Frequently Asked Questions
Everything you need to know about the Mass Energy Heat Pump Program.
- How does it work?
- How does Mass Energy offer a competitive price?
- How were the installers selected?
- Why should I participate now?
- Who is Mass Energy?
- Is participation in this program limited to Mass Energy members?
- Am I eligible to participate in the Heat Pump Program?
- What sorts of incentives are available?
- Are heat pumps eligible for Mass Save® HEAT Loans?
- How can I make sure I understand and receive all rebates and incentives that apply to my system?
- How much could I potentially save?
- What is renewable heating and cooling technology?
- What is an air source heat pump and how do they work?
- What are the benefits of using an air source heat pump?
- How well do heat pumps work in the middle of winter?
- What models of air source heat pumps will be installed in the program?
- Why were these models chosen?
- How long will it take for me to get a heat pump installed?
|How does it work?||
The Mass Energy Heat Pump Program is a simple way for homeowners to purchase air source heat pumps (ASHPs) at a competitive price and have them installed by qualified installers. The process is straightforward and follows these basic steps:
It's really that simple.
|How does Mass Energy offer a competitive price?||
The three installers are offering competitive pricing as the program helps them to identify leads within their service areas. Time and money can be saved on acquiring and qualifying leads, and Mass Energy has worked with them to ensure that these savings are passed on to the customer.
|How were the installers selected?||Fisher-Churchill, Genove, and Muirfield Mechanical were selected based on several factors, including their experience with heating oil customers, equipment installation expertise, competitive pricing, and ability to serve a large geographic area.|
|Why should I participate now?||
With energy prices in constant flux, there hasn't been a better time to reduce your energy bill by installing an air source heat pump. The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center just renewed its commitment to driving installations of ASHPs by providing rebates of as much as $6,000 per household.
In addition, the federal omnibus spending bill that passed in December 2015 extended a federal tax credit of $300 for air source heat pumps installed before the end of 2016. Now is a great time to take advantage of these incentives, as well as other rebates available in Massachusetts, to make the installation of your heat pump even more cost-effective. To learn more about what rebates and incentives you could be eligible for, read more here.
The best way to make sure you get the larger incentive is to sign up for the Mass Energy Heat Pump Program as soon as possible.
|Who is Mass Energy?||
Mass Energy is a Boston-based non-profit organization that has worked to make energy more affordable and sustainable for Massachusetts residents for over 30 years. Mass Energy works with oil heat dealers to provide over 14,000 members with discounted heating oil. Among other programs, Mass Energy also runs a Green Power purchasing program that enables 8,000 participants to purchase locally-generated renewable energy.
Through the Heat Pump Program, Mass Energy is striving to take the next steps to continue serving the Massachusetts community, by providing discounted, renewable heating and cooling to help homeowners save money and green their home energy usage.
|Is participation in this program limited to Mass Energy members?||
While Mass Energy is running the program, we believe that this opportunity to save money, increase home comfort, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions should be available to anyone. Anyone in the eligible cities and towns will be able to participate and benefit from the Heat Pump Program. However, you may not be able to access all of the same incentives, depending on your electric utility. Read here for more information.
|Am I eligible to participate in the Heat Pump Program?||This program is NOT limited to Mass Energy members. All residents in the following towns are encouraged to participate in the Mass Energy Heat Pump Program:
**Note: Belmont, Boxborough, Braintree, Concord, Groton, Hudson, Littleton, Mansfield, N. Attleboro, Norwood, Stow, and Wellesley are served by Municipal Light Plants. Residents in these communities are encouraged to take advantage of the competitive pricing offered through the Mass Energy Heat Pump Program, but are not eligible for incentives offered through Mass Save. Residents in these communities are also not eligible for incentives offered by MassCEC unless they use an electric-resistance heating system, provided their installation is completed and their application submitted by June 30, 2016. However, many of these municipal lighting plants do offer incentives (read here for some rebate programs), so check with your municipal lighting plant to see if you will be able to receive rebates through their programs. If you live in one of these areas and do heat with electric resistance heat, we strongly encourage you to sign up as soon as possible, as we cannot guarantee at this time that your installation will be completed by June 30 if you sign up closer to the end of the program.
