HeatSmart Mass

The Challenge: Expand Solarize Program Model to Clean Heating and Cooling

MassCEC’s community-based group purchasing program for solar electricity, Solarize Mass, demonstrated the success of grassroots educational campaigns in simplifying the process of purchasing and installing clean energy systems.  Could this model be expanded to clean heating and cooling technologies, such as heat pumps or solar hot water, to address low consumer awareness and complexity in purchasing?

About HeatSmart Mass

Building on their Solarize Mass program experience, MassCEC and the MA Department of Energy Resources supported volunteer-led community-based outreach and group purchasing campaigns for air-source heat pumps, ground-source heat pumps, solar hot water, heat pump water heaters, and automated wood heating. Each participating community (or group of communities) competitively selected installer(s) to offer one or more of the clean heating and cooling technologies to interested residents. MassCEC’s support included the training of volunteers, a modest budget for marketing materials, and guidance on the installer selection process for each group of communities.

Program Accomplishments

  • The program demonstrated that volunteer-led community-based campaigns can promote the adoption of clean energy technologies beyond solar PV.
  • Through a total of 10 campaigns, the program served residents in 15 communities.  
  • In the aggregate, the program generated 4,053 unique expressions of interest.  These resulted in 2004 site visits by installers and 744 contracts for system installations.
  • Based on program experience, MassCEC developed the Solarize-HeatSmart Toolkit that communities can use to develop and run similar campaigns.


Program Area
Community Engagement
High Performance Buildings
Program Duration


Activities Supported

Volunteer training

Marketing campaigns

Procurement of installers

Total Funds Awarded
Total Number of Awards
Questions? Contact

Campaign Details and Results

The following table shows the communities that ran HeatSmart campaigns and the technologies they included.  Click on the community names to see their marketing plans. 

Below the table, we provide results for selected campaigns.

Community HeatSmart Campaigns



Air-Source Heat Pump

Ground-Source Heat Pump

Automated Wood Heat

Solar Hot Water

Heat Pump Hot Water

















Great Barrington




(proposal only)

Selected Campaign Results

The following graphs display the results for several HeatSmart campaigns. For each technology offered in the campaign, the first bar represents the number of expressions of interest as a percentage of owner-occupied housing units ("OOH") in the community (estimated from 2017-2021 census data). The second bar in each group represents the number of contractor site visits as a percentage of "interests."  The last bar represents the number of signed contracts as a percentage of site visits. 


Solarize-HeatSmart Toolkit

If you are interested in running a Solarize- or HeatSmart-style campaign in your community, the Solarize-HeatSmart Toolkit can help! The Toolkit includes materials to assist in community outreach, marketing, installer selection, campaign management, event planning, and campaign wrap-up and analysis.

Distribution of Households with High-Cost Heating Fuels

Communities with a higher prevalence of high-cost heating fuels are great candidates for HeatSmart-style programs! Households with high-cost heating fuels (oil, electric resistance, and propane) will see the greatest cost savings for switching to clean heating and cooling. Based on data from 2015, this map shows the prevalence of high-cost heating fuels by census tract. Hover over the map to see city/town names and corresponding percentages, or filter on your town name using the drop-down bar. If you do not see your community listed, try searching for nearby towns, as some census tracts span multiple towns but are tagged with only one town's name.


Additional Guidance and Financial Assistance

If you would like to speak with MassCEC for guidance, please reach out to buildings@masscec.com. We may also be able to provide you with contacts in the communities that ran HeatSmart campaigns.

If your Massachusetts community is a designated “Green Community,” it may be eligible for funding to help subsidize the cost of running a HeatSmart-style campaign through the annual Green Communities Grant funding process. For more information on eligibility and timing for this funding, please contact the Green Communities program or your Green Community Coordinator.