State and Local Policy Database


State Scorecard Rank



44.5Scored out of 50Updated 12/2022
State Government
Score: 4.5 out of 4.5
State Government Summary List All

Massachusetts offers a variety of tax incentives and grant, rebate, bond programs to encourage consumer investments in energy efficiency. It enables PACE financing but does not have any active PACE programs. The state government leads by example by setting energy requirements for public buildings and fleets, benchmarking energy use, and encouraging the use of energy savings performance contracts. Massachusetts is one of the few states to require the release of residential building energy data at the time of closing. Research focused on efficient vehicles is conducted at several institutions in the state. 

Financial Incentives List All

The state of Massachusetts offers the following financial incentives to encourage energy efficiency improvements:

  • Leading by Example Feasibility Study Grants: This program works with public partners across Massachusetts state government to provide leadership, technical assistance, guidance, and grant funding to ensure successful implementation of strategies outlined in Executive Order 484. LBE accomplishes this with a comprehensive set of energy and environmental initiatives.
  • Leading by Example Fleet Charging Stations: Funds to support the installation of charging stations at state entities that are dedicated to supporting electric vehicles in the state fleet.
  • Alternative Energy and Energy Conservation Patent Exemption (corporate and personal)
  • Green Communities Grant Program
  • Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Bond Program: The Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Bond Program is intended to increase compact, mixed-use, walkable development close to transit stations. To accomplish this objective, the Program authorization (Chapter 291 of the Acts of 2004) provides financing for pedestrian improvements, bicycle facilities, housing projects, and parking facilities within .25 (1/4) miles of a commuter rail station, subway station, bus station, bus rapid transit station, or ferry terminal.
  • Municipal Energy Technical Assistance (META) Program: The Department of Energy Resource’s (DOER) awards META grants to designated Green Communities or municipalities in the designation process, Massachusetts municipalities, regional school districts, and water/wastewater districts. META grants help energy projects by funding the services of expert consultants and contractors, aiding in the management of projects or the performance studies.
  • Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Electric Vehicles (MOR-EV) Rebate Program: Funded by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ Department of Energy Resources (DOER), MOR-EV provides rebates of up to $2,500 for the purchase or lease of battery electric vehicles and fuel-cell electric vehicles and up to $1,500 for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles with a sales price of not more than $50,000.
  • Zero Energy Modular Affordable Housing Initiative (ZE-MAHI): This grant program from DOER provides funding for the development of programs to replace existing inefficient manufactured/mobile homes with new zero energy affordable modular homes with comparable square footage. The goal is installation of 10 zero energy modular homes.
  • Pathways to Zero Grant: The Pathways to Zero Grant Program is a $3.5 million Department of Energy Resources (DOER) initiative launched in 2014 to spur the development of Zero Net Energy Buildings (ZNEB) in Massachusetts. $3.0M is being used to support residential and commercial ZNEB projects through feasibility studies, integrated design, and construction funding, and $500,000 is being used for public awareness, workforce development, efforts to develop and standardize best practices, and DOER resources.
  • Community Clean Energy Resiliency Initiative: Targets improving energy resilience of critical facilities using clean energy sources such as CHP and solar. Initial round was in 2015. Includes funding for studies and implementation.
  • Affordable Access Grant Programs: Provides funding to Regional Planning Authorities to provide clean energy training to municipal or community organizations that support low-income populations.

Further financial incentive information can be found in the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE Massachusetts). In addition to these state-funded incentives, Massachusetts has enabled commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing and has one active program. For additional information on PACE, visit PACENation.

Last Reviewed: June 2022

Equity Metrics and Workforce DevelopmentList All

Community and stakeholder engagement

Affordable Access to Regional Coordination (AARC) Grant Program ($880,000 total; $800,000 to Regional Planning Authorities; $80,000 to entity supporting RPAs): The goal of this program is increase local-level knowledge of the Commonwealth’s existing low-income energy efficiency programs, expanding the reach of existing successful programs. AARC grants allow Regional Planning Authorities (RPA) to build their internal knowledge of clean energy programs for low-income residents and low-income housing property owners. RPAs also provide training and assistance on low-income clean energy programs to municipal staff, or staff of community organizations or other stakeholders, that support low-income populations.

Merrimack Valley Renewal Fund: In July of 2020, the Baker-Polito Administration and Attorney General (AG) Maura Healey came to an agreement with Columbia Gas (one of the state’s investor-owned utilities) that required the company to pay $41 million for its role in the 2018 Merrimack Valley gas explosions. These funds (the Merrimack Valley Renewal Fund) will provide debt relief for gas bills to thousands of low-income gas customers and enable clean energy and energy efficiency efforts in homes and buildings in the affected communities (Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover). $25.5 million is dedicated to new programs for low- and moderate-income residents that will be implemented through partnerships with community organizations to fund: housing repairs and energy efficiency upgrades, targeted outreach and engagement with landlords and renters, and workforce development to engage local residents in the clean energy economy. The Merrimack Valley Renewal Fund Program Advisory Committee, comprised of local stakeholders (including representatives from building owners/property managers, local contractors specializing in energy efficiency, and local community organizations), is providing input to help inform program development. Program development is also being informed by community feedback received at several stakeholder meetings held in the fall of 2020 and through on-line surveys (available in both English and Spanish). Programs will be designed to utilize and develop the local workforce and delivered in a way that meets the language needs of participants.

Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA) 2030 Clean Energy and Climate Plan (CECP) - To help ensure an equitable and strategic transition towards Net Zero, EEA worked with stakeholders across the Commonwealth to ensure that development of the 2030 CECP is an inclusive policy planning effort. EEA has been convening the GWSA Implementation Advisory Committee (IAC) since 2012 as a primary public body for advising EEA on greenhouse gas reduction measures. The IAC has several Work Groups, including Climate Justice, Buildings, Natural and Working Lands, Transportation, and Electricity.  In 2019 and 2020, the IAC and associated Work Groups contributed policy recommendations and guiding principles towards the development of the 2030 CECP. The Climate Justice Work Group, in particular, provided a memo on February 26 2020 and on August 7 2020. These recommendations and principles, in addition to the policy evaluation criteria in the GWSA, were important considerations in the development of policies for the 2030 CECP.

EEA Environmental Justice Task Force - EEA’s Environmental Justice (EJ) Task Force is comprised of staff that serve as EJ points of contact representing each EEA agency and office, in accordance with the requirements of EEA’s 2017 Environmental Justice Policy. The Task Force is developing a Secretariat-wide EJ Strategy to proactively promote environmental justice across the Commonwealth in ways that are tailored to each EEA Agency’s mission. The EJ Strategy will guide EEA agencies and offices in how to appropriately integrate environmental justice considerations into policies, programs and strategies. Since 2020, each agency’s EJ point of contact has acted as a liaison between the public and state offices, regularly connecting constituents to the right staff person to address EJ concerns. In addition to the EJ Task Force, EEA will convene an Environmental Justice Advisory Council whose work shall include, but need not be limited to, making written recommendations to the Governor and the Director of Environmental Justice concerning policies, practices, and specific actions that the Commonwealth should implement to ensure that the objectives of Executive Order 552 are accomplished.

Goals and metrics for tracking progress

In addition to its oversight role through the EEAC, MA DOER oversees statewide in-home audit program through the Massachusetts Residential Conservation Services (RCS) statute (M.G.L. c.164 App.§§2-1 to 2-10) and the associated regulation and guideline. Pursuant to the RCS statute and regulation, 225 CMR 4.00, DOER is required to establish outcomes for the RCS program, and 3-year plan Program Administrators and Municipal Utilities are required to submit quarterly reports to DOER based on those outcomes. In 2020, DOER issued outcomes for the RCS. These outcomes include “increasing the number of hard-to-reach customers served by RCS Programs, including rental, moderate income, and non-English speaking households.” DOER is currently developing a reporting framework for this outcome (as well as other outcomes).

