Save Money & Energy with Free Mass Save Service
Sunday, June 14, 2015 at 6:45PM
Gary L Kelley in Fatherhood, mass save, money, savings

Take advantage of a service (you already pay a monthly fee for) and get some energy-efficient light bulbs on the spot and tips on bringing down your energy bill



Every month Massachusetts families are paying an energy efficiency charge on their power bills, but not everyone is taking advantage of the free benefits the monthly fee delivers. 

  Founded in 2010, Mass Save famously advertises its free home energy assessments, which in many cases result in a variety of on-the-spot, no-cost improvements for home owners, like new LED bulbs in every fixture in a home, upgraded thermostats, and water-efficient showerheads.

  “One hundred and six lightbulbs! My house has 106 lightbulbs!” exclaims Ashland’s Jed Dineen with unbridled enthusiasm. “All of them were the traditional, old-style incandescent bulbs dating back to Thomas Edison’s era. Now, my home has new energy efficient LED lighting for free.”

  Dineen and his family recently had Mass Save perform a no-cost energy assessment. An assessor came to the house and spent two hours doing a top-to-bottom inspection of the home, including:

• Attic & wall insulation

• Airflow

• Siding

• Thermostats

• Doors

• Windows

• Appliances

• Heating and cooling systems

• Hot water

• Surge suppressors


  Mass Save in-home assessments result in a personalized report outlining recommended energy efficiency improvements along with an estimate of the energy savings and low/no cost financing plans. In Dineen’s case, at the time of the assessment, Mass Save installed 106 LED light bulbs (replacing simple screw bulbs) and programmable (heating/cooling and time of day) thermostats for free. Had he done these improvements himself, he estimates the cost would easily have been hundreds of dollars.

  The payoff? The Dineen’s electric bill dropped $35 in the first month compared to the prior year.

  Prior personal attempts to try energy-saving approaches yielded mixed results for Dineen. For example, lighting improvements were unimpressive. “We tried compact fluorescent bulbs and they always fell flat,” he says. “The early versions had a rather harsh light we just didn’t like. And it always took too long for them to ‘warm up’ to full brightness. For example, when going to the basement to get something, the 2-minute warm-up time often exceeded the needed time in the basement, and we were not happy they had mercury in them. We have none of those issues with the LEDs.”

  Mass Save left Dineen with specific energy-efficiency improvement recommendations so he could make subsequent decisions on his schedule. He looks at the home energy assessment as a way to “prioritize” expenditures. “I have a Sub-Zero refrigerator-freezer. The Mass Save program will help fund a replacement refrigerator, and nothing like a Sub-Zero,” he says. “We need to decide if we want to keep the Sub-Zero (with its accompanying aesthetics) or replace it with a more energy efficient version.”

  Available Mass Save rebates and incentives vary over time.  Currently they include:

• 75% up to $2,000 toward the installation of approved insulation improvements

• No-cost targeted air sealing

• Rebates on qualifying energy-efficient heating and hot water heating equipment

• The opportunity to apply for 0% financing for eligible measures through the HEAT loan program.   

  In 2013, 9,000 heat loans were provided in Massachusetts.  Under this program, customers can apply for a 0% loan from participating lenders assisting with the installation of qualified energy-efficient improvements in their home.

  “The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has made energy efficiency a top priority to help people manage their energy costs and improve the comfort of their homes,” says Dan Burgess, Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources acting commissioner. “I always recommend homeowners, renters, and business owners explore Mass Save’s Website to see what’s available for them at home and work.”

  The Massachusetts Energy Efficiency Advisory Council’s 2013 annual report supports Burgess’ statement in a compelling manner: “Mass Save helped customers save the same amount of electricity as all households in Lowell, Springfield, Taunton, and Waltham collectively use in a year. The natural gas savings are equal to heating nearly every single household in Framingham for a year. In 2013, the efforts generated $2.8 billion in benefits, slightly greater total benefits than projected, while spending 12% less than budgeted.”

  This pace was continued in 2014, according to Susan Kaplan, director of marketing and stakeholder engagement for the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources. “The 2014 savings were the equivalent of a 172 megawatt power plant, and this is ongoing. Massachusetts has been ranked #1 in energy efficiency for the past four years.”

  Kaplan points to the impacts being seen at ISO New England, the independent, not-for-profit company charged with grid operation, market administration, and power system planning: “Our Massachusetts programs are actually bending the demand curve down. You can see the benefits in action.”

  “Mass Save started as a program in 2010, without a headquarters or staff,” notes Jake Navarro, spokesman for National Grid US. “The programs are funded by the energy efficiency charge on energy bills across Massachusetts overseen by the Department of Public Utilities. For a typical 500 kilowatt-hour-per-month customer, the energy-efficiency charge is currently about $5 per month (1 cent per kilowatt-hour).”

  Navarro is quick to point out companies like National Grid do not generate power, they only provide transmission lines. Programs like Mass Save help companies such as National Grid plan better for infrastructure improvements.

  Everyone wants lower energy bills, which was evident in recent months. “This past winter drove a huge uptick in interest in these programs,” Navarro says. “November and December 2014 had a 69% increase in assessment requests over the same period in 2013. People saw large electric bill increases and this drove increased interest in conservation.”

  The increases in power generation costs are attributed to constrained natural gas, and “will be a regional issue going on a few years,”  Navarro notes.

  The Mass Save Website,, is a common entry point for energy assessment programs. The Website also includes an Online Home Energy Assessment, giving a quick assessment of your energy efficiency and an improvement plan.


Article originally published in baystateparent magazine - June 2015

Article originally appeared on Gary L Kelley (
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