Reducing your energy use at home is one of the best ways you can save money. Weatherizing your home – i.e. plugging air leaks, insulating, and more – can equate to more than one ton less of carbon pollution in the air. Boston has the best energy efficiency program in the nation, so whether you live in a condo, rent an apartment, or own a home, there are plenty of resources you can access to help make your home more comfortable and affordable.
Start Here: Get a no-cost energy assessment
Whether you rent or own, the best place to start is by getting your no-cost home energy assessment through Renew Boston, the Mayor's home energy efficiency program, a partnership with Eversource, National Grid and Mass Save.
Call 617-635-SAVE or sign up online here to receive your home energy assessment at no cost.
When you sign up for Renew Boston, a certified Energy Specialist will check your home for energy-saving opportunities such as insulating or upgrading your heating system. You'll also get instant savings gadgets on the spot, such as energy-saving lightbulbs, a programmable thermostat, smart power strips, and water-saving showerheads and faucet aerators. Your Energy Specialist will even help you install and program your new thermostat!
Before your Energy Specialist leaves your home, he or she will explain what incentives the program can offer that might help you to stop wasting energy. Residents and owners can get 75% off – up to $2,000 – for insulation and air sealing. Landlords of two- and three-family buildings can get 90% off – up to $3,000 per unit – when they weatherize all eligible units at the same time.
NOTE: While Renew Boston is limited to buildings with 1-4 units, if you live in or own a building with 5 or more units, you can receive energy efficiency services from Mass Save’s Multi-Family Program (see below for details).
There is also a special program for those who receive public assistance. Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) provides fuel assistance, weatherization, and appliance replacements at no cost for those earning 60% or less of the state median income. Residents should call (617) 357-6012 or visit the Energy Department in downtown Boston at 178 Tremont Street, 4th floor, Boston, MA 02111 to enroll. For landlords with buildings in which some residents receive fuel assistance and some do not, Renew Boston can assist with coordinating with ABCD. Landlords may call Renew Boston at 617-635-4189 for assistance with your multi-family property.
Sign up now here!
Live in a Building with 5 or More Units?
To take advantage of weatherization incentives through Mass Save’s Multi-Family, the first step is to encourage your landlord, condo association board member, or property manager to call Mass Save’s Multi-Family Program at 1-800-594-7277. Tenants can use our template landlord letter to get you started. But there is a lot you can still do as a renter or condo owner to save money and energy. Check out the easy actions in the What Else Can I Do? section.
If you are the owner or operator of a residential building with five or more units, energy efficiency should be a key part of your business plan. Regardless of your income, rate code, or whether the building currently exists or is scheduled for construction, you may be eligible for programs for reducing your facility’s energy usage.
The following improvements may be eligible for incentives:
- Energy efficient lighting upgrades & controls
- Occupancy sensors
- Water Heating equipment
- Domestic hot water measures: low-flow showerheads, aerators, and pipe wrap
- Programmable thermostats
- Air sealing
- High-efficiency heating and cooling equipment upgrades and controls
- ENERGY STAR® qualified refrigerators and other eligible appliances
- Other energy improvements determined on a site-specific basis
The first step is to call Mass Save’s Multi-Family Program at 1-800-594-7277. This program offers Multi-Family Energy Assessments that identify cost-effective energy efficiency improvement or replacement opportunities at facilities with five (5) or more dwelling units. Utilizing a “whole facility” approach, Mass Save’s focus is on your facility’s thermal envelope (shell insulation and air leakage conditions for units heated by natural gas or electricity) as well as lighting and mechanical systems. Mass Save will also assess in-unit savings potential for tenants.
Click here to read about how Garrison Square Apartments utilized the Mass Save program to reduce their utility costs and increase the value of their building.
For Multi-Family Buildings with Income-Eligible Residents
Buildings with income-eligible residents living in non-institutional multi-family facilities with five (5) or more units owned or operated by a non-profit entity or a public housing authority may qualify under the Low Income Multi-Family Program. Call 617-348-6425 for more information.
What Else Can I do?
There is a lot you can do in your home, condo, or apartment to save energy. Check out these easy actions:
- Adjust your thermostat at night and when you're away. Get a programmable thermostat to make this even easier!
- Use smart power strips or unplug your electronics (especially your entertainment center!) when not in use.
- Turn off the lights when you leave the room and use natural light as much as possible.
- Use cold water when you wash dishes and do laundry. It cleans just as well as warm and hot water!
- Use window insulating kits in the winter and/or use energy-saving insulated window treatments.
- Buy ENERGY STAR appliances.
- Insulate your electrical outlets and light switches.
- Add weatherstripping to doors and windows.
- Use caulk (try rope-caulk for no-hassle application) to seal around doors, windows, and baseboards.
- Air-dry your laundry.
Have other tips? Share them and join the discussion via the Community Forum.