EOEEA-convened Interagency Cumulative Impact Workgroup – In light of the mandates specified by the new statute, Chapter 8 of the Acts of 2021, an Act Creating a Next Generation Road Map for Massachusetts Climate Policy, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs is convening an inter-agency work group to define and develop a standardized methodology to assess cumulative impacts of environmental burdens over time with regard to environmental justice populations. The immediate goals of this workgroup, to be further refined through subsequent meetings, is the following: (1) identify which pollution sources and social determinants of health should be considered while assessing cumulative impacts, and (2) develop a quantitative method by which cumulative impacts can be measured, such that state agencies may utilize this information in permitting, siting, grant disbursement, enforcement and other state functions.

With respect to development of the 2022-2024 Three Year Energy Efficiency Plan, the Energy Efficiency Advisory Council (EEAC) recommended various types of reporting with respect to the Mass Save income eligible programs, including the following recommendations:

  • Collect and report data on the number, type, and location of barriers including those related to installation (e.g., building code violations) as well as those related to participation. Use this data to inform program delivery.
  • Determine if there are differences in service by Community Action Agency territory, PA territory, or PA program (gas or electric) that are not warranted by differences in proportions of low-income households.
  • Strengthen regular reporting in order to identify areas of improvement and resources needed to support comprehensive and equitable service to all submarkets.

Workforce Development

In 2022-2024, Massachusetts is investing over $49 million (inclusive of funds to Mass Clean Energy Center, “MassCEC”) to train a more diverse and field-ready workforce, including the Program Administrators’ (Utilities + Cape Light Compact) innovative “Clean Energy Pathways” internship program and a commitment to work with the MassCEC, which has a leadership role in workforce development. Below is a summary of the MassCEC’s workforce development efforts:

  • In 2020, MassCEC began updating its existing Clean Energy Internship Program (which recently celebrated placement of 5000 students over 9 years in internships) to increase diversity in the clean energy workforce. Beginning in 2021, MassCEC began reserving 20% of its internship spots for employers in Gateway Cities and/or students in Gateway Cities. In addition, starting with summer of 2021, MassCEC has hired four (4) training providers to recruit, support, and mentor underrepresented student populations in the MassCEC Clean Energy Internship program to further boost diversity of participants. The providers matched students with companies and developed workshops for underrepresented students during their internships.
  • The Massachusetts Vocational Internship Program (VIP) is a workforce development initiative offered through the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC). The Program enhances the talent pipeline for Massachusetts clean energy companies and places skilled labor from vocational high schools in paid clean energy internships during the academic year.
  • In addition to its internship programs, MassCEC hosts an online job board with multiple listings for private and non-profit clean energy industry job opportunities.
  • In March 2022, MassCEC issued a solicitation (total funding $4.5 million) or programs that support the expansion of minority and women owned businesses in clean energy and climate-critical sectors. This solicitation will be re-opened every six months.
  • In 2021, MassCEC published a report on the status of the Building Operations sector of the MA economy. The report outlines the current status of this workforce, including demographics, training needs (both short and long term), and career pathways. The report will guide MassCEC in preparing for future workforce programs. MassCEC is continuing this work in 2022 by conducting a broader Workforce Needs Analysis for all Climate Critical Occupations that will outline the current status of this workforce, including demographics, training needs (both short and long term), and career pathways. The analysis and subsequent report will provide a framework of industry needs and training gaps of climate critical occupations, and also highlight workforce best practices associated with supporting clean energy minority and women owned businesses, engaging and supporting residents in environmental justice neighborhoods, and current and former fossil fuel workers to join the clean energy industry. The report will inform MassCEC’s future workforce development strategy and program development efforts, particularly with respect to meeting Massachusetts’s aggressive 2030 GHG emissions targets.
  • Building on the 2018 Workforce Assessment and to further examine the workforce required to complete the first 1,600 megawatts of Massachusetts offshore wind (the Vineyard Wind and Mayflower Wind projects), MassCEC commissioned the 2021 Offshore Wind Workforce Training & Development in Massachusetts Report, developed by BW Research Partnership, which provides a deeper examination of capabilities and opportunities in the offshore wind workforce.
  • In July of 2021, MassCEC announced awards to eight organizations under the Access to Opportunity in the Offshore Wind Workforce solicitation, which focused exclusively on building a more equitable offshore wind workforce from the ground up and increasing awareness of potential job opportunities. To inform the funding opportunity, MassCEC engaged with critical groups and sought stakeholder feedback on how to effectively support programs that aim to increase the participation of underrepresented populations and/or target communities in the developing offshore wind workforce and reduce barriers for individuals interested in pursuing offshore wind job opportunities.

Specific funding opportunities for businesses in 2022 include the following:

  • Workforce Equity Training Programs planning grants. This opportunity provides $50,000 Planning Grants for partnerships of organizations serving environmental justice neighborhoods to develop a workforce training plans aimed at training residents for priority occupations and working with employers to hire or apprentice trainees.
  • Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) Support. This Program was authorized for $4.5 million, and will provide grants between $250,000 and $1 million for organizations to support Massachusetts-based MWBE companies in their entry, creation, and expansion into fields that are critical to meeting the Commonwealth's climate goals.

The 2022-2024 Three Year Plan includes specific equity-related workforce, including the following:

  • Through the Clean Energy Pathways Program (a program designed to increase opportunities in the clean energy workforce for individuals historically underrepresented in the industry), over the three years, at least 120 people will complete training and be placed in clean energy industry positions. Of the goal of 120 people, the goal is that at least 90 people are Women, Black, Indigenous, or People of Color, fluent in language(s) other than English, and/or from EJ block groups at time of enrollment.  
  • The Plan includes annual tracking and reporting on the number of M/WBEs contracts and spend for contracts that are directly between PAs and vendors that are M/WBEs.
  • In 2022, an EM&V study will be completed  to analyze whether substantial disparities exist between the availability and Mass Save utilization of state-certified minority and woman-owned business enterprises (M/WBE) in procurement for lead vendors and subcontractors by the Massachusetts Program Administrators (statewide and individually) related to energy efficiency programs and services.
  • Program Adminstrators (PA) will hold at least two workshops per year for contractors interested in working in Mass Save to provide education on programs in order to increase ability of new M/WBE vendors to participate; PAs to target advertising for the workshop to likely M/WBE contractors.
  • At least once per year, the PAs will perform direct targeted outreach to all Massachusetts-certified M/WBEs listed in the Massachusetts Supplier Diversity Office’s Directory of Certified Businesses with a Description of Services that indicates that they provide services or equipment that are likely eligible for Mass Save contracts, subcontracts, or incentives. A description of the outreach methods and number and types of businesses contacted will be reported annually.

In addition, a portion of funds from the Merrimack Valley Renewal Fund (jointly administered by DOER and the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General) will be allocated to workforce development to engage local residents in the clean energy economy. Clean energy and energy efficiency programs funded by the Merrimack Valley Renewal Fund will be designed to utilize and develop the local workforce.

Last Reviewed: July 2021

Carbon Pricing PoliciesList All

Massachusetts is a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade program for reducing GHG emissions in North America that began its compliance period in 2009. Capping CO2 emissions from the power sector, the program aims to reduce emissions by 45% below 2005 levels by 2020 and additionally by 30% by 2030.

