Energy efficiency means using less energy to perform the same task. It brings a variety of benefits including reducing greenhouse gas emissions and lowering our costs on a household level.
Why access to energy efficiency matters:
Everyone should have access to weatherization and affordable utilities regardless of their race and income
Underserved and language-isolated communities struggle with high electricity bills while wealthier suburbs access the state’s energy efficiency services at 6–7 times the rate of low- and moderate-income communities and communities of color.
The Green Justice Coalition has been working to push Mass Saves to reach low-to-moderate income folks, immigrants, people with English isolation, renters, and ensure that the data of who the Program Administration (utilities) are serving is publicly available.
What are our goals for the new 3yr energy efficiency plan?
Increase support for “moderate income” populations: no cost program increased from 60% to 80% median income
Increase types of support: weatherization, electric heat pumps, more efficient appliances
More funding for pre-weatherization measures: mold/leaky roof, asbestos, knob & tube wiring
More focus on renters/landlords: focused outreach, incentives
Target outreach in specific list of low income & communities of color
Language isolation: provide direct connections to follow up services with contractors who speak the needed language, create career ladders for high road jobs, etc.
Develop multilingual workforce
Energy Efficiency Justice
As a part of the Green Justice Coalition, Clean Water Action spoke out in favor of increased focus on and funding for low income communities, renters, non-English speakers, and communities of color. We will continue to advocate for more engagement with trusted community organizations to build widespread confidence in the program and connect directly with non-participating customers.
We are highlighting the need for more translated materials for non-English speakers and insisting that the utility companies dramatically reconfigure their outreach strategy, prioritizing non-participants, like renters, in these communities. Learn more.
New Energy Efficiency Plan
The recently approved Three Year Energy Efficiency Plan will have energy savings, workforce development, and equity as its primary goals. In addition, the order seeks to transform the Mass Save program and make it more accessible to environmental justice (EJ) communities as we lay the groundwork to achieve the State's climate goals.
The equity targets on the 2022-2024 energy efficiency plan came as a result of the work of the Energy Efficiency Advisory Council and advocates who pushed for direct measures that will address access disparities in EJ and language isolated communities. In addition, the DPU seeks to prioritize training and cultivating a diverse workforce and expand partnerships with community organizations.
The plan also includes new incentives for moderate-income and low-income residents for 100% of the cost for weatherizing homes. In addition, it emphasizes the need for heat pumps and increased opportunities for HVAC upgrades in multifamily buildings.
However, it is also essential to acknowledge that the order weakened vital provisions that had been developed unanimously within the Energy Efficiency Advisory Council. The amendments include reduced transparency around demographic data and incentives to shift away from fossil fuels in the midst of a climate and economic crisis.
We will continue to bring to light the intersections between race, language access, and income as we transition into the plan's implementation phase. Your support has been critical to our energy justice advocacy work; this year, we will make sure to hold the DPU and all our Massachusetts officials accountable for their promises.
However, with a weakened energy efficiency plan, the equity fight goes on, and our next stage of work begins!