundraising seed money for projects to be completed and funded subsequently.

Funding Overview

  • Funding levels will range from a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $500,000 per facility up to 50% of the total project costs.
  • Projects with an estimated incentive over $200,000 will require a formal contract with the Efficiency Maine Trust. Click here for further detail on these larger projects.
  • Projects with an estimated incentive below $200,000 do not require a contract. However, in signing the application, participants must agree to the Custom Program Terms and Conditions.
  • For retrofits of existing equipment applicants must provide a minimum 50% cost share for the project, barring exceptional circumstances. Any exceptions are determined at the sole discretion of the Custom Program Review Team.
  • For new construction or projects that involve replacing a failed piece of equipment, applicants must provide a minimum of 25% of the incremental cost as measured between the efficient alternative and the industry standard.
  • Incentive awards are also be capped based on the magnitude of the validated annual reduction in MMBtu per year (MMBtu/yr). Incentives will not exceed $25/MMBtu of validated annual reductions in MMBtu.
  • Efficiency Maine will consider new applications until the available program funding is exhausted.

Get Started


Efficiency Maine offers free scoping audits to eligible businesses that have the potential to develop a qualifying project under the Custom Program. These scoping audits provide businesses with the opportunity to get a professional consultation on their facility’s specific energy use and identify cost-effective energy efficiency projects that will reduce operating expenses. Click here to find out if you’re eligible for a scoping audit.



Efficiency Maine offers incentives for Technical Assistance Studies to those customers that have already identified a project but need additional outside assistance to move it forward. To apply for a Technical Assistance incentive, click here.