SECTION 1. For the purposes of this section “low income households” shall mean as defined by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development as families that do not exceed 80 percent of the of the median household income for the area; and “net zero” on a household basis shall mean households whose occupants emit no greenhouse gas emissions on an annual basis from their home, their transportation mode, their electricity supply for their home (and, as needed, to charge their transportation mode), and their solid waste.
The department of energy resources, in consultation with Massachusetts clean energy center, and the department of housing and community development, shall conduct a year long study of existing incentives for low income homeowners and renters to reduce their energy consumption and greenhouse gas pollution, including but not limited to the following areas: 1) building energy efficiency, including renewable heating and cooling technologies, 2) renewable energy supply on a household basis including but not limited to community shared solar, solar farms, rooftop solar, community choice aggregation, and other community wide clean energy programs, 3) solid waste, and 4) transportation in order to achieve household net zero status. The purpose of this study is to identify existing resources, programs, and gaps that exist in assisting households to achieving net zero for low income households and renters as well as viable mechanisms that can be used to tie together the existing incentives and identify ways to fill the gaps. The department of energy resources shall submit a report on said study to the joint committees on telecommunications, utilities and energy and file a copy thereof with the clerk of the house representatives and the clerk of the senate, with the intent of informing future law making as well guiding the implementation of the pilot program in section 2.
SECTION 2. Following the one year study, in the subsequent 2 years the department of energy resources, in consultation with Massachusetts clean energy center, and department of housing and community development shall conduct not less than two pilot projects that will enroll a minimum of 150 low income households, homeowners and renters, that reside in at least 3 gateway communities as defined in section 3A of chapter 23A. These pilot projects shall retrofit existing single-family and multi-family housing to be net zero energy buildings, including the following improvements: 1) building energy efficiency, including renewable heating and cooling technologies, and shall provide access for low income families to 2) renewable electric supply, 3) low impact solid waste solutions , and 4) transportation; including measures such as solar photovoltaic panels, air-source or ground-source heat pumps, weatherization, electric vehicles, electric vehicle infrastructure, public transit, composting, recycling, energy storage, and efficient appliances. Following the completion of the pilot projects, the department of energy resources shall file a report with the clerk of the house of representatives and the clerk of the senate including recommendations to expand the scope of similar programs to include all low income households across the Commonwealth.
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