In this podcast, the team from N.E.T.R., Inc. talks about Mass Save heat pump rebates. They explain how partial and whole home rebates can help to offset the cost of buying new equipment. Then, they outline how N.E.T.R. helps with the process.
John Maher: Hi, I am John Maher, and I’m here today with Victoria Scorzella, Inside Sales Manager, at N.E.T.R., Inc., a heating and cooling company in Massachusetts, with a focus on Mitsubishi ductless heating and cooling products. Today we’re talking about the 2023 Mass Save Air Source Heat Pump Rebates. Welcome, Victoria.
Victoria Scorzella: Thank you, John. I’m very excited to be here. Thanks for having me.
John: Absolutely. And as usual, we are also with our General Manager at N.E.T.R., Brett Rogenski. Welcome, Brett.
Brett Rogenski: Hey, John. Thank you for having me.
John: Sure. So, Victoria, we’ll start with you. Can you give me a little bit of an overview of the Mass Save Air Source Heat Pump Rebates program in 2023 and some ways that it might, maybe it differs from previous years?
Victoria: Okay, yeah, definitely. So, the Mass Save program is basically to incentivize customers to upgrade their heating and cooling systems, among some other things with electricity. So, starting in 2022 and enrolling over to 2023, there are two different rebate programs now.
So, there’s one called partial home rebate and one called the whole home rebate. So, these rebates actually have increased from prior years. So, when I first started in the H-V-A-C industry, the rebates were dependent on each condenser, so a higher capacity condenser had a higher rebate. Now it’s more generalized to the whole system.
The partial home rebate is based off of an integrated control, so you’re integrating your new heat pump system with your existing heating system in your home. And then we have the whole home rebate, which is for customers who are using the heat pump as their sole source of heat and stopping use of their existing heating system. So those are the two main rebates right now for air source heat pumps, partial home and whole home.
John: And Brett, what’s the difference there between that partial home and whole home?
Brett: Sure, that’s a great question, John. Whole home is exactly what it… Well, first of all, the Mass Save program and the rebates really, if you think about them, they’re about de-carbonization. So, it’s the elimination of fossil fuels as a heating source in your home, that’s what they’re rewarding.
So as Victoria stated before, they base it on the size of the condenser, how many BTUs. Now there’s one reward, a $10,000 rebate, as well as heat loans which we can talk about later, to have a whole home system. Which means we’re eliminating your fossil fuel heating source and replacing it with an air source heat pump, or heat pumps, that will provide all the heating and cooling in your entire home.
The second part, the partial home, is where you keep a fossil fuel heating system as well as the integrated controls, which are really important, and it relies on the air source heat pump to heat and cool your home to a certain temperature and then basically your older fossil fuel, say gas forced out air furnace, can kick in and become supplemental heat at low or very low temperatures or in partial spaces in your home. That of course has a smaller rebate, that’s actually based on per ton of heating.
John: Okay. Victoria, can you share some success stories maybe with some homeowners that you’ve talked to who have benefited from the program, either in terms of cost savings or maybe increased energy efficiency?
Victoria: Yeah, definitely. So, we have a lot of customers who really care about being greener, reducing their fossil fuel usage, so they have gas in their home, they want to go to electricity. So those customers have had a huge success and a large incentive given to them when they choose a whole home option. So they heat every room with the heat pump. So, definitely, we have a lot of those customers who would just want to be greener, reduce their fossil fuel usage, stuff like that.
John: What about people who are just looking to save some money on their energy bill? Maybe they have an oil burner or something like that in their house and they just want to try to save some money?
Victoria: Yeah, so that’s going to come into play with more of the cooling side. So, we’ve had some customers who have a window AC in every single room, and you know with window ACs, those are working a lot harder to keep the room cool. So, when you get the air source heat pump on the cooling side, they’re more efficient, so they’re going to save some money each month in the cooling season.
John: Right, okay. And how can homeowners determine if they qualify for these rebates?
Victoria: Yeah, so the qualification kind of starts with what equipment the Comfort Consultant will recommend to them, what will work best for their goals, what will work best for their home. So, there are certain pieces of equipment that qualify and that do not qualify.
So, usually we talk with the customer if they want to use Mass Save prior to recommending equipment, so we make sure we’re choosing equipment that qualifies. And then for the whole home and heat loan process, an energy audit is required and they kind of double confirm that they’ll qualify.