As of the end of 2017, 84% of Massachusetts’ $452 million of RGGI investment was dedicated to energy efficiency through the statewide Three-Year Energy Efficiency Investment Plans and other state programs managed by the Department of Energy Resources such as the Green Communities Designation and Grant Program. After administrative costs and mandated funding to communities that experienced fossil fuel plant closures are allocated, 80% of remaining proceeds (net funding) are allocated to the statewide Energy Efficiency Investment Plans implemented through the Commonwealth’s investor-owned utilities and Program Administrators under the Mass Save® brand to deliver cost-effective energy savings to Massachusetts residences and businesses. The remaining 20% of net funding has been used for Massachusetts’ Green Communities to implement clean energy projects including energy efficiency improvements in municipal-owned buildings, and more recently Massachusetts has initiated incentive programs for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles through RGGI proceeds.

Massachusetts is also a participant in the Transportation and Climate Initiative’s effort to develop a cap-and-invest program for transportation emissions. This team is engaged in modeling, outreach, and program development efforts and is targeting fall of 2020 for announcement of potential program design.

Most of the state’s efficiency programs track avoided emissions. Some state programs do not track avoided emissions because they apply to overcoming market barriers at various stages of the energy efficiency life-cycle rather than direct savings (e.g. grants for training and market development). Avoided cost of environmental compliance (for RGGI) has been a benefit in the benefit-cost test since codified in D.P.U 08-50A (2009). Beginning in 2019, $68/short ton avoided CO2 costs were added as a benefit by D.P.U.

Per state legislation S.9, Massachusetts does have a statewide emissions reduction goal in place, specifically to reduce emissions 100% by 2050 (baseline year 1990).

Last Reviewed: September 2022

Building Energy Disclosure List All
  • Building type(s) affected: residential

SB 2746 requires the disclosure of information regarding the benefits of home energy audits to buyers of single-family homes or small multi-family homes at the time of closing.

DOER has been piloting a Building Asset Rating (BAR) reporting protocol to serve as a next step for cities that have a disclosure ordinance in place. The BAR pilot has completed assessments of 41 commercial office building and has developed protocols for these building assessments.

Through the Home Energy Labeling Information Exchange (HELIX) DOER is partnering with the Vermont Public Service Department and other Northeast states to make U.S. DOE Home Energy Score (HES) data accessible to local Multiple Listing Services (MLS) and other market interests (e.g., assessors, appraisers, lenders) through a publicly accessible database. The project will support the market valuation of energy efficiency in homes and kicked off in late April 2016. HELIX is supported by a U.S. DOE award of $786,103 (over three years), and by funds provided by DOER, as well as DOER staff time.

In addition, through the Energy Metrics to Promote Residential Energy Scorecards in the States (EMPRESS), the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (RI OER), and the National Association of State Energy Offices (NASEO) will further work to develop common building energy labeling infrastructure by harmonizing the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) used for new homes and the DOE Home Energy Score (HES) used for existing homes. Both HELIX and EMPRESS build from a DOE-funded two year pilot, called Home MPG, completed in 2014. Home MPG was a collaboration between DOER and three investor-owned utilities in which over 3866 homes received home energy performance scores (EPS) through the Mass Save home energy audit program, and 1593 of those homes (41%) received an updated EPS after completing efficiency upgrades.

In 2018, Governor Baker introduced bill number H. 4371 in the Massachusetts Legislature that would require home energy scorecards to be part of an MLS listing. Massachusetts has developed a standardized residential Home energy scorecard, and has voluntary reporting in place through home energy assessments made by 39 of the 40 municipal utilities in the state. HERS ratings of newly constructed homes also now integrate voluntary reporting of both the HERS index and the same MA residential home energy scorecard which are stored in the Home Energy Labeling Information Exchange (HELIX) database and the Green building registry (GBR). This voluntary program allows home owners and realtors to leverage this data since HELIX and GBR can make it accessible to local Multiple Listing Services (MLS) and other market interests (e.g., assessors, appraisers, lenders). 

Last Reviewed: May 2022

Public Building Requirements List All

Massachusetts has several high-performance building requirements to help increase the energy efficiency of state government facilities. Building on the success of Executive Order 484 (2007), Executive Order 594, signed in April 2021, sets goals and requirements that will accelerate the decarbonization of fuels used to heat and cool state facilities, help to demonstrate new technologies and strategies necessary to meet the Commonwealth’s energy goals, and quicken the shift to electric heating in state buildings. EO 594 sets a target to reduce the energy use intensity (energy consumption per square foot) of state buildings by 20% in fiscal year 2025 and 30% in 2030 (based on a fiscal year 2004 baseline). As part of efforts to reduce energy use, emissions and costs, EO 594 also sets targets to reduce fuel oil consumption by 90% by 2025 and 95% by 2030 from a 2004 baseline. The state publicly tracks progress towards EO 594 targets and a broad range of sustainability metrics. As per Executive Order 594, new state construction projects will be required to follow the energy efficiency requirements of the specialized stretch energy code within 6 months of the promulgation of that code by the Dept. of Energy Resources.

EO 594 also establishes a revised Mass LEED Plus construction standard for all new state buildings and substantial renovations over 20,000 square feet. The Massachusetts LEED Plus 2.0 Standard for New Construction requires various energy efficiency measures including, minimum LEED Silver certification, proposed energy use intensity that is 20% better than the current MA energy code and prioritizes improved envelope performance, reduced air infiltration, ventilation heat recovery, and external shading and reduction in solar heat gains. Additionally, new construction must use only efficient electric or renewable thermal technologies for all space heating and cooling and, to the greatest extent possible for service water heating; target best-in-class energy use intensity during design; maximize the installation of and preparation for onsite renewable energy; and include EV charging requirements for new and fully reconstructed parking lots. Both iterations of Mass LEED plus have resulted in 97 LEED certified buildings in the state portfolio, including 5 Platinum and 54 Gold certifications. In addition, there are 5 buildings designed to achieve net zero energy, with several more in various stages of design and construction.

Since 2013, the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) has overseen the completion of 90 energy projects in almost 30 million square feet of state buildings, almost half the state building portfolio. These completed projects represent an investment of $265 million, saving the Commonwealth approximately $15.5 million and 560,000 MMBtu annually. The 90 energy projects consisted of 43 Comprehensive Design-Build or Existing Building Commissioning projects and 47 bundles of small energy projects at 367 sites. These projects included nine solar installations – four canopies, three roof-mounted, and two ground-mounted – for a total of 2,670 kW. In 2021, 35 state facilities actively participated in Demand Response programs. Collectively, these projects reduce GHG emissions by about 44,000 metric tons annually. Efficiency measures include LED lighting retrofits and lighting controls, insulation and weatherization, window replacements, boiler replacements, heating, ventilation and air conditioning and mechanical upgrades, and more. Many of these projects include the installation of EV chargers and renewable heating and cooling technologies, including biomass, air and ground source heat pumps, and solar thermal.

DCAMM is focused on fossil fuel free approaches to heating and cooling with four new facilities in construction and three facilities in various stages of design. Six of these projects are using ground source systems; one project is using an air to water heat pump approach. Additionally, DCAMM is setting EUI targets and tracking EUI for all major capital projects.

At the center of the Commonwealth’s data-driven approach to reducing carbon emissions is the award-winning Energy Intelligence program. The innovative Commonwealth Energy Intelligence (CEI) program, managed by DCAMM, is at the core of the Commonwealth’s decarbonization and consumption reduction planning. This energy and water information tracking system provides the Commonwealth with unparalleled access to real-time building information and utility bills in an easily accessible platform, formulating the basis for accurate consumption reduction projections and meaningful projects.

As CEI enters its twelfth year, the Commonwealth and its new vendor SourceOne, continue to expand the program, adding water metering as well as more buildings to the portfolio. The expanding system provides facilities and agencies with a better understanding of whole building consumption and operations; allowing benchmarking, EUI tracking, COVID operation trend tracking, equipment right-sizing, and identification of future projects to meet the Commonwealth’s emissions reduction goals. The Commonwealth is committed to continuing its investment in this beneficial program for the foreseeable future with a goal of including all buildings over 20,000 square feet.

