- Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
- Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources
- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Media Contact for Healey-Driscoll Administration Announces $50 Million Grant Program for Low- and Moderate-Income Electrification
Maria Hardiman, Communications Director
BOSTON — The Healey-Driscoll Administration today launched a $50 million grant program to fund decarbonization retrofits of existing low- or moderate-income residential buildings. Known as the Low- and Moderate-Income Housing Decarbonization Grant Program, this large-scale program will accelerate Massachusetts’ clean energy transition, improve public health, and preserve housing affordability for residents. This grant program is the first step in the Administration’s commitment to support the electrification of buildings and prioritize the people most deeply impacted by fossil fuels.
“Wherever I go across the Commonwealth, I hear about the high cost of energy and housing,” said Governor Maura Healey. “We’re taking these intertwined crises head-on with this new grant program. Massachusetts residents who need help the most will be able to benefit first from healthy, affordable electric heating, cooling, hot water, and energy efficiency.”
“This grant program puts low- and moderate-income communities at the center of our clean energy transition,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “Local workers will be hired to update affordable homes, which will, in turn, strengthen the public health of cities and towns across the Commonwealth. I’m thrilled to see this initiative come to fruition.”
“40 percent of Massachusetts’ emissions come from buildings,” said Energy & Environmental Affairs Rebecca Tepper. “By retrofitting homes first in low-income communities, we’ll deliver healthier air and lower utility bills to the people who need that the most. This grant program at its core is about environmental justice – righting past wrongs and building a healthier, more equitable future.”
“Efficiency and electrification of buildings is one of the most cost-effective strategies to achieve greenhouse gas emissions reductions in existing residential buildings and provides significant opportunities for cost-savings for residents,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Patrick Woodcock. “This program will leverage existing energy efficiency and decarbonization resources in a way that promotes affordability and equity and is a key component of Massachusetts’ overall progress reducing emissions in the buildings sector.”
“The building sector is a large contributor to the Massachusetts Greenhouse Gas Inventory, and it is critical to reduce emissions from this sector to meet our greenhouse gas reduction requirements,” said Acting MassDEP Commissioner Gary Moran. “This program will also reduce air pollution and provide public health benefits to often overburdened residents in environmental justice areas.”
Projects will improve energy efficiency, install solar panels, make improvements like roof repairs and electrical updates, and electrify the building through ground and air source heat pumps and other electrical appliances for low- or moderate-income housing. Applicants seeking over $1 million must commit to providing opportunities for the local workforce.
Health benefits for residents of retrofitted buildings will include indoor air quality improvements and local air pollution reduction. The program will provide significant investments in the building sector, and leverage programs like MassSave incentives to help affordable housing developments lead the way to decarbonization.
Decarbonization of Massachusetts’ existing buildings is a critical component of the Commonwealth’s strategy to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Residential heat pump installation numbers are so far exceeding the heat pump goals for the 2022-2024 Three-Year Energy Efficiency Plan. For 2022, the goal for residential heat pump installations for space heating was 11,928 households installing whole home or partial systems, and as of the end of Q3, the Mass Save Program Administrators reported 16,038 market rate residential households installing minisplits, ducted air source, and ground source heat pumps.
“Too often Black and Brown communities are given more than their fair share of environmental ‘bads’,” said Browning the Green Space President and Executive Director Kerry Bowie. “Programs like this are a critical first step to fill the gaps and reduce barriers to bringing more environmental ‘goods’ like better indoor air quality and good paying green jobs to our communities.”
“Investing in energy efficiency and decarbonization upgrades for low- and moderate-income housing is very smart public policy. It is a win for residents who will have lower energy bills and better air quality in their homes, a win for property managers addressing delayed maintenance issues and a win for the rest of us as an important step toward reaching our climate goals,” said Pat Stanton, Executive Director at E4TheFuture. “The design of this grant program recognizes the need for basic improvements such as increasing the capacity of electrical systems and making repairs that have historically been a barrier to moving forward on implementing energy efficiency.”
Totaling $50 million, funding for the Low- and Moderate-Income Housing Decarbonization Grant Program is funded through the following sources:
- $25,000,000 of DOER funding from Alternative Compliance Payments
- $18,500,000 from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Climate Protection and Mitigation Trust
- $6,500,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act
The Department of Energy Resources (DOER) will administer the program. The Program Opportunity Notice, available here, identifies private parties, non-profits, municipalities, or other public entities as eligible applicants for the funds. Initial applications are due June 1, 2023, at 5 pm, and awardees will be announced in August. DOER will accept applications on a rolling basis until funds are committed.