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State’s old housing stock needs a boost toward net zero

Insulation was sprayed on the attic walls and ceiling of an 1888 Victorian house in Somerville in order to make it more energy efficient.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Credit to the Globe for detailing — and tabulating — what it takes to transform old homes to net-zero energy status (“Cut your losses,” Address, June 12). Given such high costs to retrofit old homes, Massachusetts’ leaders should place significant focus on improving the energy efficiency of our existing housing stock to meet climate policy goals, not just on new homes that are already being built to high energy-efficiency standards. This dual approach would more effectively reduce carbon emissions and achieve energy savings. Focusing on existing homes also would help lower utility bills for those living in older, inefficient homes.

We have the nation’s second-oldest housing stock, yet many state legislators and policy makers are zeroing in on requiring more expensive energy systems for new homes that will inevitably price out more families. There should be an appropriate level of support — rebates, tax credits, low-interest loans, and the like — associated with any new net-zero energy policies to ensure that they don’t exacerbate the state’s already-dire housing crisis.


Emerson Clauss III


Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Massachusetts