Energy upgrades to no longer be free

November 11, 2011
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A program that now offers free energy-efficiency home upgrades will only cover 75 percent of costs next year.

MassSave, a state program, will continue to provide free energy assessments, products and services—including energy-efficient light bulbs, low-flow showerheads, heating system inspections and insulation upgrades—for qualified participants. But Renew Boston, the city’s energy-efficiency initiative, will no longer supplement it, leaving the remaining 25 percent of costs for homeowners to cover.

MassSave currently covers up to 75 percent of energy efficiency upgrade costs, up to $2,000, for qualified households. Renew Boston often covered the remaining 25 percent, giving homeowners up to $3,500 of free upgrades.

Renew Boston works with utility companies and uses federal stimulus funds to support efficiency programs in residential and commercial locations.

The $2 million in federal funds the city allocated for the program are expiring soon, and “if we don’t spend it by a certain point, [the federal government] takes it back,” said Renew Boston spokesperson Jacob Glickel, explaining this is standard in federal grants.

“We want to get the money spent,” Glickel said. “We’re still trying to figure out the best configuration” of each program’s role for the future, he said.

“Renew Boston will continue working with the MassSave program to promote their services,” Glickel added.

Renew Boston will continue to supplement MassSave upgrades until Dec. 31. It will also continue working with commercial and residential users with other initiatives, such as solar energy upgrade rebates.

William Onuoha, Mission Hill Coordinator at the Office of Neighborhood Services at City Hall, presented on the Renew Boston program at an October Community Alliance of Mission Hill meeting, to raise awareness before the funding expires.

For more information on the Renew Boston program, see RenewBoston.org.

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