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Healthy and Green Retrofit Pilot Program

Through the Healthy and Green Retrofit Pilot Program, the City of Boston will give owner-occupants of two- to four-unit homes $50,000 per unit to electrify and decarbonize their buildings. This will create cleaner, healthier, and more comfortable homes for all occupants. 

For this pilot program, the Mayor’s Office of Housing selected 10 building owners through a lottery on October 25. View the lottery results.

The 10 owners participating in the pilot program will receive an energy assessment from a qualified decarbonization advisor who will identify specific retrofit opportunities tailored to their building.

Want to be notified about the next lottery? Please fill out our expression of interest form. Want to learn more about electrification and decarbonizing? These resources may help.

  • Boston's Community First Partnership supports residents and small business owners  with no-cost energy audits and cost-saving energy-efficiency upgrades through the Mass Save program.
  • Boston residents and small business owners can save money and get renewable energy when they opt-in to Boston Community Choice Electricity (BCCE). The Program allows the City to secure electricity at a competitive rate, which is passed on to residents who opt-in.
  • Mass Clean Energy Center’s Go Clean website provides detailed information and resources for Massachusetts residents who want to decarbonize, including technical solutions, incentives, installer directory, and customer stories.

General Information

Based on this assessment, owners will then collaborate with these advisors to create a custom green retrofit plan for their building. The plan will detail components of decarbonization work such as:

  • better insulation and air sealing
  • improved ventilation 
  • new appliances
  • air conditioning
  • and even the installation of rooftop solar panels

To achieve this work, building owners may receive:

  • up to $50,000 per unit
  • assistance accessing energy efficiency financial incentives,
  • construction management services including bidding and hiring a general contractor, 
  • and construction oversight and inspections throughout the process.

The application is now closed. The lottery took place on Oct. 25. 

View the lottery results

Want to be notified about the next lottery? Please fill out our expression of interest form

Timeline

The Program will lay the groundwork for future, scaled-up efforts to upgrade the city’s housing stock and achieve decarbonization goals. 

For this Pilot Program, the Mayor’s Office of Housing selected 10 building owners through a lottery. The lottery took place on October 25. 

Eligibility for the 10 building owners is being confirmed by a Boston Home Center Program Manager. This includes verification of the owner's household income and finances, in addition to other eligibility requirements.

Pilot Program participants will begin working with advisors to create a custom green retrofit plan after eligibility is confirmed.

Eligibility

To participate in the Pilot Program, building owners must:

  • Live in a two to four unit building that was built before 1999.
  • Live in a building located in one of the 15 ARPA-eligible zip codes (02111, 02115, 02118, 02119, 02120, 02121, 02122, 02124, 02125, 02126, 02128, 02134, 02136, 02163, or 02215)
  • Have an annual household income at or below 120 percent of Area Median Income (AMI)*. This includes rental income.
  • Have less than $75,000 in financial assets, excluding Government approved retirement and education accounts 
  • Have not received financial assistance from any City of Boston Mayor’s Office of Housing (MOH) program within the past 10 years. This excludes de-leading funds. Please note: The City of Boston’s Mayor’s Office of Housing was known as The Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) before December of 2021.
  • Be current with all City of Boston and home accounts, including property taxes and water bills, and mortgage and property insurances.
  • Offer rental units at a price affordable to tenants at or below 80 percent of AMI**.

* An annual household income at or below 120 percent of Area Median Income (AMI) is:

  • 1 person: $124,680
  • 2 persons: $142,560
  • 3 persons: $160,320
  • 4 persons: $178,080
  • 5 persons: $192,360
  • 6 persons: $206,640

** Maximum allowable rent at or below 80 percent of Area Median Income (AMI) is:

  • 0 bedroom/Studio: $1,531
  • 1 bedroom: $1,793
  • 2 bedroom: $2,033
  • 3 bedroom: $2,280
  • 4 bedroom: $2,525

Please note: Condominium units and condominium associations are not eligible for the Program. Additionally, buildings may not be located in a FEMA special flood hazard zone.

Benefits to Residents

Decarbonization planning and retrofit work will protect occupants in affordable housing by:

  • Improving indoor air quality and living conditions
  • Improving comfort with better systems for heating and cooling 
  • Increasing energy efficiency and reducing utility cost
  • Increasing building resilience to mitigate the impacts of climate change, including heat waves and extreme weather events

How It Works + Benefits to Building Owners

Building owners participating in the Program will receive a comprehensive energy assessment and a custom green retrofit plan. The plan will include information on:

  • the current energy performance of the building,
  • options to reduce the energy consumption of the building through a targeted set of improvements over 1-15 years,
  • and potential decarbonization work.

Then, building owners will be eligible for up to $50,000 per unit for improvements outlined in the plan, which could include:

  • better insulation,
  • envelope upgrades, 
  • air sealing, 
  • conversion to electric systems, 
  • and required interventions such as electrical panel upgrades, mitigation of old wiring or environmental hazards, and upgraded ventilation. 

Our funding is a forgivable, 0% deferred loan. The loan will be forgiven after 10 years. You must pay the loan in full if you move, sell, refinance, or transfer the title of your home before the 10 year term expires.

The Boston Home Center staff will bid the work, select a general contractor, and will manage the construction process from project scope through completion, including contractor payments and inspections. 

Owners will also receive technical support for solar photovoltaics, battery storage, and electric vehicle charging.

Additional Requirements

  • Owners must complete all initial recommendations in all units, including Mass Save weatherization and installing cold-climate heat pumps to supplement or replace the existing HVAC system.
  • Owners must work with tenants to coordinate and manage the impacts of the pilot program, including pre- and post-construction assessment and construction.
  • Owners must provide contact information for tenants in-place during and after the retrofit, during the 10 year term.
  • Owners and Tenants of the Property must be willing to cooperate with data gathering, including utility data and surveys.

Terms and Conditions

  • Forgivable loan with no monthly payments and to be discharged after 10 years if terms are met. Repayment shall be made in full if the owner moves, sells, or transfers ownership of their property, or undertakes a cash-out refinance of the home before the 10 year term ends.
  • Property may not be converted to condominiums during the 10 year term.
  • To maintain anti-displacement and affordability, no tenant in good standing can be displaced from their unit as a result of this work. Rents may not be unreasonably increased as a result of the green retrofit work.
  • For a period of no less than 10 years from the date of Mortgage, monthly rent for retrofitted unit(s) must adhere to affordable rents at or below 80 percent of AMI. These limits are updated annually.
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