Schools and Public Housing Integrating Renewables and Efficiency

General Information

DOER has launched the SAPHIRE program (“Schools and Public Housing Integrating Renewables and Efficiency”) in collaboration with the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and the Massachusetts School Buildings Authority (MSBA) to promote renewable thermal heating and cooling upgrades in public schools and state public housing across the Commonwealth. These projects will strive to combine renewable thermal heating upgrades with energy efficiency improvements ─ such as insulation, air sealing, and lighting upgrades ─ to achieve deeper energy savings and provide cost savings to schools and low-income housing developments.

The SAPHIRE program seeks to advance innovative energy efficiency projects by providing dedicated one-on-one assistance with:

  • Accessing technical renewable thermal consultants to study the feasibility and economics of replacing heating systems with renewable thermal

School Heated by a Biomass System

  • Applying for capital grant funding through the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (Mass CEC) to reduce up-front investment cost
  • Coordinating Mass Save® utility-sponsored rebates and incentives
  • Tracking and measuring energy savings
  • Finding low-interest financing to cover specific energy upgrades that reduce building energy use by 20% or more.

The program will collaborate with multiple program partners across the Commonwealth. The end the goal is to

  • Reduce energy costs for resource-constrained districts and housing complexes
  • Create educational opportunities for the public around energy conservation, renewable thermal technologies, and climate change issues.

By combining energy efficiency improvements with new and innovative renewable thermal heating technologies, SAPHIRE projects can achieve energy reductions that surpass typical results from comprehensive efficiency retrofits that do not replace or upgrade the primary heating system. Projects under the SAPHIRE program also stimulate the market for renewable thermal technology development by showcasing high-profile implementations that demonstrate new technology in action.

Renewable thermal heating technology projects ─ solar thermal, biomass thermal, air/ground source heat pumps, and district heating and cooling ─ generate thermal energy that minimizes impacts on the environment.

For more information on SAPHIRE please contact Kara Sergeant at (617) 626-7392

Click here for the press release.


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