State and Local Policy Database

Massachusetts

State Scorecard Rank

1

Massachusetts

44.0Scored out of 50Updated 10/2018
State Government
Score: 5 out of 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

Financial incentive information for Massachusetts is provided by the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE Massachusettsand State Energy Office contacts. Information about additional incentives not present on DSIRE is listed here. In addition to the state-funded incentives on DSIRE and below, Massachusetts has enabled Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, however, it does not have any active PACE programs. For additional information on PACE, visit PACENation.

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.

Pathways to Zero Net Energy Program: 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.

Leading by Example 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.

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.

Capturing Franchise Energy Savings (CaFES): This DOER grant program is intended to engage franchise parent companies to implement energy savings across their franchise stores located in Municipal Light Plant (MLP) territories. The focus of this effort will be quick service restaurants, gas stations, convenience stores, and others.

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. Construction of these units is set to begin by July 1st, 2018.

LED Street Lighting Accelerator Program: This Public Opportunity Notice (PON) provides Municipal Light Plant (MLP) Communities an opportunity to participate in an initial project of LED streetlights in their host communities.

Community Clean Energy Resiliency Initiative: Targets improving energy reslience of critical facilities using clean energy sources such as CHP and solar. Intial round was in 2015. Includes fundign for studise and implementaion.

Last Updated: June 2018

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 December 2019 for announcement of potential program design.

Last Reviewed: July 2019

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.

Last Reviewed: July 2019

Public Building Requirements List All

Massachusetts has several green building programs targeted at state buildings. Executive Order 484 (2007) requires a reduction in overall energy consumption in state-owned and leased buildings (at which the state pays directly for energy) by 20% by fiscal year 2012 and 35% by 2020 (based on a fiscal year 2004 baseline). In Fiscal Year 2018, continued progress in state buildings resulted in additional efficiency gains with a cumulative EUI reduction of 13% from a 2004 site EUI. The state publicly tracks progress towards EO 484 targets.

The executive order states that all state agency new construction and major renovations over 20,000 sq. ft. must meet the MA LEED Plus green building standard and perform 20% better than the current energy code. Currently, there are 86 LEED certified buildings in the state portfolio, including 4 Platinum and 52 Gold certifications. Five state buildings have now been built to the zero net energy (ZNE) standard and energy use data collected over the past several years shows that three of them met the ZNE standard in 2018, producing more renewable energy on-site than was consumed by the building over the course of a year.

The Green Communities Act (S.B. 2768) of 2008 mandates that new buildings owned or operated by the state must minimize their life-cycle costs by using energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Since 2013, the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) has overseen the completion of 75 energy projects in over 33.3 million square feet of state buildings, more than half the state building portfolio. These completed projects represent an investment of $242.3 million and will save the Commonwealth approximately $12.4 million and 448,000 MMBtu annually. The 75 energy projects consist of 41 Comprehensive Design-Build/Retro-Commissioning projects and 34 bundles of small energy projects at 336 sites. Collectively, these projects reduce GHG emissions by almost 36,000 metric tons annually. Efficiency measures include, but are not limited to, 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 also include the installation of renewable heating and cooling technologies, including biomass, air and ground source heat pumps, and solar thermal.

The State’s Enterprise Energy Management System (EEMS) project, awarded to EnerNOC in April 2010, was the first-phase of the largest public sector undertaking to measure real-time energy use information at 25 million square feet of buildings, tracking and comparing building energy consumption across a third of the state’s building portfolio and enabling responses to energy anomalies on a real-time basis. The innovative program’s second-phase, known as Commonwealth Building Energy Intelligence (CBEI), is working to build upon previous efforts and revamp the way state buildings use and respond to energy information. CBEI includes technological and strategic enhancements for advanced building energy metering tracking and analytics in an effort to drive operational efficiencies at state facilities. In 2016, the Commonwealth signed a $5.6 million, three-year contract with EnerNOC to provide these and other advanced energy intelligences services for millions of square feet of Commonwealth facilities. EnerNOC provides state facilities with access to real-time metering, building management system integration, utility bill management, and building energy analytics, enabling them to optimize day-to-day energy management, identify energy anomalies as they occur, prioritize energy projects that target under-performing buildings, and identify billing errors on utility bills. The contract is managed by the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM), with close collaboration with DOER. The contract provides substantial advancements in energy intelligence approaches, with the goal to significantly reduce energy use and costs at state facilities. This past year, extensive work has been done setting up a utility bill management program, and collaborating with individual state sites to identify and implement operational efficiency measures and analyzing peak demand and costs. Efforts such as targeting building shutdowns during holidays and weekends, load cycling, and optimizing building start up/shut down times have saved an estimated 6.8 million kWh and $886,565 in energy costs at 92 buildings , with additional operational strategies underway at these and other sites across the state portfolio. When CBEI contract features are fully implemented, the program is expected to result in at least 5-10% energy use reductions across these sites, saving millions in energy costs. DCAMM has extended the contract with ENEL X (formerly EnerNOC) for 2 additional years through March 2021.

