Investing in energy efficiency upgrades for your home is not only one of the easiest ways to decrease your carbon footprint; it’s also one of the best ways to save money on utility bills. However, despite the clear benefits, some homeowners hesitate to install air source heat pumps, add insulation to their home, or switch to solar hot water technologies because of anticipated upfront costs. Fortunately, this isn’t much of an obstacle in the Bay State: thanks to Mass Save, homeowners throughout Massachusetts can finance these projects at 0 percent interest with the HEAT Loan Program.
In this article, we’ll give you an overview of the HEAT Loan Program, and walk you through the process of financing your home energy efficiency project through the program.
An overview of the Mass Save HEAT Loan Program
Mass Save is an energy efficiency service provider administered by local utility companies. This collaborative offers no-cost home energy audits, rebates, and financing for energy efficiency and clean energy projects in an effort to help Massachusetts residents and businesses save money and energy. Thanks to Mass Save, Massachusetts was ranked the #1 state in the country for energy efficiency for nine years in a row (in 2020, Massachusetts ranked #2 behind California)!
The Mass Save HEAT Loan is a 0 percent interest financing option that allows you to borrow up to $25,000 for energy efficiency projects, including clean heating and cooling. This includes space and water heating, air conditioning, air source heat pumps, insulation and more.
How to get started
Looking to apply for the HEAT Loan? Here are the most important steps:
#1. Schedule a home energy audit
To qualify for any financing through Mass Save, you must first complete a no-cost home energy audit. You can call Mass Save at 866-527-SAVE to schedule your audit.
During the audit, a professional home energy auditor will identify any and all opportunities for energy efficiency adjustments to your home–from lighting, to insulation upgrades, and more. Before leaving your home, the home energy auditor will complete ta HEAT Loan Intake Form and provide you with a copy. This form will kickstart your HEAT Loan financing journey.
Have you already completed an audit with Mass Save?
If you previously had an audit before but cannot find your HEAT Loan Intake Form, fret not! You can call Mass Save Customer Service at (800) 632-8300 for help. They will have a copy of your Intake Form on file.
#2. Find potential contractors
The next step is to evaluate potential contractors for your energy project. On their website, Mass Save provides a database of approved contractors that you can filter by zip code and technology. Each contractor listed on their website has already been vetted for proper training and certification requirements, but it’s still a good idea to compare their years of experience, online reviews, and warranty offerings when deciding between contractor versus another.
#3. Compare pricing and equipment.
When it comes to any home energy upgrade, we recommend comparing more than one option: solicit multiple bids from various installers for the upgrade you’re considering. Depending on the project, you may want to invite contractors out for a site visit at your property; this presents the perfect opportunity for them to provide you with the most accurate quote possible, as well as assess how the layout and materials of your home might be best suited for one solution or another, like ducted versus ductless heat pump solutions.
Once you’ve decided on the right installer and equipment for your project, you can sign a contract and take the next steps toward securing HEAT Loan financing.
#4. Submit your Intake Form
When you first apply for the HEAT loan, you need to submit the Intake Form from your audit, along with a signed proposal from your selected contractor. At a minimum, this contract needs to show the proposed equipment, as well as the cost of the system and labor to install. You submit this information to the HEAT Loan Program Administrator through an online portal, here, which constitutes your loan application.
Once your project is approved, you will receive an Authorization Letter from Mass Save, which will prepare you for the next step of the process.
#5. Find a lender
Not every bank offers HEAT Loans: Mass Save has a list of approved and participating lenders from which you can choose (here is the complete list of participating lenders.)
As you’re going through the list, it’s most important to find a lender offering the type of loan (i.e. micro, standard, enhanced, rental property) and the loan amount you are looking for. Most lenders have multiple options for approval or pre-approval, some of which are online.
#6. Pay your contractor
Once you’ve been approved for the HEAT Loan, the lender will provide you with a two-party check that’s made payable to you and your contractor. Typically, the lender will pay out the financed amount in two separate installments. It’s important to make sure this financing is secure before your contractor begins any work on your property. When it comes time to pay your contractor, simply sign over the check.
#7. Making loan payments
Once your project is complete, you will make fixed monthly payments over the next seven years to pay off the loan. Fortunately, if you decide to pay off your loan sooner than that, you won’t need to pay any pre-payment penalties.
Best of all, you will be able to enjoy a new home energy upgrade that saves you money on your energy bills!
Don’t forget to claim energy efficiency incentives
Be sure to also check out any rebates that may be available for the technology you installed – Mass Save offers rebates for air source heat pumps and solar hot water projects, among many other high-efficiency products!
Learn more about your energy efficiency options
Interested in learning more about energy-efficient technologies and how they can help you save money (and the environment?) Head over to EnergySage’s Energy Efficiency section to learn more about the steps of an energy audit, other energy efficiency financing options, why utilities (like National Grid and Eversource) support energy efficiency, and more.