Energy upgrades to no longer be free

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.

Founded in August 2010, the Renew Boston residential program has provided 650 households with no-cost insulation and weatherization services. Another 100 have received the services but had to cover partial costs. Over 4,400 households have received a free energy assessment. That means only about 17 percent of interested households actually got the upgrades.

“There’s a lot of issues that prevent people going forward. They might already have insulation, or a home that doesn’t qualify, like a brick home, or health and safety issues” that need to be addressed before Renew Boston can do the work, said Renew Boston spokesperson Jacob Glickel.

The $2 million in federal stimulus funds the city allocated for the program are expiring soon, and “if we don’t spend it by a certain point, we’ll have to reallocate it elsewhere,” Glickel said.

“We have a hard and fast deadline to disperse the funding,” Glickel said.  “That is why we are urging everyone to sign up by Dec. 31. There should be enough money available for residents who sign up in time.”

“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.

Renew Boston has been working with community groups, local businesses and other community outreach to advise the community of the services available.

Renew Boston will be represented at the Nira Rock Neighborhood Energy Fair on Nov. 19 at 365 Centre St.

For more information on the Renew Boston program, see

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