Upham's Corner Online

Renew Boston Energy Initiative

Posted: January 28, 2011   Nancy J Conrad

The Renew Boston initiative has partnered with NSTAR and National Grid to provide qualifying Bostonians with no-cost home energy efficiency improvements. Renew Boston offers City residents and landlords a low-hassle way to lower their energy bills, increase the value of their homes and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Dorchester Bay can help you get started in the Renew Boston program.

Contact:  Max MacCarthy  617-825-4200 x 251


Renew Boston and its partners will provide participating residents with a range of no-cost efficiency services including a comprehensive home energy assessment and up to $3,500 in insulation and air sealing. Other free energy efficient products may be available depending on the results of the home energy assessment.
What is Renew Boston?
Dorchester Bay's Role
Moving to Sustainable
Renew Boston Website
Climate Action History
Commonwealth of MA
City of Boston

It's Important to keep in mind is the "cost/benefit" recommendations provided by the energy assessment. 
  • Renew Boston energy auditors DO NOT represent companies and are not compromised in any way. 
  • Their job is to accurately assess the energy efficiency of your home and to provide cost/benefit prioritized recommendations. 


Income-eligible Boston renters and homeowners living in a single family home or a multi-family building with up to four units are eligible for no-cost Renew Boston services. Landlords serving income-eligible tenants can also take advantage of Renew Boston services. Other eligibility criteria include:
  • Active interest in weatherization improvements
  • Renters have landlord approval for any efficiency improvements installed
  • Resident income falls between 60 and 120 percent of State Median Income (see table below)

Persons per
Qualifying Income Ranges
$30,752 - $61,504
$40,214 - $80,428
$49,676 - $99,352
$59,138 - $118,276
$68,599 - $137,198
$78,061 - $156,122

You can still save if you don't meet the income eligibility -- Residents with incomes above these guidelines are still eligible for significant rebates for energy efficiency.

Contact Mass Save at 1.800.632.8300.
For over a decade the City of Boston has been positioning itself as a "sustainable" city.  It has been working with other US mayors, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the federal government. As recently as December 2010 Boston was officially designated a "Green Community" by the Commonwealth. 

View the City's climate action history.

In 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Environmental and Energy Services awarded the City of Boston $6.5M in Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funds made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The money was channeled toward several initiatives including creation of the Renew Boston program. 

On September 2, 2010 Mayor Menino officially unveiled the Renew Boston Initiative which focuses on improving the energy efficiency of existing homes and businesses.
Much of Boston's housing stock was built when energy was cheap and construction standards did not include insulation or tight weatherstripping.

Acting like giant heat sieves, our homes burn fossil fuels or use electricity to warm the air then lose much of the heat to the outside.  Holes and cracks suck the warm air outside. Inadequate or no insulation promotes rapid cooling. 

The inability of our homes to hold onto the energy they generate hampers the City's ability to meet its targeted energy efficiency goals.  The same issue is true for all "building" types - organizational, business, residential and governmental. 

While energy efficiency can be mandated in new construction, existing housing stock is best handled through low-cost or free incentives. Programs targeted specific family income ranges based on the State Median Income (SMI).
  • ABCD has had a weatherization program available for low income homeowners and renters (below 60% of SMI) for many years

  • The 2008 Green Communities Act through Mass Save extended the incentives to everyone else (60% or above the SMI) and up to $2000 of 75% rebateable weatherization and insulation.

  • Renew Boston, through the use of ARRA money, is targeting families in the 60-120% SMI with instant savings of up to $3500 (no rebate involved)
Renew Boston is targeting 150,000 people to take advantage of this program by 2020 and is depending on community outreach efforts to spread the word and encourage participation.

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