MassCEC offers awards to businesses that install qualifying variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems, which provide highly efficient heating and cooling.

This program is part of MassCEC’s $48 million Clean Heating and Cooling program, which supports technologies that provide customer cost savings and environmental benefits while maintaining a high level of comfort and reliability. Grants of up to $150,000 are available for VRF projects (or more for affordable housing projects). 

Awards are available for project sites that:

Variable Refrigerant Flow Awards

Entity Type

VRF without Heat Recovery

(per 12 kBTU/hr)

VRF with Heat Recovery

(per 12 kBTU/hr)

Maximum Grant





Affordable Housing










Any business installing a variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system should read the instructions for the VRF Heat Pump Program.

MassCEC recommends that buildings installing VRF should:

  • Visit our Finding an Installer page, which includes a list of manufacturer representatives, designers, and installers, as well as questions to ask them.
  • Solicit at least three proposals.

Designers and installers should visit the installer resources page.

Variable Refrigerant Flow Projects

Any entity installing a VRF system should first select a designer that can meet the requirements in the VRF Heat Pump Program Manual. Manufacturer representatives can help with this process. An installer may also be selected at this time, but that is optional. Once the designer has been selected:

  1. The designer completes a system design (at a minimum a schematic design or “engineering concept”).
  2. The designer and system owner jointly apply for the award and other financial incentives. Application documentation can be found on the ASHP Installer Resources page. The application must include: the Application Form, Project NarrativeSystem Owner’s AgreementAHRI rating sheets for the units under consideration, and relevant tax documentation. Affordable housing projects must submit verification documentation described in the program manual. Please note:
    • MassCEC must approve the grant application before construction begins.
    • For existing facilities, the system owner must schedule an energy audit to take place with the next six (6) months if he/she has not had an energy audit within the past four (4) years.
  3. MassCEC will reserve funds and issue an award letter.
    • MassCEC may select the project for third-party design review, in which case the designer must submit the system design and related documents prior to ordering equipment.
  4. The applicant parties complete system design and order equipment (Milestone #1). To receive payment, they must submit the Milestone Completion Form and associated documentation, including: updated application form, load calculation, system design summary, project invoices, and updated AHRI rating sheets.
    • If the installer was not selected at application and has not signed up to participate in the program, that entity must sign and submit the installer agreement.
    • MassCEC will pay 30% of the grant.
    • The grantee may opt to forgo this step and submit all documents at Milestone #2.
  5. The installer completes project construction and manufacturer-assisted startup. To receive payment, the applicant parties submit the Milestone Completion Form, photos of the installed system, and manufacturer startup sheets (or commissioning report).
    • MassCEC will pay the remaining 70% of the grant.

Please read the VRF Heat Pump Program Manual for full details on program eligibility requirements, awards, and processes.

**Projects applying for the Affordable Housing Adder must submit documentation demonstrating that 50 percent or more of the units are committed or deeded to households earning below 80 percent of the state’s median income.
Note: If the installer is not already on MassCEC’s list of participating installers, the installer must submit the Primary Installer Agreement and qualifying certificate(s) of manufacturer training.

How much funding can my business receive?

VRF systems are eligible for rebates up to $150,000, or up to $240,000 for projects at affordable housing developments.

More details can be found in Section 3 of the VRF Program Manual.

Why isn’t everyone in Massachusetts eligible for MassCEC incentives?

Projects receiving rebates through MassCEC must be located in a utility territory that contributes funding to the Renewable Energy Trust (RET), which includes communities served by investor owned electric utility companies or a participating municipal lighting plant (MLP).

MLP stands for “municipal light plant” and refers to a publicly owned local utility instead of an investor-owned electric company, such as National Grid or Eversource. We are unable to provide rebates to MLP communities that do not contribute to the RET.

How many applications should I submit for a multifamily/multi-building project?

An individual building is typically considered a project. A project that includes multiple houses, commercial buildings, or some combination thereof, should submit one application but may request a waiver from MassCEC to apply as multiple projects (which affects grant limits). Waivers will be granted at MassCEC’s discretion.

The Air-Source Heat Pump program is one in a suite of MassCEC’s Clean Heating and Cooling programs. MassCEC has authorized $48 million in funding for these programs, starting in 2015. Funding for air-source heat pump incentives is expected to last approximately through the end of 2019.

For questions about VRF systems and incentives, please contact us at or 617-315-9300.