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.
$10,000 - $30,000, subject to income qualification
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 Participate?
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 a package of measures (the “Home Modernization Package”) that ensure the home is well-prepared for full decarbonization by being adequately weatherized, having the needed electrical upgrades in place, and addressing any barriers to future decarbonization
- Plan to make one or more of the following home investments (“Major Measures”):
- Install a heat pump
- Upgrade the home’s envelope
Full program details and eligibility requirements are available in the Program Manual.
This program is currently closed. The following information is provided for reference only. Applications were accepted via an online portal. Copies of the application materials are provided here for reference only.
The program documents currently on this webpage are relevant for Cohort 2 only. If you are looking for the Cohort 1 program documents, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Are any of Cohort 2’s eligibility or project requirements different than Cohort 1’s?
Cohort 1 launched in Summer 2022, and Cohort 2 is launching in Summer 2023. We have made some updates to the guidelines for Cohort 2 based on an evaluation of Cohort 1. For Cohort 1, MassCEC sought participants that were planning to install a heat pump during the pilot. For Cohort 2, MassCEC is seeking participants that are planning to install a heat pump and/or upgrade their home’s envelope when replacing their siding by adding a weather barrier and exterior insulation and/or new windows. For Cohort 2, participants will also be required to complete a “Home Modernization Package”, which involves installing measures that ensure the home is well prepared for full decarbonization. Additionally, while the incentive amounts have remained the same, the incentive payment structure and eligible decarbonization measures have been updated. For more information, please see the pilot’s Program Manual.
Can I apply to Cohort 2 if I wasn’t selected for Cohort 1?
If you applied to Cohort 1, and were not selected, you can still apply to Cohort 2.
Will the pilot have another cohort of participants after Cohort 2?
We currently are not planning on launching additional cohorts under the pilot.
Can I apply to the pilot even if I’ve already installed a heat pump or completed Mass Save® weatherization measures?
Applicants who have already completed Mass Save weatherization are welcome and encouraged to apply. For Cohort 2 of the pilot, we are hoping to select participants that are planning to install a heat pump and/or upgrade their home’s envelope when replacing their siding by adding a weather barrier and exterior insulation and/or new window during the pilot. As a result, participants that have already installed heat pumps are less likely to be selected unless they are planning to upgrade their home’s envelope during the pilot.
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. For this 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, National Grid or Unitil?
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 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. For Cohort 2, MassCEC is seeking participants that are planning to install a heat pump and/or upgrade their home’s envelope when replacing their siding by adding a weather barrier and exterior insulation and/or new windows. For Cohort 2, participants will also be required to complete a “Home Modernization Package”, which involves installing measures that ensure the home is well prepared for full decarbonization. If participants decide not to move forward with these measures, they can still participate in the pilot and receive significant incentives but will not be eligible for the full incentive.
- 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, which will provide more information about the application timeline, incentives, and how to schedule a decarbonization assessment.
- Questions? Please email us at email@example.com with “Decarbonization Pathways” in the subject line.