MA "Net Zero" Stretch Code
As part of the Next Generation Roadmap Bill signed by Gov. Baker last March, the state is required to develop a “net zero stretch code” for municipalities to opt-into. The Department of Energy Resources is the state agency charged with developing this code. DOER has now released their Straw Proposal for the Stretch Code Update and New Specialized Stretch Code
Our recommendations can be found here:
Attend a Virtual Public Hearing:
March 2, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
March 3, 9:00 am – 11:00 am
March 4, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
March 7, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
March 8, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
How to Comment
Please submit your questions or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Stretch Code Straw Proposal Comments”. The deadline for comments on the Straw Proposal is 5 pm EST on March 18th, 2022.
You can also sign the letter MCAN will be submitting to DOER, demanding a true net zero stretch code! Here is a link to the letter. Please use this google form to add your name to the sign-on letter.
Allocation of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funds
The Massachusetts state government is reviewing proposals for allocation over $5 billion of funding under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). These funds present a tremendous opportunity for the Commonwealth to mitigate some of the effects of the pandemic while advancing critical needs across many sectors.
Please reach out to your State legislators to ask them to utilize 5% ($250 Million) of ARPA funds to renovate existing buildings to zero carbon.
In March 2021, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which provided $5.286 Billion to Massachusetts to be allocated by the State Legislature. Let's ask the State Legislature to allocate $250 Million of ARPA funds to create a Zero Carbon Renovation Fund to help renovate existing buildings in Massachusetts to zero carbon. This Zero Carbon Renovation Fund would result in deep carbon savings by transforming existing buildings to be super energy efficient, all electric, powered by clean renewable energy, and renovated with low-embodied carbon materials. A Zero Carbon Renovation Fund would help ensure that the Commonwealth has healthier and more affordable places for people to live and work.
It’s especially important that we reach out now. In December, the legislators allocated the first round of ARPA funds, a total of $2.55 Billion. To the dismay of those of us concerned about climate, health, and affordability, they allocated only $6.5 Million for zero carbon retrofits (.1% of total ARPA funds!). This will only decarbonize 250 of the 1 million homes that need to be renovated by 2030! By comparison, Maine allocated 5% of their total ARPA funds to accelerate weatherization, electrification and ventilation improvements.
Yet we can still do something. The State House has more than $2 billion of ARPA funds left. Please ask your legislators to allocate $250 Million for the Zero Carbon Renovation Fund
Updating the Mass Save Incentive Program
The state's Mass Save program offers incentives for Passive House projects. This program is currently undergoing its regular planning cycle by the EEAC for the next iteration. For details on the currently available incentives through this program go here.
The Mass Save incentive program comes from plans developed by the EEAC (MA Energy Efficiency Advisory Council) and approved by the Dept. of Public Utilities. Plans are developed in three-year cycles – with the current incentives being part of the 2019-2021 period and the ongoing planning cycle being for the 2022-2024 period.
PHMass, along with many other groups, have submitted recommendations to the EEAC. Many of these were include in some from in the draft plan. We are now engaged in the commenting process to make sure these initiatives are in the final plan and that they are fully detailed and properly funded.
2022-2024 Planning Process
- Nov, 2020: Start of planning meetings and public comments
- April, 2021: Draft Plan released (see plan here)
- June-Sept: 2021: Public Comment Period
- October, 2021: Final draft released
- Nov/Dec, 2021: Review & approval from DPU <----We Are (Still) Here
- ?, 2022: New plan takes effect
How to submit a Public Comment
1. Email written comment to: email@example.com
2. Make comment "in-person" over Zoom:
Virtual Public Comment Dates (click to sign-up):
Wednesday, Sept 22nd | 1:00pm-4:30pm
PHMass Draft Plan Comments
Affordable Housing and Low Income Tax Credits
The Department of Housing and Community Development is undergoing a new draft of their Qualified Allocation Plan for awarding Affordable Housing financing for the 2022-2024 period. Currently, in the existing plan, Passive House projects receive 5 extra points in the category of Certified Exemplary Energy Performance. In order to hit the state’s climate goals, it is critical that affordable housing projects funded with MA Low Income Housing Tax Credits are working to achieve a goal of net zero emissions and should not to retrofitted again in 10 or 15 years to meet the goal.
Environmentally Friendly Design (20 points) of 182 points
Many things listed as potential points should be pre-requisites such as:
5 years of energy and water performance reporting (not just for PH projects)
Implementation of smoke-free housing policies
Use of applicable efficiency program such as LEAN Low Income Multifamily or MassSave
Enterprise Green Community Mandatory checklist- and letter from consultant that would be able to achieve certification
There should be two different tracts for scoring: one for new construction buildings, one for rehabs of existing buildings/adaptive reuse
New construction buildings should not get extra certification points unless at least achieve LEED Gold. New construction that commits to Passive House certification should get at least 5 points more than LEED Gold commitment because usually achieve 40% or better Energy Use Intensity than LEED
Rehab/Adaptive reuse should only get points if have aggressive energy scope. Consider 30% reduction in Energy Use Intensity, 40% reduction in Energy Use Intensity and EnerPHit levels of scoring
There should be rewards in scoring if propose electrification of heating with efficient heat pumps. This is relatively harder for retrofits so retrofits should get more points if electrify
There should be a scoring reward for new construction that dramatically decreases embodied carbon of building materials, such as mass timber structural design or 40% replacement of cement in concrete with low embodied carbon ECMs
How to comment:
Submit written comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
PHMass Comment Submission 1 (September)