Equitable Access to Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency

Massachusetts has made real strides to develop clean energy and efficiency upgrades for residents. However, there are several challenges to overcome to deliver these benefits to low- and moderate-income households.

  • Massachusetts has high construction costs. Because affordable rents are established at the federal level, constructing new affordable housing requires significant subsidization of development to recoup these costs.
  • clean energy and energy efficiency measures are dependent on a project’s funding source. If the project is publicly funded, the project will be limited by the requirements and priorities set by the funding source. If the project is privately funded, the funder will need to approve the development plan. Often new or less familiar technology or strategies are harder to fund.
  • Most affordable housing in Massachusetts is “naturally occurring” affordable housing which is simply private housing with an affordable rent. Naturally occurring affordable housing is harder to monitor, control, and regulate than publicly owned or publicly subsidized affordable housing.
  • Many older buildings have code violations or hazardous materials and conditions that have to be addressed before efficiency improvements can be made adding significantly to the overall project cost.
  • The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center recently launched a website for residents to help plan your transition from carbon-intensive home systems to clean energy technologies (how to reduce your contribution to the climate crisis as you switch to clean, safe, sustainable energy). Click here to make your commitment and to access resources and information. If you have any questions or need assistance, please call or email Catherine Ratte, 413/285-1174 or cratte@pvpc.org

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources has developed the Affordable Access to Clean and Efficient Energy (AACEE) initiative to address these challenges. PVPC has been tasked through the Affordable Access to Regional Coordination (AARC) arm of this initiative provide resources and information to our partner municipalities and community organizations to help low and moderate income residents access cost-saving, clean, and efficient energy technologies.

  • Host information sessions and trainings with municipalities and their community partners about program opportunities which they can promote
  • Convene stakeholders to develop outreach strategies to reach low-income homeowners, renters, and landlords to increase clean energy program uptake
  • Integrate clean energy into affordable housing planning work and programs with communities
  • Provide feedback to DOER and MassCEC about program outreach and uptake
  • Concierge services - provide services to facilitate the installation of energy efficiency or clean energy technologies by low income residents or low income or affordable housing owners or developers.

To address these challenges, PVPC has convened a stakeholder group to develop outreach strategies to reach low-income homeowners, renters, and landlords to increase clean energy program uptake. This group includes:

  • Housing authorities from the cities of Chicopee, Holyoke, Springfield, Northampton, and Westfield
  • Regional Community Action Programs (CAPs)
  • City staff from sustainability and housing offices
  • Non-profit and for-profit housing developers
  • Housing advocacy groups
  • Sustainability professionals from the UMass Clean Energy Extension and Department of Environmental Conservation

PVPC will also be taking the following further actions:

  • Host information sessions and trainings with municipalities and their community partners about program opportunities which they can promote
  • Integrate clean energy into affordable housing planning work and programs with communities
  • Concierge services - provide services to facilitate the installation of energy efficiency or clean energy technologies by low income residents or low income or affordable housing owners or developers.
  • Provide feedback to DOER and MassCEC about program outreach and uptake
Click here for more information on available clean energy programs for residential customers (including both renters and property owners) in the Commonwealth.

For information about equitable access to renewable energy, please contact Catherine Ratté, Principal Planner/Section Manager

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Database of Energy
Efficiency Programs

Other Useful Organizations,
Resources, and Guides

PVPC is releasing a regular
newsletter to share upcoming
webinars and trainings. Learn
strategies fordelivering renewable
and energyefficiency benefits to
your communities!
There are many
programs to alleviate
energy costs and
subsidize the delivery
of renewable energy
and efficiency upgrades
in Massachusetts.
Check out this site for a
complete list.
Many organizations have
produced guidelines for
delivering renewable
energy and efficiency
upgrades for lower
income populations. We
have assembled some of
them here.


Continuing, Comprehensive, and Cooperative Planning Process

Average Annual Daily Traffic

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation

Americans with Disabilities Act (1990)

Average Daily Traffic

American Farmland Trust

Alternative Fuel Vehicles

American Heritage Rivers Initiative

American International College

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Approval Not Required

American Planning Association

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Air Quality Index

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Housing Appeal Committee


Holyoke Community College

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Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century

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Northern Middlesex Council of Governments

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National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Transportation Safety Board

Old Colony Planning Council

Overall Condition Index (Pavement)

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Pavement Condition Index

Priority Development Fund

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[Metropolitan] Planning Funds

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Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area

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