Don't see your town listed? If you live close to one of the towns listed and are interested in participating, contact Maura O'Gara at 617-524-3950 x180 or email@example.com.
|What sorts of incentives are available?||
Two rebates are available for air source heat pumps in Massachusetts, as well as one federal level tax incentive.
Massachusetts Clean Energy Center: Clean Heating and Cooling Program
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) provides rebates for ASHPs through its Clean Heating and Cooling program. Beyond meeting the performance requirements of the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP), systems eligible for the rebate must notably be able to provide 100% of rated heating capacity at 5°F. While MassCEC rebate supports both ductless and ducted systems by several manufacturers, currently only one ducted system meets the incentive specifications.
In 2016, MassCEC introduced a number of rebate adders to their air source heat pump incentive in order to make the technology more affordable for low and moderate income families and to incentivize residents that heat with electric resistance heat to switch to a more efficient technology. Households with incomes of below 120% of the state median income ($127,408 for a family of four) are eligible for the Income-Based Rebate. Households with incomes of below 80% of the state median income ($84,939 for a family of four) that also heat with electric resistance heat are eligible for the Income-Based + Electric Heat Replacement Rebate. Click here to learn more about whether you might be eligible for an Income-Based rebate.
To be eligible for the rebate, homeowners must either be electric customers of National Grid, Eversource, or Unitil or use electric resistance heat. Eligible homeowners must also have received a home energy assessment within the last two years or have one scheduled within six months of their ASHP installation. No-cost energy assessments are available through Mass Save® to eligible utility customers. We HIGHLY RECOMMEND you sign up for an energy assessment if you are eligible and are considering ASHPs to make sure you will be eligible for the MassCEC rebate and because the efficiency of your home will impact the sizing and price of your ASHP system.
All systems installed under the Mass Energy Heat Pump Program will be eligible for the MassCEC rebate. More information on rebate eligibility requirements can be found here
Mass Save®: Mini-split Heat Pump Rebate
Mass Save® provides rebates for ductless mini-split ASHPs. While the system requirements are generally less restrictive than those of MassCEC, the Mass Save® rebate is only available to electric customers of the following utilities: National Grid, Eversource, Unitil, and Cape Light Compact. Larger rebates are available for more efficient systems.
Most systems installed under the Mass Energy Heat Pump Program will be eligible for the Mass Save rebate. Consult your installer on which systems will be Mass Save eligible. More information on rebate eligibility requirements can be found here.
Federal Income Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency
In December 2015, the omnibus spending bill passed by Congress extended a number of federal tax incentives, including a tax credit for ENERGY STAR-certified equipment. If you purchase an ENERGY STAR-certified air source heat pump in 2016, you will be eligible for a $300 tax credit.
All systems that will be installed in the Mass Energy Heat Pump Program will be eligible for the federal tax credit. More information on the federal tax credit and how to apply for it can be found here.
|Are heat pumps eligible for Mass Save® HEAT Loans?||
Yes! Projects involving qualified heat pump equipment are eligible for the Mass Save® HEAT Loan, a 0% interest, 7 year loan of up to $25,000. You may be eligible for a HEAT Loan if you are an electric customer of National Grid, Eversource, Cape Light Compact, or Unitil, or if you are a gas customer of Liberty Utilities or Columbia Gas. Learn more about how to apply for heat loan program financing here.