The state’s Green Communities Division has also developed and implemented MassEnergyInsight (MEI), a free, web-based tool that helps cities and towns make informed, targeted decisions about energy efficiency investments. MEI provides communities and state facilities with customized electricity, natural gas, and oil usage information to allow local officials to understand where their departments and buildings are wasting energy and act to reduce that waste.

The State’s Leading by Example program utilizes three databases for the benchmarking and tracking of state facilities. Firstly, the LBE database tracks 100% of the roughly 80 million square feet of state-owned facilities across the Commonwealth. Data are retrieved from a variety of sources, including statewide fuel contracts, utility accounts, and an annual energy tracking form distributed to campuses and agencies to facilitate self-reporting. MassEnergyInsight functions as the second database used for tracking and benchmarking of state facilities, providing monthly, site-level utility account data for over 80% of square footage at state facilities. The Commonwealth Energy Intelligence system functions as the tertiary database, providing multi-commodity interval data for close to 400 buildings across dozens of state sites.

Massachusetts is also a partner in the US Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge (BBC), a voluntary program which sets long range energy reduction targets for a select portfolio of buildings, requires the state to track and report detailed energy use at its facilities annually, and develop and document one or more showcase projects that demonstrate best practices and far-reaching energy strategies. As of FY21, the participating LBE facilities have reduced overall source EUI by 24% from a 2009 baseline with a goal of reducing EUI 20% by 2022. COVID-19 related closures have impacted operations at many state facilities which may be reflected in overall progress in affected years, included FY 2021.

Last Reviewed: June 2022

Fleets List All

There are various requirements to increase the efficiency of vehicles owned and operated by state entities.

The Green Communities Act requires the state to purchase hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles in such numbers that 50% of the fleet is hybrid or AFV by 2018. In addition, the Green Communities Act also requires the development of a fuel efficiency standard (FES) for the state fleet. This standard was developed and approved by DOER and the Operational Services Division in 2016 and encompasses the state’s executive branch lighter duty fleet of more than 3,000 vehicles. Currently the Standard sets minimum combined MPG requirements by vehicle class and alternative fuel vehicle acquisition requirements for all new purchases or leases. The standard is accompanied by an innovative calculator that allows fleet managers to input desired vehicles and immediately see whether or not their acquisitions will meet the standard. DOER has hosted webinars and one-on-one trainings to help fleets understand and comply with the standard. The standard is currently undergoing revisions, expected to go into effect starting July 2022, that will prioritize energy efficiency through fleet electrification and help to operationalize the fleet acquisition requirements set forth in EO 594. The new standard will also issue scorecards to eligible entities detailing compliance with the FES and progress towards EO 594 ZEV fleet targets.

Executive Order 594 sets electrification targets and requirements for the state fleet, which includes vehicles owned and operated by executive branch agencies and public institutions of higher education, as well as the MBTA’s non-revenue fleet. EO 594 sets targets to increase the percentage of the state fleet comprised of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), such that 5% of the total fleet consists of Zero Emission Vehicles in fiscal year 2025, 20% in 2030, 75% in 2040, and 100% in 2050. To support these targets, the order sets zero-emission vehicle acquisition requirements. Starting July 1, 2022, all new acquisitions with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 8,500 lbs or less must be a ZEV; starting July 1, 2024, all new acquisitions with a GVWR of 14,000 lbs or less must be a ZEV; and starting July 1, 2029, all new acquisitions with a GVWR over 14,000 lbs must be a ZEV. To support the fleet electrification requirements, EO 594 also sets an EV charging station requirement such that 350 EV charging station are installed at state owned facilities by fiscal year 2025 and 500 EV charging stations installed by fiscal year 2030.

Additionally, two statewide contracts were developed and released to support fleet efficiency efforts. Managed by the Operational Services Division, contracts VEH110 for Light and Medium Duty Vehicles and VEH111 for Heavy Duty Vehicles and On-Road Construction prioritized electrification and efficiency during the contract development and bidder evaluation process in order to provide public entities with greater access to fuel efficient vehicles by ensuring an array of electric, hybrid, and alternative fuel vehicles are available for purchase by any state agency, campus, or municipality. Taking this a step further, VEH110 requires awarded vendors to offer only battery-electric, plug-in hybrid electric, or hybrid models for any sedan, minivan, or SUV listed on the contract. Through the various statewide contracts, there are now 20 full battery-electric models, 10 plug-in hybrid models, and 16 hybrid electric models available for purchase by any eligible entity (including all state and local government entities) in the Commonwealth.

In addition, the Advanced Vehicle Technologies statewide contract (VEH102) provides state and municipal entities access to a variety of electric vehicle charging station options, as well as after-market battery-electric vehicles, and idle reduction technologies.

Lastly, as the electric vehicle market transforms and requires new infrastructure to support these vehicles, LBE works with agencies and higher ed campuses to address opportunities to integrate electric vehicle charging stations at their facilities. Any state solar canopy project that receives funding from the LBE solar grant program must install at least 2 EV charging stations as well as provide pre-wiring for future station installations. As of May 2022, there are 290 electric vehicle charging stations at state facilities, including 262 level 2 chargers (460 distinct ports) and 22 DC fast chargers at 15 locations. Additionally, LBE has been working on technical documents to support agencies and campuses in their transition to EVs and EVSE, including a guidance document, procurement roadmap (to help navigate the complex selection, procurement and funding landscape), and an electric vehicle savings calculator to help easily compare the cost and emissions savings of EV options available on statewide contract.

Last Reviewed: June 2022

Energy Savings Performance Contracting List All

In 2007, Executive Order 484 was signed, setting aggressive targets for reductions in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, and increases in use of renewable energy across state government operations. It included a provision that directed state agencies to implement ESPCs for all facilities larger than 100,000 square feet. The Department of Administration and Finance houses the ESPC Program under its sub-Department of Capital and Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM). Massachusetts offers some model documents, including a model contract.

Through the DCAMM-DOER Accelerated Energy Program which began in 2012, a total of some $470 million in energy investments will be made for projects across 58 million square feet of state buildings, resulting in a 25% energy reduction and a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions totaling 135,000 metric tons. Municipalities also utilize energy saving performance contracts through the Department of Energy Resources (DOER). The agency provides procurement guidance and oversight, a manual and model procurement documents that regulate the process. Most municipal projects include both school and municipal sites under one ESPC project. Projects include energy and water conservation and efficiency upgrades including nontraditional measures such solar onsite energy generation and street lighting. To date, local governmental bodies have invested in almost $485 million in projects representing over $23 million in annual cost savings.

Additionally, DOER signed onto the DOE Better Buildings Performance Contracting Accelerator, pledging at least $350 million toward energy projects at state and municipal buildings between 2013 and 2016. Under this program to date, 93 state and municipal projects are underway, representing an investment of more than $265 million, or nearly 76% of the full commitment. Of these, 36 are state projects and 57 are municipal projects, estimated to save these entities more than $9 million and $5.8 million in annual energy costs, respectively. In 2016, Massachusetts surpassed its commitment for the ESPC Accelerator and was named one of the Energy Steward Champions by the Energy Services Coalition.

Last Reviewed: July 2020

Research & Development List All

The Massachusetts Energy Efficiency Partnership (MAEEP) supports demonstration of energy efficiency technology and tools to the industrial, commercial, and institutional sectors. The MAEEP program leverages resources from U.S. DOE, the University of Massachusetts and Massachusetts electric utilities.

The Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (CEERE) at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst provides technological and economic solutions to environmental problems resulting from energy production, industrial, manufacturing, and commercial activities, and land use practices. The university-based research program is built upon four subgroups of Renewable Energy Resources, Building Energy Efficiency, Industrial Energy Efficiency, and Environmental Technologies with unique abilities to service energy and environmental problems. The Center has 43 faculty and staff and is funded in part through U.S. DOE grants. 

