- Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Peter Lorenz, Director of Communications & Public Affairs
Boston — April 17, 2018 – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced more than $1 million in funding for the development of affordable zero energy modular homes in Massachusetts through the Department of Energy Resources’ (DOER) Zero Energy Modular Affordable Housing Initiative (ZE-MAHI). Under the initiative, DOER has awarded Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) $1,034,487 to develop and administer a program that will build new homes or replace existing mobile or manufactured units with new affordable zero energy modular homes. Continuing the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to increasing energy efficiency and lowering energy costs, Governor Baker recently filed legislation to ensure homeowners and prospective homebuyers have access to information about the anticipated energy usage of residences and recommended cost-effective energy efficiency improvements.
“This innovative new program will provide Massachusetts’ low- and moderate income families access to affordable housing that significantly reduce their energy costs and improve their quality of life,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “As our administration works to increase energy efficiency and meet our greenhouse gas reduction targets, we are committed to ensuring all of the Commonwealth’s residents have affordable access to clean and efficient energy technologies.”
“Helping Massachusetts families afford energy efficient homes allows them to save money, heat more effectively and improve the environment,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “The ZE-MAHI program and other innovative programs in our Affordable Access to Clean and Efficient Energy Initiative are expanding access to clean energy technologies at all economic levels.”
Mobile and manufactured homes often lack energy efficient technology, resulting in high and varying energy costs for residents. The ZE-MAHI Program will provide an opportunity for low- and moderate-income residents of the Commonwealth to reduce their energy costs, as well as protect against cost variability through energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. In addition to reducing energy costs, these modular homes will have significant health benefits for residents by improving indoor air quality. The ZE-MAHI Program was announced as part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s Affordable Access to Clean and Efficient Energy (AACEE) Initiative in April 2017 and aims to provide enough funding for 10 homes to be built.
VEIC and local partners will develop the program, conduct outreach with Massachusetts manufactured home communities, and work with the homebuilder to deliver the zero energy modular homes. Grant funds will be used to buy down the cost of the new modular homes so they are affordable for low- and moderate-income residents of the Commonwealth. VEIC will also educate the new homeowners about the operations and maintenance of the zero energy home, as well as provide three years of energy monitoring service.
“Along with the filing of legislation to improve residents’ access to home energy information, the Baker-Polito Administration is working to lower energy use across the Commonwealth and reduce emissions from the building sector,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The ZE-MAHI program is an important pilot initiative to help Massachusetts achieve significant improvements in the energy performance of mobile and manufactured housing.”
The Commonwealth has been named the most energy efficient state in the nation by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) for seven consecutive years. Massachusetts continues to receive top marks for its energy efficiency policies and programs, particularly the energy efficiency programs offered by the Commonwealth’s utilities under the Mass Save® brand and for promoting smart growth development in cities and towns. The full 2017 ACEEE State Energy Efficiency Scorecard can be found here.
“The Commonwealth continues to be a national leader in energy efficiency, but our efforts will only continue to be successful if all residents have access to the same clean energy opportunities,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson. “DOER continues to implement new programs that focus on expanding access to more residents to increase their energy savings.”
As a significant energy consumer, the Massachusetts building sector could substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions through increased energy efficiency. In 2014, the Commonwealth’s residential building sector was responsible for emitting 25.9% of the total greenhouse gases emitted that year.
Funding for these grants is available from Alternative Compliance Payments (ACP) paid by retail electric suppliers that do not meet their Renewable Portfolio Standard compliance obligations through the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates.
“Through this DOER-funded initiative, Massachusetts residents will have access to an alternative housing option that is both affordable and energy efficient,” said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading). “Once again, the Baker-Polito Administration has demonstrated its ongoing commitment to developing and promoting the use of environmentally-friendly clean energy technologies throughout the Commonwealth.”
“The Baker-Polito Administration’s new program is innovative and addresses several important needs,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “Reducing residential energy consumption and costs while increasing supports for low and moderate income will make a difference for our Commonwealth.”
“Mobile homes and manufactured housing are far too often left out of the energy efficiency conversation. This program is an important first step to help our Commonwealth continue to lead the nation in energy efficiency,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton), founding chair of the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change.
“Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) applauds the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources for their vision to help low and moderate income residents access the benefits of zero energy modular homes,” said Jim Madej, CEO of VEIC. “We are thrilled to be working with a great group of partners to bring this affordable housing solution to Massachusetts.”
“We are excited to partner with Vermont Energy Investment Corporation and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources to provide high quality, affordable housing to Hampshire County residents,” said Megan McDonough, Executive Director of Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity. “Zero net energy modular homes are an innovative solution to the challenge of creating affordable homeownership options in our community."
The recently filed Act Relative to Consumer Access to Energy Information would require that a home energy scorecard, energy rating, and information on recommended energy efficiency improvements be provided to homeowners as part of free residential energy efficiency assessments, and after January 1, 2021, would require that home energy performance ratings be made available to potential homebuyers when one to four unit family homes are publicly listed for sale. Additionally, Governor Baker recently filed legislation to authorize over $1.4 billion in capital allocations for investments in safeguarding residents, municipalities and businesses from the impacts of climate change, protecting environmental resources, and investing in communities. Under the legislation, DOER would be directed to create a new clean peak standard for electricity suppliers to increase the usage of clean energy during periods of high, carbon intensive, and expensive electricity demand. In August 2016, Governor Baker signed bipartisan comprehensive energy diversification legislation designed to reduce energy costs while strengthening the state’s clean energy economy and progressing towards Massachusetts’ greenhouse gas reduction requirements.