John: And who does that energy audit?
Victoria: So, there are many companies that partnered with Mass Save, so there’s probably around eight to 10 energy audit companies that work with Mass Save and anyone can do that audit.
Brett: One thing that we do that might be a little different than several companies is we approached the entire thing as a concierge service. So many heating and cooling companies say hey, here’s the Mass Save website, you can go choose a contractor, you know, they don’t want to be in the middle of that. We’ve kind of gone the other way. We want to be your partner in maximizing your Mass Save rebates and other benefits.
For instance, if you choose to work with us as far as when that Comfort Consultant is coming in and stuff, we actually partner with a company called Neeeco and we can actually even get your audit scheduled for you, submitted and scheduled. And you don’t have to do it, they’ll confirm it with you, but you can tell us, yeah, I want to have that audit done. And then we help you throughout the entire process whether it’s to achieve your goals, so if someone’s striving for a whole home rebate to help subsidize replacing the systems in their home, we’ll help design something that’ll meet all those qualifications.
And we also help you on the backside with paperwork for heat loans, and all the submission stuff that’s needed for Mass Save. So, we literally do everything that we’re legally allowed to do for you. There’s some stuff we can’t do for you, we’re not allowed to, but aside from that, we hold your hand through the entire process.
John: Yeah, Victoria, tell me a little bit more about that, in terms of homeowners getting started and taking advantage of the rebates, how can N.E.T.R. help them with that?
Victoria: Yeah, definitely. So, typically, it starts out with our consultation to figure out what the customer’s looking for, what their goals are, and that’s kind of when we start the process. So, if they’re interested in any Mass Save incentives, the rebate or the loan, that’s kind of when the process starts.
Either the customer or the comfort consultant will let me know that they need an audit, and I initiate that process with Neeeco, the Home Energy Assessment Company, and then they kind of keep us updated throughout. So usually they can get them, Neeeco can get an energy audit within the next few weeks, and then that’s when the loan process starts. So, I kind of help them through that process and it’s initiated at the consultation.
John: Do you feel like the Mass Save Air Source Heat Pump Rebate program encourages people to install heat pump technology in their home and that it’s really helping in the industry to increase the broader adoption of heat pump technology?
Victoria: Definitely. So, I think the incentives definitely encourage people to take a closer look at it and then once they kind of talk with the professional, they kind of can see all of the perks of it and all the positive things that the heat pumps can do.
John: Any thoughts, Brett, on that and what you’re seeing in the industry in general and whether or not these air source heat pumps are being more broadly accepted in people’s homes?
Brett: Yeah, I absolutely think they are, and I think that Mass Save’s rebate program as well as the HEAT loan program, which helps finance the rest of that at zero interest for up to 84 months, I think that those things have really driven consumer interest to learn more.
Heat pumps have changed a lot in the years, and I think maybe there are some old preconceived notions out there that are inaccurate and now people are saying, okay, wow, this is a great way for me to update my home and a really financially viable way for me to update my H-V-A-C system in my home and they are finding out more about that. The other thing, you talk about adoption out there, is there’s a lot of good companies out there, but you really want to choose your partners carefully. So, we talked about some of our partners that we choose for home audits.
We even have a couple of banks that we partner with to help you with the heat loan process, and you’re welcome to use any relationship you have, but if you don’t know where to start, we have some great options for you. You really need to be careful in choosing a partner who’s going to do your whole home or your partial home heat pump, because not all contractors are made equal. We’ve been doing this for 35 years.
We’re one of the earliest adopters of heat pumps in the Northeast, and now with these large rebates out there, it seems like every contractor wants to portray himself as, oh, I’m a heat pump expert. When in reality, maybe, they just adopted it because now there’s a lot of incentives out there from the state. But it’s really driven a lot of interest in heat pumps, a lot of adoption, and people are learning that, wow, this is a really great way to heat and cool my home, to be more comfortable, to do it in a financially viable way. And most importantly to be super comfortable. It’s a great way to live in your home.
John: Absolutely. All right, well that’s really great information, Victoria Scorzella, thanks again for joining me today.
Victoria: Thank you.
John: And as always, Brett Rogenski, thanks for joining me.
Brett: Thanks, John.
John: And for more information on Air Source Heat Pump Technology, visit the website at netrinc.com or call 781-933-NETR. That’s 781-933-6387.