Massachusetts is also leveraging $4.5 million in grants to pilot programs to demonstrate energy-efficient technologies in the building sector.

In 2014, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (CEC) in collaboration with DOER, launched the Mass. as First Customer Program, which aims to help young, innovative clean energy firms develop market and customers at public entities for their products, technologies and services. Working with DOER and DCAMM, the program has held 2 innovative technology vendor fairs, one targeted at all public agencies and one at public colleges and universities. Additionally, the Program is identifying a small subset of companies that have products ready to go to market and will work closely with state partners to identify potential host sites for both pilots and installations.

Massachusetts also supports an extensive system of clean energy R&D and market development centers and incubators, including:  Institute of Energy and Sustainability, North Shore Innoventures, and other entrepreneurship incubators that do not focus on clean energy specifically but do support some energy efficiency businesses. In 2015, DOER worked with UMass again to expand services to residents and businesses through the Clean Energy Extension (CEE) program. The CEE works to reduce market barriers and accelerate the adoption of clean energy for Massachusetts cities and towns, businesses, institutions, farms, low income and multi-unit housing, and others. The CEE's mission is to provide outreach, technical assistance, and research to the market.

Last Reviewed: July 2019

Score: 10.5 out of 12
Buildings Summary List All

The Board of Building Regulations and Standards adopted the 2018 IECC and ASHRAE Standards 90.1-2016, with strengthening amendments. The state stretch energy code remains as a requirement to exceed the baseline state code by approximately 10% for new large commercial construction, or to require a HERS rating of 55 or less or a Passive house certification for new low-rise residential construction. Adoption of the Massachusetts stretch energy code has continued to grow, it is now adopted in 252 towns and cities accounting for 79 percent of the state population. Massachusetts has implemented a variety of activities to ensure robust energy code training and compliance.

The state's Next Generation Roadmap for Climate Policy legislation signed in March 2021 also calls for development of an opt-in net-zero stretch code that defines a net-zero building and net-zero building performance standards. 

Last reviewed: July 2021

Residential Codes List All

For the Base energy code, the Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) has begun the adoption process for the IECC 2021 with MA amendments as part of the 10th edition of the MA state building code. The draft energy code and amendments were posted in December 2021 at: 
A Public hearing on the 10th edition codes is expected this summer, with an effective date of adoption targeted at January 2023.

Until that time, MA remains on the 2020 MA energy code, which adopted the IECC 2018 with MA amendments as part of the 9th edition of the MA state building code. The updated code became available on Feb 8, 2020,  with the 2015 code expiring on Aug 8, 2020. Due to Covid-19 the BBRS in considering extending the end date for the 2015 code to Jan 1, 2021. The new energy chapters reference the IECC 2018 with strengthening amendments. Strengthening amendments include a new section R407, solar readiness requirements and HERS 55 rather than 62. The Board did not make significant changes to the residential stretch energy code, which continues to require HERS 55 or less for new construction with incentives for solar PV and onsite renewable energy or cold-climate heat pumps. Alternative residential stretch code options include meeting the Energy Star Homes 3.1 standard or the Passive House Standard.

Residential strengthening amendments include a lower HERS rating of 55 (IECC2018 is at 62), the removal of section R405 which is often the least stringent code option, and a new prescriptive section R407. The residential stretch energy code continues to require HERS 55 or less for new construction with incentives for onsite renewable energy and/or cold-climate heat pumps. Alternative residential stretch code options include meeting the Energy Star Homes 3.1 standard or Passive House Certification.

Massachusetts has a statewide stretch energy code that has now been adopted by 289 of the 351 cities and towns  (link). The Stretch energy code requires performance standards to be met above and beyond the baseline code. The options for residential units are 3rd party verified HERS rating, Energy Star 3.1 certification or Passivehouse certification. For commercial buildings over 100,000 sq ft or for some load-intensive buildings over 40,000 sq ft it requires demonstrating 10% or greater energy reduction relative to ASHRAE 90.1-2013 Appendix G after incorporating the MA strengthening amendments (ie. C406).

The state's Next Generation Roadmap for Climate Policy legislation signed in March 2021 also calls for development of an opt-in net-zero stretch code that defines a net-zero building and net-zero building performance standards.

Last reviewed: May 2022

Commercial Code List All

The Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) has adopted the IECC 2018 with MA amendments as part of the 9th edition of the MA state building code. The updated code became available on Feb 8, 2020,  with the 2015 code expiring on Aug 8, 2020. Due to Covid-19 the BBRS in considering extending the end date for the 2015 code to Jan 1, 2021. The new energy chapters reference the IECC 2018 and ASHRAE 90.1-2016, with strengthening amendments. Notable strengthening amendments include: adoption of the IECC solar-ready appendix CA, building envelope backstop provisions, updated lighting power density requirements, requirements for an EV ready parking space at most new commercial buildings, and requiring 3 options in section C406. The Board update also impacts the state stretch energy code for large commercial buildings which continues to exceed the ASHRAE 90.1-2013 standard plus section C406 amendments by 10% on either a site energy or source energy basis.

Commercial strengthening amendments include: adoption of the IECC solar-ready appendix CA, building envelope backstop provisions, updated interior and exterior lighting power density requirements, requirements for an EV ready parking space at most new commercial buildings, and requiring 3 options (IECC requires 1) in section C406. The code update also indirectly impacts the state stretch energy code for large commercial buildings which continues to exceed the ASHRAE standard 90.1-2013 plus C406 by 10% on either a site energy or source energy basis.

Massachusetts has a statewide stretch energy code that has now been adopted by 299 of the 351 cities and towns  (link). The Stretch energy code requires performance standards to be met above and beyond the baseline code. The options for residential units are 3rd party verified HERS rating, Energy Star 3.1 certification or Passivehouse certification. For commercial buildings over 100,000 sq ft or for some load-intensive buildings over 40,000 sq ft it requires demonstrating 10% or greater energy reduction relative to ASHRAE 90.1-2013 Appendix G after incorporating the MA strengthening amendments (ie. C406).

The state's Next Generation Roadmap for Climate Policy legislation signed in March 2021 also calls for development of an opt-in net-zero stretch code that defines a net-zero building and net-zero building performance standards. 

Last reviewed: May 2022

Compliance List All
  • Baseline & Updated Compliance Studies: The most recent energy code baseline study for residential covering 2019 new construction was published in April 2020. The report can be found here. The most recent commercial code compliance study was completed in 2016. The MA compliance study for residential used the MA-REC methodology, an alternative, more energy performance-based method for assessing energy code compliance than the PNNL checklist based protocol. The MA compliance study for commercial used both the DOE PNNL protocol (based on a checklist approach) and an alternative methodology, but it is more closely tied to the PNNL protocol. In statewide studies, results are reported for both the PNNL methodology (for comparison with other states) and the MA-REC methodology – which is used for tracking energy and greenhouse gas savings. 
  • The statewide Residential combined base code and stretch code compliance rate estimated in the 2020 study is 96%. The following is an excerpt from the study executive summary:

    Including program homes, the average overall code compliance for base code towns has increased from 86% to 94% since 2015. Despite the increase in stretch code stringency, the average for stretch code towns stayed relatively constant at 96% in 2015 and 98%in 2019.This reflects the limited changes in base code since 2015 and the larger changes in stretch code. The increase in code compliance is largely due to the increase in program penetration. Program homes have higher compliance rates than do non-program homes across all measures. Overall compliance also increased due to increased stretch code adoption since 2015.Stretch code towns have slightly higher average compliance rates than do base code towns. Non-program has remained constant since 2015 at 88% despite an increase in code stringency.

    The residential study methodology essentially uses the performance path using HERS ratings to assess compliance. 

