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

$1.73M 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. 


Firm and Project Location # Units Award

Beacon Communities Old Colony Phase Three C - South Boston

South Boston 


Community Builders North Commons Northampton


Dakota Partners Depot Village Hanson


Homeowner’s Rehab Inc.’s Finch Cambrige Cambridge


NeighborWorks Southern Mass’s Holbrook Center Senior Housing Holbrook


NorthShore Community Development Corporation’s Harbor Village Gloucester


Preservation for Affordable Housing Mattapan Station Mattapan


Preservation of Affordable Housing Bartlett Station Lot D Roxbury



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:

  • Up to $5,000 for a Passive House feasibility study
  • 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