|How can I make sure I understand and receive all rebates and incentives that apply to my system?||The Heat Pump Program installers have assisted many customers in applying for rebates and will make sure that you fully understand all applicable rebates and how to obtain them before providing you with a quote (that does not include the rebates). Your installer is knowledgeable about available incentives and rebates. In addition to explaining the details and answering questions during your site visit, the installer is also able to help you complete and submit the paperwork required to process your rebates.|
|How much could I potentially save?||
Your energy savings will vary depending on a number of factors, including what fuel you currently use to heat your home, how well-insulated your home is, what size and shape your home is, how much you use air conditioning in the summer (if at all), and more. The most important factor is what fuel source you use: homeowners who use electric-resistance heat or propane will see the most savings from installing an ASHP, anywhere from $400 to over $1,000 per year. Based on the average price for oil in the past 10 years, using ASHPs will help homeowners who heat with oil save money, but the current historically low oil prices have significantly increased the payback time. The price of electricity has historically been much more stable than the price of oil, so installing ASHPs can help provide protection against the price volatility of oil. If you heat with gas, you won’t save money on heating, but you’ll still save money on cooling because air source heat pumps provide more efficient air conditioning than most other cooling systems.
Check out this document we've pulled together for some estimates on what the average Massachusetts household could potentially save from installing an air source heat pump—or how much that household would have saved if they'd installed a heat pump 5 years ago!
|What is renewable heating and cooling technology?||Renewable heating and cooling systems, also known as "clean heat" systems, use renewable energy sources like sunlight, wood pellets or ambient heat from the air or earth to provide heating and/or cooling. Though the electricity used to power an air source heat pump may not be generated from renewable sources (though it can be if you're using solar or purchasing green power), ASHP systems are way more efficient than conventional technologies and can provide energy savings for homeowners with no compromises on comfort or reliability while still helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.|
|What is an air source heat pump?||Air source heat pumps can provide both heating and cooling to homes. Rather than using electricity or fossil fuels to generate heat, ASHPs use electricity to draw heat into the building from the outside air in the winter and push heat out of the building to provide cooling in the summer. Check out this infographic for a summary on how ASHPs work.|
|What are the benefits of using an air source heat pump?||There are a number of benefits homeowners can take advantage of by installing an ASHP:
|How well do heat pumps work in the middle of winter?||
Quite well! The newer cold climate heat pumps installed through the Mass Energy Heat Pump Program are designed to be used in a New England winter, providing efficient heating all the way down to 5°F while still continuing to provide useful heat all the way down to -10°F or lower. These heat pumps don't just shut off and leave you shivering as soon as winter starts!
To put those numbers into perspective, we looked at Massachusetts' National Weather Service data for the last 10 years:
What does this all mean? Well it means that you can expect an ASHP to provide useful, reliable heating for most of the winter. On some of the colder days, your ASHP might not put out as much heat and you may need to use some backup heat to help keep warm. And on those rare days when your ASHP stops producing heat entirely, your backup system will have to pick up the slack. As such, the installer will not remove your existing heating system, which will serve as a backup for the coldest days of the year.
Nervous about ASHPs shutting down in February? Don't be -- installations of ASHPs are growing rapidly throughout Maine and Vermont, which are significantly colder than Massachusetts in the winter. Rest assured that our installers will ensure that your ASHP and heating system are configured to ensure that you aren't left shivering mid-winter!
|What type of heat pump is being installed through this program?||
Fisher-Churchill, Genove, and Muirfield will be installing ductless mini split heat pumps. All three installers work with Mitsubishi models that are among the most advanced and efficient ASHPs optimized for cold climates and are eligible for MassCEC and Mass Save® rebates. As every home has different heating and cooling needs, the installers will determine what specific models are best suited for your home when they conduct a site visit.
The models that will be installed include:
|Why were these models chosen?|
|How long will it take me to get a heat pump installed through the program?||After signing up, all customers should be contacted by one of the three installers within a few business days. A site visit should occur within one to two weeks. After a contract is signed, your installation could happen in less than a week, and should occur no later than within one month. The installation itself can be done in a single day with minimal disruption to your home.|
Any questions we missed? Get in touch with Maura O'Gara at 617-524-3950 x180 or firstname.lastname@example.org.