The benefits of energy efficient upgrades are well-talked-about among construction professionals. And the need to choose energy efficient systems is becoming more apparent, especially with rising energy costs and climate-related natural disasters that have cost the U.S. more than $2 trillion in the past 40 years.

While electrification with heat pumps and efficient HVAC is one method that helps prepare buildings for future energy needs, upgrades to lighting, plumbing, and insulation that contain the amount of electricity used are also essential for modern commercial buildings to achieve overall efficiency, shrink carbon footprints, and keep annual costs down.

“We have a technical representative associated with each project that can help evaluate the savings,” says Mathew McCarthy, MA Project Expediter Program Manager at National Grid. “We provide support throughout the project planning process and help determine what type of documentation is going to be required for that customer and that contractor to get the incentive on the project. We give our customers and our contractors an idea of what level of incentive will be available to them with custom express calculators that calculate the incentive based on the measurement type.”

The local utility energy experts at National Grid work closely with trade professionals, contractors, regulators, and energy supply representatives to deliver quality services, beneficial incentives and rebates, and project-specific advice that fits within the overall budget to their customers.

“The incentives we receive from National Grid are important,” said Christian Guzman, assistant energy manager at Stony Brook University. “They allow us to reinvest in other projects, such as data analytics. This data helps us to monitor the energy usage and occupancy schedule of over 200 buildings on campus using a central metering system. By adjusting energy usage when a building is unoccupied, we can save approximately $10,000 a month.”

Heat pumps and efficient HVAC

Installed with or without ducts, energy efficient heat pumps cost up to $5,000 less than other kinds of HVAC, use up to ⅓ less electricity, and reduce annual utility bills. They take up less space and when paired with HEPA filtration, they can further improve indoor air quality, too.

“To me, heat pumps are a better solution that’s more efficient, more attractive and will give us the results we want,” says Joe Lischinsky, owner of Safe Harbor Martial Arts and More in Beverly, Massachusetts. Through the installation of a heat pump and weatherization upgrades, his martial arts center received incentives for 43 percent of the projected installation costs and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 1.72 metric tons.

Energy efficient lighting

Since lighting is responsible for up to 50 percent of a commercial building’s energy bill and about 17 percent of the energy used in U.S. commercial buildings, upgrading to more efficient lighting can have a large impact. Just the widespread use of just LEDs could reduce the U.S. annual energy use so much that it would be the equivalent to the energy generated from 44 large power plants.

Energy Efficiency Consultant Daniel Merrill from National Grid helped Karen Seward reduce Albany Medical Center’s electricity usage by 50 percent. By just upgrading to LED lighting and sensors in the parking garages, usage dropped by 40 percent. Overall, lighting upgrades saved 3 million kWh annually and $240,000.


Depending on the building, adding insulation to walls, basements, and rim joists could deliver an average of 33 percent in energy savings. When combined with electrification, building emissions can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30 percent.

Facility manager Bill Bannan at the 219-unit Concord Greene in Massachusetts knows first-hand the benefits. After working with National Grid to upgrade the attic insulation, they saved more than $311,000. “I was able to help the residents feel more comfortable and save the company money. It was a win-win,” says Bannan.

Another Massachusetts property, the 568,000-square-foot Castle Square Apartments in Boston, underwent an energy retrofit with National Grid. By upgrading to an insulated shell around the concrete building, insulated reflective roof, and high-efficiency windows, and air sealing, they are seeing annual energy savings of 36%.

And after all of the upgrades at Albany Medical Center, they have received more than $1.8 million in energy efficient incentives from National Grid, also saving more than $1 million each year by conserving energy. “We have a team that I feel is solely dedicated to us even though they serve multiple other customers,” says Karen Seward, Director of Energy Management at Albany Medical Center. “[They] explained that if we purchased equipment that had a higher efficiency rating, National Grid would be willing to pay a portion of the additional cost.”

Knowing about these kinds of energy efficient incentives is easier when pros participate in contractor programs from local energy companies like National Grid’s Contractor Networks that are designed to provide access to free technical training, rebates, and financial incentives for commercial, and EV charging stations.

“A lot of these programs that we have at National Grid are very contractor driven,” Jose Bermudez, Senior Program Manager, Downstate New York Program at National Grid. “So it's advantageous for contractors to use the incentives. It helps the customer. It helps them with the bottom line.”

For more information about our programs and how to work with National Grid, head over to