  • Utility Involvement: The recently approved three-year energy efficiency plans for investor-owned utilities in Massachusetts have formalized utility sponsored programs that support both building energy code compliance and development through the Code Compliance Support Initiative and the Energy Code Technical Support Initiative.
  • Stakeholder Advisory Group: Utility program administrators, Code Compliance program vendors, DOER,  and consultants to the MA Energy Efficiency Advisory Council meet as needed. 
  • Training/Outreach: The Mass Save Energy Code Technical Support Initiative provides Massachusetts code officials, design professionals, builders, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers and others, with valuable building energy code compliance training, technical support, and documentation tools. Local building cCode officials are required by the state to maintain continuing education hours including some specifically in the energy codes. In addition, DOER is working with ICC to publish an integrated code book containing the MA amended IECC2018, ASHRAE90.1-2016 and the stretch energy code amendments, which will be freely distributed to MA code officials and available from ICC for purchase by the design and construction community.

Last reviewed: May 2022 

CHP Summary List All

The state has a variety of policies to encourage CHP deployment, including an incentive program, inclusion of CHP as an eligible resource within the state's EERS, and an interconnection standard that applies to CHP. Five new CHP installations came online in 2018.

Interconnection StandardsList All

Policy: Massachusetts Distributed Generation Interconnection Rules

Description: Massachusetts’ investor-owned utilities use an established interconnection process for all distributed generation, including CHP. There are three tiers of interconnection, corresponding with increased system scrutiny and fees. There is no set limit on system size, but a more extensive system impact study may be required on systems larger than 1MW, and is definitely required for systems larger than 5MW.

Last Reviewed: July 2019

Encouraging CHP as a ResourceList All

CHP in energy efficiency standards: Massachusetts passed an Energy Efficiency First Fuel Requirement bill that requires electric and gas utilities to prioritize cost-effective energy efficiency and demand reduction resources over supply resources. Demand side resources include "energy efficiency, load management, demand response and generation that is located behind a customer's meter including a CHP system with an annual efficiency of 60% or greater with the goal of 80% annual efficiency for CHP systems by 2020."

Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources has also established an Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (APS). The APS sets targets for sales of “alternative” energy to retail customers by electricity suppliers. For the purposes of the APS, CHP is specifically included as an “alternative generation unit.”

Last Revised: July 2019

Deployment IncentivesList All

Incentives, grants, or financing: Through the Mass Save CHP Program, CHP system owners have access to three tiers of incentives – basic, moderate, and advanced – and each tier provides a greater reward to systems that are sized and designed to achieve ideal performance and cost-effectiveness. Incentives range from $750/kW to $1,200/kW and cannot exceed 50% of total project costs.

Net metering: In Massachusetts net metering was originally authorized for renewable-energy systems and combined-heat-and-power (CHP) facilities with a generating capacity up to 30 kilowatts (kW) by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) in 1982. In 1997, the maximum individual system capacity was raised to 60 kW and customers were permitted to carry any net excess generation to the next bill. In July 2008, net metering was significantly expanded by S.B. 2768 and the DPU adopted rules implementing the law in June 2009Net metering was significantly expanded as part of the Green Communities Act of 2008 and was further modified in 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016. Current net metering caps are set at 7% of historical peak load for private facilities and 8% of historical peak load for public facilities.

The DPU adopted amended net-metering rules in July 2009. In August 2009, the DPU issued its model net metering tariff so that customers in Massachusetts are subject to the same net metering tariffs regardless of utility. The state's investor-owned utilities must offer net metering. Municipal utilities are not obligated to offer net metering, but they may do so voluntarily. The aggregate capacity of net metering is limited to 1% of each utility’s peak load.

CHP systems under 60 kW are eligible as "Class I" systems for net metering in Massachusetts. CHP systems using anaerobic digester gas as fuel or that are classified as an agricultural net metering facility can be up to 2 MW. if serving a non-public customer(s) or 10 MW if serving a public customer(s).

Last Revised: July 2019

Additional Supportive PoliciesList All

Some additional supportive policies exist to encourage CHP in Massachusetts. Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA), which defines the state’s environmental review process for large building projects requires a detailed analysis and evaluation of the feasibility of CHP.

CHP is also being supported through the state's $40 million Resiliency Initiative. For example, grants have covered the cost of adding black start and island mode capability to major CHP systems located at critical public facilities.

Last Revised: July 2019

Score: 14 out of 15
Utilities Summary List All

Massachusetts is a leading state with a long, successful record of implementing energy efficiency programs for all customer sectors. The state created an aggressive funding mechanism and required electric utilities to provide energy efficiency programs during its restructuring of the industry in 1997. The natural gas utilities in the state have offered energy efficiency programs to customers since the late 1980s.

In 2008, the governor signed Chapter 169 of the Acts of 2008, An Act Relative to Green Communities. The new law altered the approval process and timeline for electric and natural gas utility energy efficiency plans and required the utilities to file the plans every three years. The law required the state’s regulatory authority, the Department of Public Utilities, to ensure that energy efficiency programs “are delivered in a cost-effective manner capturing all available efficiency opportunities, minimizing administrative costs to the fullest extent practicable, and utilizing competitive procurement processes to the fullest extent practicable.” In addition, the law directed the DPU to appoint and convene an Energy Efficiency Advisory Council (EEAC), whose members play a key role in designing, approving, and monitoring the energy efficiency programs of Massachusetts' investor-owned utilities. The EEAC’s primary mandate is achieving the goals outlined in the Green Communities Act and developing a long-term vision, including recommendations concerning studies and research to achieve the goals of acquiring all cost-effective efficiency that is less than the cost of generation, and maximizing economic and environmental benefits that can be realized through increased energy efficiency.

Ten years after the Green Communities Act was signed, the governor signed Chapter 227 of the Acts of 2018, An Act to Advance Clean Energy.  This law positioned Massachusetts's energy efficiency programs to address current challenges related to climate and technology changes by decreasing dependence on fossil fuels and actively managing energy loads in real-time.

Legislation enacted in 2021 went further to strengthen the state’s climate goals. S.9, An Act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy, adopted a new 2050 net-zero emissions target, with incremental five-year targets and subsector performance goals. The law also realigns efficiency with decarbonization targets, establishing specific GHG savings goals for Mass Save efficiency programs, which has resulted in a stronger emphasis on electrification measures and building retrofits.

Massachusetts has decoupling in place for all of its gas and electric utilities. Shareholder incentives are in place for electric and gas utilities. The shareholder incentive provides performance incentives for IOUs to earn a return (depending on PA performance against planned metrics) on the 3-year plan spending for meeting program goals.

The most recent budgets for energy efficiency programs and electricity and natural gas savings can be found in the State Spending and Savings Tables.

Last reviewed: April 2022

Customer Energy Efficiency Programs List All

Massachusetts has a restructured utility industry with competitive generation and retail markets. The distribution companies remain regulated and are required to offer energy efficiency and other demand-side management programs (including active demand management and electrification for greenhouse gas reductions). The law governing these programs is Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 25 §19. The distribution utilities administer their own energy efficiency programs with collaborative input and oversight from the Massachusetts Energy Efficiency Advisory Council, a stakeholder body chaired by the state Department of Energy Resources (DOER). The Department of Public Utilities has regulatory responsibility.

All investor-owned gas and electric utilities and energy efficiency program administrators have partnered together to sponsor the Mass Save® program. Administrators work with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources to provide a wide range of services, incentives, trainings, and information promoting energy efficiency. A variety of electric and gas efficiency programs are also offered directly through IOUs and municipal utilities. Some municipal utilities also offer energy efficiency programs. Energy efficiency program funds must be allocated to customer classes, including the low-income residential subclass, in proportion to these customers’ contributions to those funds. At least 10% of the funding for electric energy efficiency programs and at least 20% of the funding for gas energy efficiency programs must be spent on low-income residential demand-side management and education programs.

