Malcolm Bliss wanted to electrify his home. But he didn’t know where to start.
“Selecting installers is a chore,” said the longtime Cambridge resident. “Forget installing, even finding them is a chore.”
Bliss, who has lived in Cambridge since 1990, wanted to replace his gas stove with an electric model, install an electric vehicle charger, and much more from a long to-do list of things to reduce his environmental footprint. He felt like it was long overdue.
Then, last week, Bliss got an email. The city of Cambridge was launching a new program to help residents go green. The program, called Electrify Cambridge, is offering free consultations to any resident who wants to explore clean energy, all-electric home upgrades.
“It was a piece of cake to schedule the consultation,” Bliss said. “If this Electrify Cambridge program can provide even a couple of people of assistance, that will make it so much easier than trying to figure out who might to do this [on your own].”
Cambridge residents can call the Cambridge Energy helpline or visit the program website and schedule a consultation with a specialist who will help them come up with a customizable plan, compare different technologies, and connect them with a pool of installers.
“We do get a lot of inquiries from people who are interested in finding a trusted heat pump installer or finding the technology that will work for their water heater,” said Nikhil Nadkarni, an energy planner for the city. “We want to be able to respond.”
According to Nadkarni, this program is unique in offering no-cost technical guidance and helping people think about longer term plans about heat pumps, induction stoves, EV chargers and more. For residents like Bliss, the amount of information on green technology can pose as a barrier
“Having pre-identified service providers and product options is a huge help,” he said.
Since the program launched last week, over 60 residents have scheduled consultations.
The city has partnered with Massachusetts-based Abode Energy Management, an energy solutions firm, and New Ecology, a Boston-based nonprofit involved in clean energy and sustainability solutions, to provide consultations for interested residents.
“In Cambridge, buildings are the source of over 80 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions,” a statement on their website reads. “These all-electric upgrades can improve indoor air quality, make a home more comfortable, and cut fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions.”
“The city of Cambridge is committed to getting to zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 if not earlier,” said Nadkarni. “Creating this program is a really foundational piece of how we get there.”