The Passive House Design Challenge has awarded 8 projects for a total of 540 housing units. It is currently closed to additional applicants.

MassCEC seeks to demonstrate that multi-family affordable housing that meets Passive House standards can be built at a low- to no-cost premium in Massachusetts. The Passive House Design Challenge made awards of up to $4,000 per unit for 8 new construction affordable housing developments that are seeking Massachusetts Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC).  The goal of the program is to demonstrate that new construction can be built with a less than 3% cost premium.


Passive House Design Challenge Awardees

$1.7M was awarded through the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s Passive House Design Challenge program, part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s $15 million Affordable Access for Clean and Efficient Energy (AACEE) initiative. The grants, awarded to 8 affordable housing developments in Cambridge, Gloucester, Hanson, Northampton, Holbrook and Boston totaling 540 high-efficiency units, provide energy savings and improved indoor air quality for low-income households. 


Owner and Project Location # Units Award Incremental Cost

Beacon Communities Old Colony Phase Three C - South Boston

South Boston 


$120,000 3.5%
Community Builders North Commons Northampton


$212,000 4.3%

Dakota Partners Depot Village*

*Depot Village has been Passive House pre-certified, but will not make Passive House certification





Homeowner’s Rehab Inc.’s Finch Cambrige Cambridge


$147,000 1.4% (Itemized Cost)
NeighborWorks Southern Mass’s Holbrook Center Senior Housing Holbrook


$131,200 1.6%
NorthShore Community Development Corporation’s Harbor Village Gloucester


$120,000 1.8%
Preservation for Affordable Housing Mattapan Station Mattapan


$540,000 2%
Preservation of Affordable Housing The Kenzi at Bartlett Station Roxbury


$168,000 1%

                 MassCEC CEO Steve Pike announces Passive House Design Challenge winners





Passive House Incentives from MassSave®

Building on the momentum of MassCEC’s program, MassSave® has announced an incentive program for new construction multi-family projects of four stories and above to consider and certify building to Passive House standards. This program is both for market rate and affordable multi-family new construction. Buildings are eligible for:

  • 100% of Passive House feasibility study up to $5,000
  • 75% up to $20,000 for Passive House Energy Modelling
  • $3,000 per unit if the building gets Passive House certification

To apply, email details of your proposed building to

Passive House Training Resources


WEBINAR: An Introduction to Multi-Family Passive House

Download slides

WEBINAR: How to use the Passive House Training Tool

Link to tool


About Passive House

Passive House is a green building certification that ensures extremely high levels of energy efficiency and the provision of fresh air for ventilation.  Multi-family buildings built to the Passive House standard generally use 40% less total energy than energy stretch code-compliant buildings. The annual energy use of 8-12 Passive House multi-family apartments is roughly equivalent to the average existing single-family suburban home in Massachusetts.

Passive House buildings achieve:

  • Drastically lower energy use and operational cost savings
  • Healthy fresh air quality from ventilation systems 
  • Consistent and comfortable room temperatures without air drafts
  • Increased natural lighting and quieter acoustic conditions
  • A more resilient and comfortable building 
  • Lower energy demand, which can be easily provided by solar power, creating a pathway to a net-zero or net-positive building 

Go to the Passive House Massachusetts Website

See case studies of Passive House projects in New England