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Funds from the Commonwealth's Economic Development Bond Bill have been earmarked for sustainable and climate resilient affordable housing. Each year represents a $1.6 million investment that will be leveraged competitively to support two to three highly-rated projects that represent achievable and replicable approaches to very low carbon emissions focused on existing building renovations as outlined below.

MassHousing and Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP) are administering the program on behalf of the state Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). MassHousing and MHP have engaged with LISC to further assist with program administration. Funding awards in 2022 were made to Treehouse at Easthampton and Hano Homes in Brighton.

LISC Boston has created a Climate Ready Program web page with application information coinciding with the opening of the application process on Monday, March 6, 2023. Below are basic details about the program.

Areas of focus for 2023

Deep Energy Retrofit (DER) – This approach assumes a comprehensive scope of work that includes extensive improvements to the building envelope that significantly reduce heating energy load (by at least 50%) and carbon emissions. The building envelope work is leveraged to allow for cost-effective electrification of the building’s HVAC system. Improvements in ventilation to achieve appropriate indoor air quality are required.

Zero Carbon Emissions Over Time (ZOT) – This approach assumes a less significant intervention in the upcoming rehabilitation project than is represented in the DER approach outlined above but reflects thoughtful planning on the part of the project team to capture the pending rehabilitation project as an important piece of a long-term plan to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The DER design solution or the ZOT implementation plan must include the following:

  • Substantial envelope improvements to minimize heating and cooling demands;
  • Heat pump-based technology for space heating and cooling;
  • Energy or heat recovery ventilation technology;
  • Plan for electrification of domestic hot water systems (strongly encouraged);
  • Plan for electrification of cooking appliances;
  • Maximization of renewable energy systems and integration into project’s capital approach;
  • Serious consideration of material decisions related to embodied carbon.

Eligibility guidelines

The program is available to public, nonprofit, and for-profit multifamily sponsors. At least 25 percent of occupants must have incomes not exceeding 60 percent of area median income. For more info, read the notice of funding availability, which will be posted soon.

Application schedule

MHP, MassHousing, LISC and the state are finalizing deadlines and details on the next funding round, with an announcement expected in March. The expected deadlines will be as follows:

• Monday, March 6, 2023: Pre-application opens
• Friday, March 31, 2023: Pre-application deadline
• Monday, April 24, 2023: Application opens (for pre-approved applicants only)
• Friday, May 19, 2023: Application deadline
• Summer 2023: Funding decision

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      Related story: 2022 Climate Ready awards to housing in Brighton, Easthampton