MassLandlords Offers Housing Provider Perspectives on Mass Save

In August 2023, we were invited to participate in the Department of Energy Resource’s Energy Efficiency Advisory Council Equity Working Group (EWG), which is tasked with developing a three-year plan for Mass Save that reaches more renters and landlords. The Mass Save energy program is designed to connect property owners with resources to make their houses and other structures more energy efficient.

Five ladders lean against a vinyl clad three-decker with four technicians removing individual pieces of siding to drill holes for blow-in cellulose.

Insulation is just one of many energy-efficient upgrades that Mass Save can help landlords with on their rental properties. (License: CC BY-SA 4-0 MassLandlords)

To prepare for the Aug. 21 panel, we collected testimony from landlords who have used Mass Save, and produced a five-page document outlining the collected recommendations. It is our hope that we will be able to connect more landlords with energy efficient resources, and make the program one that housing providers are inclined to participate in.

First, we highlighted the things that we know Mass Save is doing right. Substantial incentives for weatherization, air sealing and electrification are fantastic, as are the incentives to remove old wiring and other barriers to energy efficiency. We also appreciate the flexibility the program offers with whole-building assessments for multifamily properties if a majority of the residents are income-eligible or receiving fuel assistance, among other possible qualifiers.

We also listed some areas of improvement that we hope Mass Save will consider implementing. Some of our landlords reported that they were receiving inconsistent energy reports, depending on which Mass Save vendor was performing the assessment. We recommend that Mass Save vendors are supervised at both the assessment and at the time of estimate. Furthermore, we recommended a centralized database where energy assessments could be reported.

We also recommended Mass Save find ways to make their program more time-efficient. The Mass Save program is complex and covers a lot of areas within the home, but property owners often have other jobs and may not be able to commit to multiple meetings and chase down rebates after the fact. An energy liaison could potentially streamline this process for participants.

We also suggested more resources explaining the program, and better marketing to get that information into the hands of those who could use it most. A major outcome of the EWG may be translations of Mass Save literature into more languages.

We are hopeful that by having a seat on this committee and bringing your comments to Mass Save, we can get more landlords excited about making their rental properties energy efficient.

You can read the entire PDF on our website.



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