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Story of the Year

The greening of affordable housing and community space is gaining momentum and showing results. But to navigate the complex ecosystem of energy efficiency incentives that bring savings to owners and residents—and protect the environment—owners need support.

Since 2010, LISC Boston has provided affordable housing owners across Massachusetts with technical assistance to access the state’s utility energy efficiency and clean energy programs. LISC has also highlighted promising practices from owners who have achieved critical healthy housing measures like green cleaning, integrated pest management, and smoke-free housing policies and practices. Altogether, LISC’s Green Retrofit initiative has received $5 million in grant funding, leveraged over $17 million in energy efficiency program funding and construction capital, and helped owners reach green benchmarks for 17,000 units of housing. 

For community developers trying to green their portfolios, LISC has been an invaluable supporter. The Boston office has helped 20 owners create green asset management plans for their portfolios, covering 29,000 units statewide. These materials will soon be available on LISC’s website for any owners interested in incorporating sustainability strategies into their portfolios.

“LISC helped us create a very effective green asset management plan that we continue to use for all of our 960 units,” said Drew Vernalia of Codman Square NDC, one of LISC’s affordable housing partners. “This helps us prioritize properties in need and secure utility funding. And getting lighting and gas retrofit equipment saved us a lot in capital expenses and operating costs.”

In 2017, LISC received an additional $600,000 grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to provide 38 properties with energy efficiency and clean energy grants. Of these, 24 grants funded comprehensive energy audit reports, which identified energy and water savings opportunities for properties on the verge of a major renovation. Fourteen grants funded assessments to optimize clean energy technologies in affordable housing properties statewide.

Also in 2017, the Green Retrofit Initiative received grant support from the Clean Energy Group, who provide technical assistance for owners interested in solar power and battery storage systems.

Owners say they trust LISC because it has been in Massachusetts for the past 35 years, driving resources and technical assistance to the field, and helping community development partners overcome complex challenges. “The housing and energy sectors each has its own technical languages,” said Mike Davis, a senior program officer at LISC Boston who runs the Green Retrofit work. “We come to the table with the ability to speak both of those languages and work toward overlapping goals.”

Photo credit: Courtesy of Sparhawk Group


Since 1981

$299 million
total investment

$2.1 billion

affordable homes
& apartments

1,802,129 sq. ft.
commercial &
community space

2017 Funders

Private Sector Support

Public Sector Support


Executive Director: Bob Van Meter

75 Kneeland Street, Suite 1102
Boston, MA 02111

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