How Massachusetts Multifamily Upgrade Programs Make Your Building More Energy Efficient

Energy efficient rated construction

Over the last decade and up until last year, Massachusetts has consistently ranked #1 in the country for energy efficiency programs (in 2020 Massachusetts was #2). The state made a commitment to making buildings more energy-efficient through passage of the Green Communities Act in 2008. Part of this success of Massachusetts are the options available for the low-income housing sector through single and multifamily building upgrades including a no-cost building energy assessments, as well as energy efficiency measure installation.

Programs exist for multifamily building owners who need to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings with 5+ units at no cost to residents or property owners. Turning to LEAN Multifamily for whole building energy upgrades can save them thousands of dollars. With a no-cost multifamily building upgrades plan, they can gain these upgrades with $0 out of pocket, completely free.

Benefits of Energy Efficiency

There is no doubt that an energy-efficient multifamily building has many benefits, particularly for the owners. Energy efficiency is good for your wallet and good for the environment.

Save Money

What does “no-cost” really mean? Well, for starters it means there is no cost for upgrading a multifamily building. Seriously, you don’t spend a penny.

LEAN Multifamily receives funding through the investor-owned utility companies. These funds are collected through the rate payers – that is anyone who pays a gas or electric utility bill through one of these investor-owned utilities. These corporations are Massachusetts Energy Efficiency Program Administrators including: Blackstone Gas, Eversource, National Grid, Unitil, Berkshire Gas, Liberty Utilities, and Cape Light Compact.

In an effort to make their customers more energy-efficient, these corporations support repairs and upgrades with financial incentives, as well as overall project scoping and management. This means less of their resources are wasted in a home that is not efficiently using them.

Improve Performance

Provide your tenants with the best  and most up to date technologies for heating, air conditioning, and water temperature you can. With increased efficiency, as well as insulation upgrades,, temperatures can be better maintained in interior space and water.

Updated lighting also benefits both the experience of your tenants and improves their safety. With brighter, more efficient LED lighting and power strips, residents will use less energy and spend less money.

Save the Planet

Energy efficiency is not just good for your wallet, it’s good for the planet as well. When homes are energy-efficient, better insulated, requiring less fuel to heat and less electricity to power, you reduce the carbon footprint of the building. Residential energy use is a serious contributor to greenhouse gases. While you can’t necessarily impact resident behavior around how they use energy, improving the system they rely on can have a major impact.

Eligible Buildings

To qualify for the LEAN Multifamily No Cost Upgrade program, your building must have 5 or more units. Buildings can be owned by public housing, non-profit, or for-profit entities. 

A majority of residents must be low-income (at least 50% of the residents must be at 60% or below AMI or receive a discount billing rate). The site must already be served by one or more of our energy efficiency Program Administrators. These Program Administrators include Blackstone Gas Company, Unitil, Liberty Utilities, Eversource, Cape Light Compact, Berkshire Gas, and National Grid.

Owners and organizations must apply to receive services. The application will assess your properties building profile, including unit count, heating system type as well as resident income eligibility.

LEAN Multifamily

LEAN Multifamily Energy Retrofit Program is implemented through the Low-Income Energy Affordability Network. Through a network of Community Action Agencies throughout Massachusetts, LEAN brings many services to our eligible clients. With 40 years of experience in energy efficiency, we are able to bring energy services and project management to multi family homes in need of upgrades.

Our funding allows us to assess properties, identify inefficient energy uses, and manage projects. Then we are able to pay for the upgrades that make these spaces more energy-efficient thanks to partner funding. 

LEAN Multifamily has assessed over 13,000 buildings and 220,000 units. We have saved owners over $100 million just from upgrades.

Building Assessment

During a building assessment, inefficient systems and appliances around the home are identified.These are noted and an efficiency measure and work scope is developed.

Project Management

Throughout the process of no-cost upgrades, LEAN handles the project management and installation coordination, including engaging qualified contractors for the jobs and providing 100% quality control. 


All completion inspections that verify improved efficiency are handled by LEAN as well. This finishes off the project and starts you down the road to savings.

Energy-Efficient Upgrades


To save money on electric LEAN offers many electric upgrade options. These include updating to LED lighting, installation of smart powerstrips, resident education and an appliance audit. 

Upgrading to LED lighting can drastically reduce the cost of electric utilities and the carbon footprint. These lighting upgrades extend to common interior and exterior spaces.

We also replace qualifying refrigerators and air conditioners with more energy efficient models. To improve the function of electric heat, we provide building envelope upgrades. 


Gas heated buildings also receive envelope upgrades, as well as heating system upgrades. Control upgrades are also included.

Upgrading the hot water system can also impact efficiency. LEAN may update tanks, aerators, pipe insulation, and showerheads.


Reducing the amount of heating or cooling that leaves a building improves efficiency. These losses may be due to drafts, poor insulation, or older windows. Securing these is the main goal of weatherization.   

Connected Programs

Some buildings may not qualify for no-cost upgrades from LEAN Multifamily, but we can still assist you with finding a way to save money on upgrades. You can still benefit from a no-cost assessment where you can get information about potential changes to make.

Receive guidance on the right kinds of improvements to invest in. Learn more about fixtures that improve water usage or how to seal off drafts.

Reach out with questions or applications to find out more.

Apply for LEAN Multifamily Building No-Cost Upgrades

See if you qualify for no-cost multifamily building energy upgrades. If you own a residential building with 5+ units you may qualify. Whether it operates under public housing, non-profit, or for-profit organizations, you can apply now to see if you qualify for upgrades.

Send your application in today to get the process started.

LEAN Multi-Family