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Energy efficiency efforts need to focus on equity, access

A woman cooled off in a rooftop pool on Lagrange Street in Boston as the July weather continued to be hot and humid. Suzanne Kreiter/Globe StaffSuzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff

Green Future Act would raise key funds

Thank you to Sabrina Shankman for reporting on how far behind Massachusetts is in our goal of installing 100,000 heat pumps a year (“A climate fix, slipping out of our grasp,” Page A1, Aug. 22). As she mentioned, a key reason for this is the high cost of heat pump installation, especially for middle- and low-income households. As with many solutions to climate change, initial costs are high and come down with use and volume. So to get more heat pumps installed, we must raise new funds to lower the upfront costs to residents.

One funding source that we can’t overlook is the Green Future Act. It’s a bill, filed by state Representative Bill Driscoll Jr., with deep support in the State House, designed to get us closer than ever to realizing our clean energy and emissions goals. By 2030, it would raise $10 billion for climate-friendly and green infrastructure, including heat pumps, solar, electric school buses, and public transit.

In addition to raising money, it recognizes that investing in clean technology drives benefits beyond reducing harmful emissions and saving energy consumers money. It also creates local jobs. A study out last month from our organization found that investing in the Green Future Act would create 83,700 in-state jobs over the next decade.


Peter Kirby

Acting executive director

Climate XChange Education and Research


Not everyone can afford to switch to heat pumps

Massachusetts cannot wait any longer to take action if we want to reach our carbon emission reduction and climate justice goals for the upcoming years. However, we cannot forget about equity and the disparities in access to the Mass Save program that need to be addressed as the current three-year energy efficiency plan is finalized this fall.

Wealthier communities in Massachusetts are currently benefiting from energy efficiency programs at a higher rate than low-income and language-isolated communities. In addition, while installing heat pumps effectively decreases carbon emissions, not everyone can afford to make the switch, especially in non-weatherized buildings.


Renters already struggle with unaffordable utility bills year-round, spending hundreds of dollars to make up for drafty windows, poor insulation, and other deficiencies in heating, ventilation, and cooling. We cannot continue to let this happen. Equity and access belong in the energy efficiency equation. The state needs to prioritize weatherization and access to energy efficiency for underserved groups before it’s too late. Haven’t our front-line communities suffered enough already?

Paulina Casasola

Climate justice organizer

Clean Water Action