Triple deckers are an iconic building typology in the Boston area and broader New England region. Tens of thousands of triple deckers were built during the late 19th and early 20th centuries across the region. Since these three-story, wood framed structures are often around a hundred years old, they are typically very energy-inefficient. Onsite fossil fuel use in buildings (primarily heating), accounts for 30% of Massachusetts’ greenhouse gas emissions. As we seek to reduce our state’s emissions to meet our climate targets, MassCEC wants to develop and promote solutions that work for our building typologies and climate.
In 2020, MassCEC’s Triple Decker Design Challenge received 14 submissions from architects, engineers, and design professionals on approaches to modernize these buildings by comprehensively weatherizing them and converting all fossil-fuel appliances to electric solutions. Building on the ideas and lessons from the design challenge, MassCEC has launched the Triple Decker Retrofit Pilot to test out these solutions in the field. We are seeking around twenty triple deckers to participate in these comprehensive decarbonization retrofits.
The pilot features two tracks: Affordable Housing and Market-Rate, both of which will finance the retrofitting of around ten triple deckers.
The Affordable Housing track has been open since early 2022. So far, MassCEC has selected five affordable housing building owners to participate in the pilot: Boston Neighborhood Community Land Trust, Homeowner’s Rehab, Inc., Neighborhood of Affordable Housing, Somerville Community Corporation, and Worcester Common Ground. We are still looking for five additional affordable housing building owners to participate in the pilot. Our next application review deadline is December 2, 2022. Potential applicants can learn more and apply on the pilot’s webpage. New Ecology, Inc. is the technical consultant for the Affordable Housing track. MassCEC selected New Ecology because of its distinct expertise around affordable housing finance and green building practices. New Ecology will conduct an assessment of existing conditions of each participating triple decker and make detailed recommendations to the building owners.
MassCEC plans to open applications for the Market-Rate track by the end of this year. Owners of triple deckers and interested design and construction professionals can sign up here to be notified when the application launches. For the Market-Rate track, MassCEC selected Abode Energy Management LLC as the technical consultant, and Abode will leverage and adapt protocols developed during the Decarbonization Pathways Pilot to be applicable for triple decker retrofits.