The most recent budgets for energy efficiency programs and electricity and natural gas savings can be found at Detailed information is available at the state Savings and Spending tables at

Last reviewed: August 2020

Energy Efficiency as a Resource List All

The Green Communities Act required that electric and gas utilities make acquiring all cost-effective energy efficiency and demand reduction resources a higher priority than using other resources. The Act created an Energy Efficiency Advisory Council (EEAC) that works with utility (and municipal aggregator) program administrators to establish statewide plans for gas and electric utilities for 3 years into the future. Utilities must “provide for the acquisition of all available energy efficiency and demand reduction resources that are cost effective or less expensive than supply” in coordination with the EEAC.

In 2021, section 28 of the Climate Roadmap Act required energy efficiency to be used as a resource toward achieving state wide greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.  Utilities and program administrators prepare plans for the Department of Public Utilities based on annual 3-year budgets and goals recommended by the EEAC. Annual updates are preliminary. This process is open to the public.

Last reviewed: June 2022

Energy Efficiency Resource Standards List All

Summary: Enacted in 2021, An Act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy, adopted a new statewide 2050 net-zero emissions target, and established specific GHG savings goals for Mass Save efficiency programs. A July 2021 letter issued by the state’s Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary formalized these goals requiring the reduction of 504,000 metric tons of CO2e emissions for electric utilities and 341,000 metric tons of CO2e from natural gas programs for 2022-24.

The 2008 Green Communities Act requires that electric and gas utilities procure all cost-effective energy efficiency before more expensive supply resources, requiring a three-year planning cycle.

In January 2019, the DPU approved the fourth 3-year (2019-2021) electric and gas energy efficiency plans under the Green Communities Act, setting among the most ambitious electricity savings targets in the country, averaging 2.7% of annual sales. The state's natural gas plan targeted savings of  95.9 MMTherms over the 2019 to 2021 plan period (equivalent to 1.2% of sales).

The 2022–24 Mass Save plan was approved in early 2022 and includes a strengthened emphasis on electrification, equity, and workforce development in response to ambitious new goals established in 2021 climate legislation signed by Governor Baker to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The law also realigns efficiency with decarbonization targets, establishing specific GHG savings goals for Mass Save efficiency programs. A July 2021 letter issued by the state’s Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary formalized these goals requiring the reduction of 504,000 metric tons of CO2e emissions for electric utilities and 341,000 metric tons of CO2e from natural gas programs for 2022-24. The goals include a focus on measures that will continue to yield cumulative savings over the next decade.

Last reviewed: April 2022

Utility Business Model List All

Massachusetts has implemented decoupling for all of its gas and electric utilities pursuant to DPU Docket 07-50-A (July 2008). Target revenues are determined on a utility-wide basis, and can be adjusted for inflation or capital spending requirements if necessary. The Massachusetts DPU has approved decoupling plans for all utilities. Each distribution company is required to update a decoupling mechanism with its next filed rate case.

Shareholder incentives are in place for electric and gas utilities. The shareholder incentive provides performance incentives for IOUs to earn a return (depending on PA performance against planned metrics) on the 3-year plan spending for meeting program goals. The incentive is based on a combination of elements including energy savings, benefit-cost analysis, and market transformation results. The shareholder incentive structure was amended by DPU Order 20-150-A to reflect that performance incentives should be in line with energy goals as they evolve with state law. The current performance incentive parameters may be found in the 2022-2024 term sheet.

The enabling statute calls for all cost-effective energy efficiency and demand reduction resources (ch. 25 section 21). DPU 21-120 to 21-129 adds an electrification component to the 2022-2024 EE performance incentive.  It provides an additional incentive for utilities to electrify fossil fuel end uses in weatherized homes.  In addition, the approved plans for 2022-2024 set performance incentives based on lifetime MMBTU savings which combines all end uses and, therefore, provides a stronger incentive to electrify than PI based on lifetime electric and gas savings individually.  Because the statute requires demand reduction resources in the portfolio, they are implicitly incented in the standard PI for their benefits as calculated for the cost effectiveness test.

Last reviewed: June 2022

Evaluation, Measurement, & Verification List All
  • Primary cost-effectiveness test(s) used: total resource cost  

  • Secondary cost-effectiveness test(s) used: none 

The evaluation of ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs in Massachusetts relies on both legislative mandates (Green Communities Act of 2008) and regulatory orders (DPU 8-50-A). The order follows the legislation. Updates to rules were made in DPU 11-120, a supplement to 08-50. Evaluations are mainly administered by the Energy Efficiency Program Administrators through an Evaluation Management Committee, which includes a representative from each PA. However, the Massachusetts’s Energy Efficiency Advisory Council oversees the evaluations. Statewide evaluations are conducted except for PA-specific pilots. The state maintains an electronic Technical Reference Manual (eTRM) for information on methods, formulas, and default assumptions for estimating energy, peak demand, and other resource impacts from energy efficiency measures. 

According to the Database of State Efficiency Screening Practices (DSESP), Massachusetts relies on the Total Resource Cost (TRC) test as its primary test for decision making. Resource and non-resource benefits are determined through the EM&V process to be included in the TRC and approved by the DPU. The rules for benefit-cost tests are stated in the Green Communities Act of 2008 and DPU 8-50-A and were amended by the Act to Advance Clean Energy of 2018. Benefit-cost tests are required at the overall sector levels screening. Massachusetts’ test accounts for avoided costs of compliance with emissions regulations and participant health benefits resulting from installed measures. Massachusetts’ TRC accounts for non-energy costs and benefits associated with asset value, productivity, economic well-being (reduced arrearages, terminations and reconnections), comfort, other fuels (natural gas, oil, propane, wood), and water savings. 

Further information on cost-effectiveness screening practices for Massachusetts is available in the Database of State Efficiency Screening Practices (DSESP), a resource of the National Efficiency Screening Project (NESP). Further information on health and environmental benefits is available in ACEEE’s Overview of State Approaches to Account for Health and Environmental Benefits of Energy Efficiency.

Last reviewed: July 2019

Guidelines for Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs List All

Requirements for State and Utility Support of Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs

In the late 1990s, Massachusetts restructuring law established a low-income conservation fund through a 0.25 mills per kWh charge on every electric customer, while a conservation charge on natural gas customers’ bills has funded natural gas low-income energy efficiency programs.

In 2010, the program received additional funding through the 2008 Green Communities Act, which required that 10% of electric utility program funds and 20% of gas program funds be spent on comprehensive low-income energy efficiency and education programs. The legislation further directed that these programs be implemented through the low-income weatherization and fuel assistance program network with the objective of standardizing implementation among all utilities.

In 2020, the Energy Efficiency Advisory Council (EEAC) created the Equity Working Group (EWG) to identify and recommend priority actions, plans, and partnerships to increase participation among moderate-income customers, renters and landlords, customers with limited English proficiency, and small businesses as identified in two non-participant studies completed in early 2020. The EWG strives to develop just and equitable solutions that are centered in the communities that have been historically underserved by the existing Mass Save programs.  Throughout 2020, the EWG has engaged with stakeholders representing underserved customer groups to solicit feedback on strategies that the council would recommend for inclusion in the 2022-2024 Three Year Energy Efficiency Plan. In January 2021, the EWG presented their recommendations to the full council.  Recommendations from the EEAC EWG support developing metrics for tracking progress towards equity goals, including tracking program participation, investment, and benefits. The resulting equity targets framework for 2022-2024 is available here

Cost-Effectiveness Rules for Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs

Massachusetts relies on the TRC test as its primary test for DSM programs, but it specifically calculates additional benefits from low-income programs in its benefit-cost ratio.

