Frequently Asked Questions

Please find all of our frequently asked questions and answers about our program below.

Yes, for-profit owned projects that meet the low-income requirement (50% of the development households have income at or below 60% of the Median Income) are eligible. For-profit owners are required to sign an affordability agreement in addition to the documents we already collect to prove income eligibility.

No, the Program Administrators have a separate program for this – go to Mass Save

The Program Administrators also offer a program for market rate multifamily housing; you may apply to that program. Call 800-594-7277 or visit http://www.masssave.com/residential/multi-family-with-5-or-more-dwelling-units/ for more information.

 

Generally no, the Lead Agency with LEAN’s assistance selects the contractor in order to ensure capacity to install approved equipment in multifamily buildings, meet our pricing requirements, and minimize the administrative costs of bidding and selection. The contractor and a Lead Agency representative will visit the site to determine the approach and feasibility of the work prior to installing the cost-effective measures identified in the Assessment. We recommend that representatives from your organization and from your maintenance staff be present for visits from contractors and sub-contractors to better inform the scoping of your work. An Applicant’s preferred contractor can be used if the contractor meets all program requirements. Contractors already selected by an Applicant, such as when the measure is part of a custom project and the project has been independently bid out by the Applicant, can be used as long as their pricing meets the Program’s cost-effectiveness test.

 

Absolutely, please specify the date of the anticipated renovation in the application. Your project will be held until within 8-9 months of the renovation in order to ensure that the building assessment is relevant.

 

No, LIMF cannot be combined with utility rebates for the same measures because the LIMF program is also utility funded.  A project that is receiving rebates for certain measures but needs other eligible work done too is welcome to apply.  In those cases, LIMF would apply to the measures that are not subject to rebates.

 

Energy benchmarking is the process of reviewing a building’s utility usage for a year or more to determine how well the building is performing compared to itself over time or to other similar buildings.  

Oil or propane buildings are eligible. If your building is served by an investor-owned electric utility, it is eligible for an electric/appliance audit to identify appliance and lighting upgrades, as well as potential upgrades to the shell, heating and/or ventilation systems. If your building is served by a municipal light plant, it is not eligible for any services at this time.

Electrically heated buildings served by one of the electric Program Administrators are eligible for all services, including the appliance audit, comprehensive building assessment, electrical upgrades, and heating and ventilation upgrades. Electrically heated buildings served by a municipal light plant are not eligible for any assessments or services.

 

You must submit documentation that demonstrates your project meets our affordability requirement of at least 50% of the units are affordable to households making 60% or less of AMI. Based on the type of project you have submitted, you may provide one of the following types of documentation: 1. A deed restriction that explicitly states the development has reserved at least 50% of the units for households earning 60% or less of AMI. Please note that any other wording in the deed restriction is not acceptable. If it is not explicit, then you will need to provide item 2 or 4 instead. OR 2. A recent income survey (done within the last 12 months) showing that at least 50% of the units are earning 60% AMI or less. The survey should not contain tenants’ names or any other personal information. It should contain a unit by unit itemization of income with a calculation at the end showing the number of units meeting the requirement, the total number of units, and the percentage that meet the requirement. Our standard template is available upon request. OR 3. For shelters, a letter from the Executive Director or another individual with signatory authority stating that the property is used as a shelter is sufficient. The letter should indicate the level of income of the clients served. If clients have to identify their income to you in order to receive services, you can state that in the letter. We do not require shelters to submit an income survey. OR 4. Other type of documentation determined in conjunction with us on a case-by-case basis. Furthermore, if the project is a (1) Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Property or (2) Project-Based Section 8 property then it is eligible for the program. These properties may submit LIHTC or Section 8 documentation in lieu of the four options stated above. PLEASE NOTE: Section 8 vouchers do not automatically qualify tenants or a project. Although tenants must meet the 60% AMI limit to obtain vouchers, they may keep the vouchers from year to year even if their incomes increase. If the project utilizes Section 8 vouchers, the applicant must submit item 1, 2, or 4.

The majority of LIMF projects receive 2 types of evaluations, and they are in most cases conducted by different auditors. One type of evaluation is called an Electric/Appliance Audit, which covers electrical upgrades, primarily refrigerators and lighting.  This is the standard evaluation done by the electric Program Administrators. The second type of evaluation is a comprehensive building assessment to capture the building’s overall condition and performance to identify all cost-effective measures related to space heating, water heating and ventilation.  This evaluation is done by the gas Program Administrators in gas-heated buildings and by the electric Program Administrators in electrically heated buildings.

 

An Electric/Appliance Audit is the standard evaluation done by the electric Program Administrators to identify needed upgrades to refrigerators, unit lighting and interior/exterior common area lighting. The Electric/Appliance Audit will determine if refrigerator replacement is warranted. If you have recently replaced your refrigerators, you are still eligible to apply for lighting upgrades.

The goal of this program is to provide cost-effective improvements that benefit low-income occupants and owners of multi-family buildings. Since the rate of increase for the cost-benefit ratio of insulation drops significantly once you get close to R-38, our Program considers insulation up to R-60 only marginally more beneficial for the Project. In our efforts to leverage funds for the greatest impact, we choose to allocate funds toward measures with the greatest impact.

This program is not a typical cash grant program for applicants to use on eligible upgrades. It is a turnkey incentive program that provides services including evaluation of the building for performance and proposal of a suite of complementary measures to improve the efficiency. If the applicant and the utility (funding provider) agree with the proposal, then we provide the work through our pool of contractors.

The applicant may propose additional prescriptive or custom measures that were not initially considered, however, every measure must meet a cost-effectiveness test. As long as the measure meets our requirements, it is allowable under the program.

Windows can only be replaced on a very limited basis, and only when there are other building shell or heating measures that are being done. The program cannot replace windows in historic buildings.

In the vast majority of cases, yes. We strive to install the best possible equipment in every situation. In limited cases, we may not propose a condensing boiler even though it has the highest efficiency rating for any one of these reasons: 1) the structure of the building does not allow for proper venting or other installation of the condensing boiler, 2) the project’s cost-effectiveness is compromised by the price of the condensing boiler, or 3) there is no condensing boiler on the market that meets the building’s need.

The Program will assign contractors that are already established in the LEAN network or through contracts with the Program Administrators to install typical cost-effective measures. When necessary, the Program will bid for additional products or services using a competitive process (that mirrors the 1-4 Family Program bid process). An Applicant’s preferred contractor can be used if the contractor meets all program requirements. Contractors already selected by an Applicant, such as when the measure is part of a custom project and the project has been independently bid out by the Applicant, can be used as long as their pricing meets the Program’s cost-effectiveness test.

The measures are approved once the appropriate Program Administrator reviews the Cost-Effectiveness analysis and approves the project. The Applicant will be notified when this occurs.

Yes. After a draft scope of work is proposed, the applicant, a LEAN representative and the contractor will meet with the applicant to finalize the scope of work. If any changes are proposed a change order must be submitted for cost-effectiveness evaluation.

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