The Challenge: Develop Scalable Pathways for Home Decarbonization
Every home is different. Individual homes' clean energy potentials are vastly different, too. Homeowners need customized recommendations for comprehensive energy efficiency and home decarbonization projects. To serve a significant number of homes, program administrators and other practitioners need scalable protocols for assessing homes and developing the decarbonization plans.
About the Decarbonization Pathways Pilot
Through the Decarbonization Pathways Pilot, MassCEC is developing and testing an innovative protocol for comprehensive home decarbonization assessments for single-family and low-rise residential buildings (up to three stories). MassCEC plans to perform the newly developed assessment protocol on a diverse cohort of about 75 homes throughout the Commonwealth whose owners are interested in decarbonizing. In addition to the decarbonization assessment, participants will receive a decarbonization plan, technical assistance, and financial incentives to implement some or all of the recommended decarbonization measures.
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The goals of the Decarbonization Pathways pilot program are to:
- Create and test a model for comprehensive consumer engagement and home decarbonization that could be scaled by Mass Save® or another entity — in service of achieving the state’s decarbonization targets
- Develop consumer-facing resources and showcases to support homeowners and landlords who are ready to take action now and decarbonize their buildings
The home decarbonization assessment will evaluate several areas — energy efficiency, electrical upgrades, heating and cooling, hot water, cooking & other appliances, and personal transportation — with the goal of eventually eliminating the use of fossil fuels from the home, in addition to promoting efficiency.
MassCEC is working with Abode Energy Management to conduct the following tasks:
- Develop protocols for a decarbonization assessment that build on the framework and successes of the Mass Save® Home Energy Assessment
- Create a framework for the recommendations that will come out of the assessment
- Produce a structure for customizable individual decarbonization plans based on the assessment's recommendations and the homeowner's goals
- Provide technical expertise for participants looking to implement decarbonization recommendations
MassCEC has assembled a committee of external experts to review and provide input on the decarbonization assessment protocols, recommendations, and customizable planning tool.
- Alissa Whiteman, MA Department of Energy Resources
- Amar Shah, Rocky Mountain Institute
- Andrew Posner, Capital Good Fund
- Bob Eckel, Eversource
- Brendan Delaney, Action Inc.
- Brian Beote, Action Inc.
- Briana Kane, Cape Light Compact
- Frank Nitti, National Grid
- Greg Phipps, Reading Municipal Light Department
- John Balfe, Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership
- Leah Berger, National Grid
- Nikhil Nadkarni, City of Cambridge
- Orest Manzi, Action for Boston Community Development
- Sophie Theroux, Holyoke Gas & Electric Department
Who's Eligible to Apply?
Eligible applicants are residential building owners of the following building types:
- Single-family home
- Multi-family building with four (4) or fewer units*
- Single owner or multiple owners
- All units in the building must participate
The Pilot is not intended for the following:
- Commercial buildings
- New construction or homes built within the last ten (10) years
The home must also meet the following criteria:
- Must be located in a utility territory that contributes to the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust. This includes the Massachusetts service territory of National Grid, Eversource, Until, and municipal light plants that have elected to pay into the Renewable Energy Trust (please see masscec.com/municipal-lighting-plant-communities for more information).
- Must be an occupied residence year-round. For example, summer homes that are unoccupied in the winter are not eligible for the Pilot.
During the Pilot, Applicants should plan to, at a minimum:
- Complete all Mass Save® weatherization recommendations.
- Install cold-climate heat pumps (Applicants who are replacing their heating or cooling system and/or plan to install a whole home heat pump system are preferred).
Full program details and eligibility requirements are available in the Program Manual.
- Review eligibility requirements in the Program Manual
- Preview the online application form by downloading the PDF version
- Complete and submit an application using this link*
*We are no longer accepting applications for Cohort 1, click here to sign up to be notified when Cohort 2 opens.
Decarbonization Pathways: Background and How to Apply to Cohort 1 (Closed)
Learn more about the Pilot including background, applicant eligibility, incentive levels, and the application process.
What does "decarbonization" mean?
For the Decarbonization Pathways Pilot, MassCEC is looking to provide homeowners with a plan to achieve an all-electric building (i.e., a building with no on-site combustion equipment for fossil fuel use or capacity, including fossil fuel use in space heating, water heating, cooking, or drying appliances) that has also maximized opportunities for energy efficiency and weatherization.
When will the application window for Cohort 2 open?
We plan to open the application window for Cohort 2 sometime during the spring of 2023. Our goal is to make updates to the guidelines for Cohort 2 based on an evaluation of Cohort 1. This means that the parts of the pilot including eligibility requirements and incentive levels are subject to change. If you applied to Cohort 1, and were not selected, you can still apply to Cohort 2 when it opens. If you would like to be notified when Cohort 2 opens, you can add your email address to our contact list here.
If I am already getting quotes for decarbonization measures incentivized in the pilot, am I still eligible to apply?
You are still eligible to apply to the pilot if you are already getting quotes. MassCEC can only offer incentives for decarbonization measures installed after a participant has officially been notified that they are selected for the pilot, so it is up to you if you would like to wait to implement the decarbonization measure until you have been notified whether you have been selected to participate.
Can I apply to the pilot if I am a condo owner?
Individual condos units in a larger building or complex are not eligible to participate. At least for the first cohort of the pilot, we want to be able to make comprehensive recommendations for the entire building envelope (i.e., roof/attic, walls/windows/doors, and basement). If all owners of a condoized small multi-family (i.e., four or fewer units) want to jointly apply for the pilot, we would consider that application.
Can I apply to the pilot if my electricity provider isn’t Eversource or National Grid?
MassCEC’s Renewable Energy Trust funding comes from electric ratepayers, which means that eligibility for this pilot is based on a household's electric utility. Electric customers from National Grid, Eversource, Unitil, Ashburnham Municipal Light Plant, Holden Light Department, Holyoke Gas & Electric Department, Ipswich Electric Department, Russell Light Department, and Templeton Municipal Light Plant pay into MassCEC’s Renewable Energy Trust. Unfortunately, if you are not a customer of one of those utilities you are not eligible to participate in this pilot. For more information, visit this webpage.
Are both air source and ground source heat pumps eligible for the “heat pumps” incentive?
Yes, this funding can be used towards either air source or ground source heat pumps. This funding can also be used in addition to Mass Save’s heat pump rebates and any other state or federal rebates.
Do participants need to implement every decarbonization measure recommended by the Home Decarbonization Advisor?
As part of the pilot, participants will be able to discuss different options with the Home Decarbonization Advisor. It will then be up to the participants to decide how to proceed. Participants are not obligated to move forward with any decarbonization measures they decide against pursuing. The cost of each decarbonization measure can vary significantly based on buildings characteristics, installer prices, and equipment choices. It is our hope that through the incentives provided in this pilot, along with the current state and federal rebates, it will be financially possible to move forward with some or all of the recommended decarbonization measures.
Can I apply to the pilot if I own a triple decker building?
If you own a triple decker building, please apply instead to the Triple Decker Retrofit Pilot.
- View a video recording of the panel “Developing Scalable Pathways for Home Decarbonization” presented on February 15, 2022 at the Pre-Conference Showcase for BuildingEnergy Boston 2022. The discussion includes an update on the proposed decarbonization assessment protocols.
- Visit Abode's Participant Portal (coming soon), which will provide more information about the application timeline, incentives, and how to schedule a decarbonization assessment.
- Questions? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Decarbonization Pathways” in the subject line.