For Immediate Release - September 16, 2010

Patrick-Murray Administration Receives $2.6 Million Federal Grant for Next Generation Energy Efficiency Pilot in Springfield Area

Demonstrating the value of deep energy efficiency retrofits, four-state pilot project, led by Massachusetts, will guide efforts to develop a national home energy efficiency and labeling program

BOSTON - September 16, 2010 - Building on nation-leading efforts encompassed in three-year energy efficiency plans set to lock in $6 billion in energy savings for Massachusetts electric and natural gas customers, the Patrick-Murray administration today announced receipt of a $2.6 million federal grant to implement "next generation" energy efficiency retrofits in over 2,700 homes across the Greater Springfield area in the next three years.

"The energy efficiency plans developed by our DOER and approved by the DPU last January make Massachusetts first in the nation in per capita investment in energy efficiency," said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Ian Bowles, whose office includes both the Departments of Energy Resources (DOER) and Public Utilities (DPU). "I am pleased that the US Department of Energy has recognized our leadership with this grant, which will demonstrate the dramatic savings possible through extreme energy makeovers in homes in Springfield and six surrounding communities."

The DOER competed with states around the country for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant, which will be implemented in partnership with three utilities (National Grid, Western Massachusetts Electric Company and Bay State Gas Co.) and seven cities and towns (Springfield, Longmeadow, East Longmeadow, Hampden, Wilbraham, Palmer and Belchertown).

Results of the Massachusetts program will inform similar efforts in Washington, Virginia, and Alabama, which collectively received approximately $8.5 million from the DOE.

The Commonwealth's grant is part of a $28.5 million investment awarded through DOE's State Energy Program to 12 states and territories to support projects that will lower energy bills for American families and businesses, boost job growth, and increase business for companies that deliver energy-saving technologies and services.

"These state initiatives will spur the economy and create jobs across the country by making targeted investments in the growing energy efficiency market and using smarter policies to engage the private sector," U.S. DOE Secretary Steven Chu said in a press release announcing the awards. "The projects will demonstrate the high rate of return on energy-saving improvements to homes and businesses, achieve significant long-term benefits for local communities, and act as a model for future public-private energy efficiency partnerships."

"Projects like these are exactly why Massachusetts is always one step ahead in clean energy. As a result, consumers will have more money in their pockets and more efficient homes and that's a win-win for everyone," said US Senator John Kerry.

In Massachusetts, the DOE grant will leverage private sector funding to support a three-year program designed to achieve significant energy savings through energy modeling and benchmarking, consumer outreach, contractor management, policy development and innovative financing. The objective, according to DOE, "is to create a sustainable transformation in the market for home energy improvements."

In addition to receiving state-of-the-art energy efficiency services, often referred to as "deep energy retrofits" (resulting in over 20 percent energy savings), the 2,725 participating homes will earn energy ratings similar to MPG ratings for cars and trucks, which can be featured in real estate listings to add value to upgraded homes.

"With the adoption of our nation-leading three-year energy efficiency programs in January, the Commonwealth officially adopted energy efficiency as our 'first fuel,'" DOER Commissioner Phil Giudice said. "This DOE grant builds on that momentum. We are excited about implementing a program that could reduce energy use in targeted Springfield area homes by as much as 40 percent."

Learn more about the Commonwealth's pacesetting energy efficiency efforts.