The state’s Green Communities Division has also developed and implemented MassEnergyInsight, a free, web-based tool that helps cities and towns make informed, targeted decisions about energy efficiency investments. MassEnergyInsight provides communities 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 two databases for the benchmarking and tracking of state facilities. 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, Commonwealth Building Energy Intelligence, MassEnergyInsight, and an annual energy tracking form distributed to campuses and agencies to facilitate self-reporting. MassEnergyInsight functions as the second primary database used for tracking and benchmarking of state facilities, providing monthly, site-level utility account data for over 70% of square footage at state facilities.

Massachusetts is 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.

Although not formally a requirement, as part of the continued efforts to push new building energy use far below code, the Commonwealth continues to promote the design and construction of zero net energy (ZNE) buildings. With five buildings in the state portfolio that have been designed to this standard, buildings are employing a range of innovative technologies and strategies that include cold climate air and ground source heat pumps, all LED lighting, solar PV and solar thermal, chilled beams and sophisticated building controls, to name just a few. Data from 2018 shows that three of these buildings (Walden Pond Visitor Center, Bristol Community College Sbrega Health and Science Building, and Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Headquarters) all met the ZNE standard, generating between 100 and 155 percent of annual consumption from on-site renewable energy. These buildings are operating extremely efficiently with actual EUIs of 25-46, well below the average EUIs for each building type.

Last Reviewed: July 2019

Fleets List All

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 and encompasses the state's entire light duty fleet of more than 2,800 vehicles. The FES requires agencies to acquire: passenger cars that meet an average MPG of 32; trucks, vans and SUVs under 8500 lbs that meet and average MPG of 22; and vehicles between 8,500 and 10,000 lbs that meet and average MPG of 16. 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.  In Fiscal Year 2017, the state’s light duty fleet realized efficiency gains of 32% while saving the Commonwealth approximately $50,000 in upfront vehicle costs. In addition, compared to the vehicles replaced, the new vehicle acquisitions are projected to save agencies $34,000 in fuel costs and 15,000 gallons of gasoline annually.

The statewide vehicle contract, managed by the Operational Services Division, provides public entities with greater access to fuel efficient vehicles. This statewide vehicle contract has made an array of fuel-efficient hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles available for purchase by any state agency, campus, or municipality. Included on this contract are 4133 models that get 30 mpg or better, 1014 hybrid electric models, 6 plug-in hybrid electric models, 3model, 4 electric only vehicles, and 63 vehicles that run on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).

In addition, DOER and the Operational Services Division re-opened the Advanced Vehicle Technologies statewide contract to solicit additional vendors that provides access to after-market hybrid and alternative fuel conversion technologies, electric vehicle charging stations, and idle reduction technologies. This contract now includes 13 vendors that offer public entities an expanded range of options for reducing vehicle petroleum consumption, particularly for vehicle types with limited fuel-efficient options available commercially, such as pick-up trucks and heavy-duty vans. Through a State Fleet Efficiency grant program, the state’s Leading by Example Program supported the after-market hybrid conversion of 25 heavy-duty passenger and cargo vans in the Executive Branch state fleet.

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. Firstly, any state solar canopy project that receives funding through the LBE solar grant program must install 2 EV charging stations as a requirement of the grant award. Additionally, LBE has been working on an electric vehicle & EVSE guidance document to help agencies and campuses navigate the complex process of selecting, siting and acquiring funding for potential EVs and EVSE. As of May 2019, there are 108 electric vehicle charging stations at state facilities, including 100 level 2 chargers and 8 fast chargers.

Last Reviewed: July 2019

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 2019

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 Massaschusetts 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

Buildings
Score: 6.5 out of 8
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.

Last reviewed: July 2019 

Residential Codes 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 will go into effect on January 1, 2020, and the energy chapters reference the IECC 2018 and ASHRAE 90.1-2016, with strengthening amendments. Strengthening amendments include a new section R407. 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.

Last reviewed: July 2019 

Commercial Code List All

The Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) has adopted the 9th edition of the MA state building code. The updated code went into effect in August 2016, and the energy chapters reference the IECC 2015 and ASHRAE 90.1-2013, 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 baseline state code by 10% on either a site energy or source energy basis.