D.P.U. 08-50-B specifies that an Energy Efficiency Plan must include calculations of non-energy benefits, including non-resource benefits related to: “(A) reduced costs for operation and maintenance associated with efficient equipment or practices; (B) the value of longer equipment replacement cycles and/or productivity improvements associated with efficient equipment; (C) reduced environmental and safety costs, such as those for changes in a waste stream or disposal of lamp ballasts or ozone-depleting chemicals; and (D) all benefits associated with providing energy efficiency services to Low-Income Customers.”

In addition to the factors used to calculate market-rate benefits,  cost-effectiveness evaluation for the current low-income programs in Massachusetts includes consideration of non-energy benefits such as asthma reductions, thermal stress reductions, productivity improvements due to fewer missed workdays and improved sleep, reduced risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, reduced risk of fire, and reduced reliance on high interest, predatory loans.

Coordination of Ratepayer-Funded Low-Income Programs with WAP Services

Coordination occurs through the Massachusetts Low-Income Energy Affordability Network (LEAN), which was established by the lead agencies of the low-income weatherization and fuel assistance program network. LEAN works to standardize eligibility requirements, procedures, and standards to enable delivery of various programs through CAP agencies throughout the state. The ratepayer funded low-income programs (i.e., the Income Eligible Coordinated Delivery initiative within Mass Save) is administered in coordination with LEAN and implemented by local Community Action Program (“CAP”) Agencies. Revenue streams are leveraged with the Department of Housing and Community Development (“DHCD”) Weatherization Assistance Program (“WAP”) and the Heating Emergency Assistance Retrofit Task Weatherization Assistance program (“HEARTWAP”). This approach provides a seamless, integrated experience leveraging all applicable revenue streams for income eligible participants with no co-payments required from customers.

In 2019, Bay State Gas Company d/b/a Columbia Gas of Massachusetts (“CMA”) provided an enhanced weatherization offering to support the homes and businesses impacted by the September 2018 natural gas explosion incidents in the Greater Lawrence portion of its service territory.  In conjunction with this enhanced offering, the Massachusetts Attorney General provided an additional $500,000 for low income homes.  Specifically, these funds were used to mitigate barriers (e.g. knob and tube wiring) that would otherwise prevent the installation of cost effective weatherization in low income homes.   

Last reviewed: July 2022

Self Direct and Opt-Out Programs List All

Massachusetts does not have self-direct or opt-out provisions for large customers.

Last reviewed: August 2020

Data AccessList All

Guidelines for Third Party Access

There has been an ongoing process to develop a statewide energy efficiency database that would potentially include customer energy use data, but there is no regulation in place to date.

Requirements for Provision of Energy Data

To date, there is no regulation in place for provision of meter data. The interactive program data tool at, which is administered by the PAs, includes customer energy use data by sector (residential, low income, and C&I) and separately by municipality. only presents estimated annual aggregate sales numbers. Chapter 465 of the Acts of 1980 allows residential energy audit report information to be given to tenants or subsequent purchasers. DOER is in the process of updating the regulation to systematize that process. Although provision of energy use data to customers is not required, 86% of the state's electric customers and 71% of the state's gas customers have access to Green Button data through voluntary utility participation.

In the City of Boston and the City of Cambridge, there are building disclosure ordinances, and those cities have requested that the electric and gas utilities provide multi-tenant building data in aggregated form. There are no statewide requirements.

Energy Use Data Availability

The state does not have a standardized system through which access to individual or aggregated energy use data may be requested except in the cities of Cambridge and Boston.

Last Updated: July 2018

Score: 11.5 out of 13
Transportation Summary List All

The state's comprehensive set of policies includes tailpipe emissions standards, targets to reduce vehicle miles traveled, significant levels of transit funding, and a dedicated transit revenue stream.

Tailpipe Emission Standards List All

Massachusetts adopted California’s Low-Emission Vehicle Program in 2006, committing to a 30% reduction in average new vehicle greenhouse gas emissions from 2002 levels by 2016. The state has also adopted California's Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program, which requires increasing production of plug-in hybrid, battery electric, and fuel-cell vehicles from 2018 to 2025. 

Last Reviewed: November 2022

Transportation System Efficiency List All

Transportation and Land Use Integration: The issuance of Executive Order 385 (“Planning for Smart Growth”) in 1996 led to the creation of a number of smart growth initiatives that targeted concentrated growth and the revitalization of urban centers. However, it wasn’t until 2000, when the state passed the Community Preservation Act, that smart growth planning was solidified in the law and a program was established to support communities’ preservation of open space. Massachusetts subsequently adopted Chapter 40R, the Smart Growth Zoning Law, which provides financial incentives for municipalities to increase density and build affordable housing in areas with good access to transit. The Commonwealth Capital program, initiated in 2005, applies several smart growth criteria to municipalities’ applications for state funding. 

VMT Targets: In 2009, the state implemented language from Chapter 90E, mandating the accommodation of biking and pedestrian traffic in future transportation construction plans. This was followed by the launch of Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s GreenDOT program aimed at reducing the state’s contribution of transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions. The Clean Energy and Climate Plan targets a 1.7% reduction in VMT.

FAST Freight Plans and Goals: Massachusetts has a state freight plan that identifies a multimodal freight network, but it does not include freight energy or greenhouse gas reduction goals. The plan’s goals include balancing and diversifying the multi-modal freight system to prevent an over-reliance on truck shipping, reducing congestion and environmental impacts by moving goods shipments to rail and water networks, and enhancing economic development opportunities by improving the efficiency of freight movements. 

Last Reviewed: November 2022

Transit Funding List All

Massachusetts has also passed legislation to create a dedicated funding stream for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). The MBTA State and Local Contribution Fund is financed by a 1% sales tax implemented in the state. 

Last Reviewed: November 2022

Incentives for High-Efficiency Vehicles List All

The Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Electric Vehicles (MOR-EV) Program offers rebates of up to $2,500 to customers purchasing PEVs.

The Clean Energy and Climate Plan targets 300,000 zero emission vehicles by 2025 as the state's contribution to the Multi-State ZEV Action Plan. 

Last Reviewed: November 2022

Equitable Access to TransportationList All

Public transit access

Massachusetts provides financial support to housing projects located near transit facilities through a number of state programs: Commercial Area Transit Node Housing Program, MassWorks TOD Infrastructure and Housing Support Program, and the Housing and Smart Growth Incentives (Chapter 40R). The state also considers the proximity of transit facilities when distributing federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to qualifying property owners.

Equity in transportation electrification

The Climate Act of 2021 includes electric vehicles and chargers as a strategy to meet statutory emissions limits. In addition, EEA is currently accepting public comment on updates to the Clean Energy and Climate Plan and have requested feedback on the equity of the policies therein.

Last Reviewed: November 2022

Appliance Standards
Score: 1.5 out of 3
Appliance Standards Summary List All

Policy: M.G.L. Chapter 25B, § 1, et seq., Appliance Efficiency Standards Act

Description: Having originally adopted standards in 1986, Massachusetts was one of the first states to adopt appliance standards after California paved the way in 1974. In 2005, Massachusetts expanded its appliance standards legislation to cover seven products. The federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, however, introduced standards that preempted state standards for five of those products. New products that are considered for state standards are adopted through the Division of Energy Resources (DOER). 

In 2009, Massachusetts developed an application for a waiver of federal standards for gas furnace (and fans) minimum efficiency in order to implement its own, more stringent, standard; it is the only state to have done so. Their waiver application helped spur manufacturer interest in a negotiated federal standard. Federal standards preempted Massachusetts’ standard for furnaces in 2013 and furnace fans will be preempted in 2017. 

The 2018 appliance efficiency bill (H.4737) passed the House unanimously but was cut in Conference Committee on July 30, 2018. 

Last Reviewed: June 2019