Last reviewed: July 2019

Compliance List All
  • Gap Analysis/Strategic Compliance Plan: Massachusetts has committed to a series of evaluation studies to inform a broad code and standards compliance initiative funded through the utility ratepayer sponsored statewide energy efficiency programs. The most relevant of a series of code compliance studies and memos completed in 2016 are:
  • Baseline & Updated Compliance Studies: The most recent residential code compliance study was completed in 2017, and the most recent commercial code compliance study was completed in 2016. The MA compliance study for residential used both the DOE PNNL protocol (based on a checklist approach) and an alternative, more energy performance-based method for assessing energy code compliance. 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.
  • 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, DOER, the Office of Public Safety and Inspections, and consultants to the MA Energy Efficiency Advisory Council meet irregularly.
  • 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.

Last reviewed: July 2019

CHP
Score: 3 out of 3
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

Utilities
Score: 20 out of 20
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 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.

Massachusetts' approach has resulted in one of the most ambitious fully-funded state savings targets, with incremental electric savings targets averaging 2.7% from 2019-2021. The state’s three year plan also includes gas savings of about 1.25% of retail sales each year. Utility companies in the state manage and implement efficiency programs. The low-income residential demand-side management and education programs are implemented in conjunction with the state’s low-income weatherization and fuel assistance program.

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. Starting in 2019, electric efficiency program administrators have committed to an integrated electricity and fuel savings goal of 120.4 site MMBtu over 3 years. In addition, they have committed to actively managing 200MW of electricity in the summer and 50MW in the winter.

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 incentive is based on a combination of elements including energy savings, benefit-cost analysis, and market transformation results.

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: August 2019

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 MassSaveData.com. Detailed information is available at the state Savings and Spending tables at ma-eeac.org.

Last reviewed: July 2019

Energy Efficiency as a Resource List All

The Green Communities Act requires that electric and gas utilities make acquiring all cost-effective energy efficiency a higher priority than using other resources. The Act created an Energy Efficiency Advisory Council (EEAC) that works with utility 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. 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: July 2019

Energy Efficiency Resource Standards List All

Summary: Electric: Yearly incremental savings targets began at 1.4% in 2010, ramping up to 3.18% in 2017. Current 2019-2021 targets set at ~2.7% of retail sales. Natural Gas: Targets began at 0.63% in 2010, ramping up to 1.20% in 2017. Current 2019-2021 targets set at 1.25% of retail sales.

 The 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, continuing the state’s progress toward the most ambitious energy savings targets in the country. The first electric efficiency procurement plan called for incremental savings 1.0% in 2009, 1.4% in 2010, 2.0% in 2011, and 2.4% in 2012. The state's fourth three-year plan calls for savings to average 2.7% of annual sales. The energy efficiency investments in 2019-2021 are expected to save 3,461 annual GWh of electricity by 2021. The statewide totals are comprised of individual program administrator savings.

The state's natural gas plan will save 95.9 MMTherms over the 2019 to 2021 plan period (equivalent to 1.2% of sales).

Overall, the fully funded 2019-2021 electric and natural gas efficiency procurement plans will yield net consumer benefits of nearly $8.56 billion.

Last reviewed: July 2019

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 National Grid Electric Company (DPU 09-39), National Grid Gas Company (DPU 10-55), Bay State Gas Company (DPU 09-30) and Western Massachusetts Electric Company (DPU 10-70). Each distribution company is required to institute 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 11-120-A. The current performance incentive parameters may be found in the 2019-2021 term sheet.

Last reviewed: July 2019

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.

Low-income residents are served through the statewide ratepayer-funded energy efficiency program called Mass Save®.  More specifically, the Income Eligible Coordinated Delivery initiative provides cost-effective, energy efficiency products and services to income eligible residential customers in a fuel blind approach. Income eligible is defined as at or below 60 percent of the state median income level for 1-4 unit buildings and at or below 60 percent of the area median income level for 5+ unit buildings. Customers that qualify for the utility discount rate are also considered income eligible. Customers qualify for the utility discount rate by meeting low-income home energy assistance (“LIHEAP”) eligibility or by meeting the eligibility requirements for other means-tested programs, such as Chapter 115 Veterans’ Service Benefits, Supplemental Security Income, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program services.

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.”

The 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.

Last updated: July 2019

Self Direct and Opt-Out Programs List All

The top 5 energy users in each utility were able to self-direct, as part of pilot program which ended in December of 2015.

Last reviewed: July 2019

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 MassSaveData.com, which is administered by the PAs, includes customer energy use data by sector (residential, low income, and C&I) and separately by municipality. MassSaveData.com 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

Transportation
Score: 8.5 out of 10
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: July 2019

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.

Complete Streets: Massachusetts Chapter 90E provides for the accommodation of bicycle and pedestrian traffic in the planning, design, and construction, reconstruction or maintenance of any project undertaken.

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: July 2019

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: July 2019

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. 

Last Reviewed: July 2019

Equitable Access to TransportationList All
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. Last Reviewed: July 2019
Appliance Standards
Score: 0 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