In this podcast, Victoria Scorzella and Brett Rogenski talk with John Maher about loans to buy ductless air pumps. They explain how Mass Save HEAT loans can help homeowners upgrade their home’s comfort and efficiency.
John Maher: Hi, I am John Maher. 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 ductless heating and cooling products. And today we’re talking about the 2023 Mass Save HEAT Loan Program. Welcome, Victoria.
Victoria Scorzella: Thank you for having me, John.
John: Sure. And as always, we’re here with the general manager of N.E.T.R., Brett Rogenski. Welcome, Brett.
Brett Rogenski: Thanks, John. I appreciate you having me.
John: Sure. And Victoria, why don’t you give us a little bit of an overview of the Mass Save HEAT Loan Program for 2023 and what are some of the key features and objectives of the program?
Victoria: Yeah, sure. So, the Mass Save HEAT Loan Program is a program for anyone who’s installing eligible equipment to use their HEAT Loan. That’s 0% for seven years, 84 months. So yeah, that just gives customers, if they’re not expecting to have to purchase a new system, stuff like that, it gives them an easier way to be able to afford that.
It’s a great program. And recently, so typically it’s up to $25,000 they let you loan, but recently starting this year in 2023, they’ve increased that to $50,000 that they let eligible customers loan up to. So that was a great thing to hear that they increased that.
John: And it’s for how many months, the loan?
Victoria: 84 months.
John: 84 months, great.
John: So, you mentioned eligibility. Can you talk a little bit more about that and who’s eligible for a Mass Save HEAT Loan? And are there certain requirements? You said there’s certain equipment that is eligible as well. Are there other requirements as well that need to be met in order to qualify for the loan?
Victoria: Yeah, sure. So, there are quite a few requirements to be eligible for the Mass Save HEAT Loan. So first off, you need to pay into the Mass Save program. So, you need to be an Eversource, National Grid, some others — Unitil, Liberty. So, you have to be a Mass Save customer to qualify. Your equipment that you’re getting installed also needs to qualify.
Basically, we like to say it as, if it’s rebate-able, it’s financeable. So, if the system gets a rebate, then you’re able to finance it. So those are some initial qualifications. And then another requirement to be eligible for the Mass Save HEAT Loan is to have an energy audit. So, you need an energy audit to qualify also for the Mass Save HEAT Loan, and that’s where you would get all the paperwork from the energy audit as well.
John: Okay. Brett, can you tell me a little bit more about the energy audit and how that works?
Brett: Sure. The energy audits are a service provided. We don’t provide energy audits, but we work with partners to help provide those for you. So, we can work with you as a concierge to get you to the folks who can do that. And they come in and they evaluate essentially the energy efficiency of your home.
Most of what they do cost the homeowner nothing. So, air sealing, which is basically sealing of air gaps in doors and other things, that is free, that is 100. So, if you need air sealing in your home, that is going to be 100% covered by Mass Save through the energy audit company.
The second is they evaluate your insulation is the biggest way. It’s more complex than that, but ultimately they say, “Hey, how well insulated is this house?” And because what they don’t want to do is invest in new equipment and rebates and low interest, no interest loans when you still have a leaky inefficient house.
So, to qualify, they seal the air gaps. If you qualify or need additional insulation, they do the insulating. And on average, 80% of the cost of that insulating is absorbed by Mass Save. So, on a $10,000 insulation job, which would be giant, that’s way too big and that sort of thing. Here’s a better number, probably a $5,000 insulation job, 4,000 of it would be paid by Mass Save.
The cost of the consumer would only be a thousand, which is going to come back to you in energy savings of course, because you’re not leaking heating and cooling out of your home. So, their job is to help make that home as efficient as it can be within the parameters of the home before then letting people proceed to invest in additional new equipment, more efficient equipment, help decarbonize their home, or at least have a smaller carbon footprint in there.
John: Okay. Victoria, what’s the process for applying for a Mass Save HEAT Loan? Can N.E.T.R. help with that?
Victoria: Yeah, definitely. So, the first step to applying for the Mass Save HEAT Loan is having that energy audit. So, after that energy audit, that’s where the customer is going to receive the HEAT Loan Intake Form, which is a piece of paperwork. So once the customer receives that, I can walk them through it.
Unfortunately, I can’t do it for them, but I walk them through the HEAT Loan authorization process. So that is all done online. What you do is you have to upload the HEAT Loan Intake Form and the contractor proposal. That states all the equipment. And then basically what happens that is Mass Save makes sure that all the equipment is eligible and they give you a HEAT Loan Authorization.
Typically, once customers get that HEAT Loan Authorization within a few days after submitting that application. Then they update me and I give them some recommendations on some banks to go to. Mass Save does work with certain banks and they have that list online under Qualified Lenders. So there are some lenders that are still doing that $25,000, but there are a small chunk of lenders that are going up to that $50,000 loan like I mentioned earlier. So, typically, I help them figure out a bank to go to, and then they get in touch with the bank and work with them on securing the loan.
John: Okay, interesting. Can you share some success stories maybe with customers that you’ve talked to and helped along that process who have participated in the Mass Save HEAT Loan process?
Victoria: Yeah, definitely. So, we actually have, the majority of our customers use a Mass Save HEAT Loan, but the ones that pop out to me are the ones who maybe aren’t expecting to have to maybe replace their system or aren’t expecting to get a new heating or cooling system.
So, helping them through that process with this large cost that they weren’t really expecting and having them get the Mass Save HEAT Loan 0% for seven years where they can make affordable monthly payments, those are the best for me to help them through that.
John: And Brett, any final thoughts on the Mass Save HEAT Loan Program and how it helps your customers to be able to afford replacing their system?
Brett: Sure. I mean, I think it’s a tremendous program. I mean, let’s just look at it on its face, seven years of 0%, where do you get that? So, first of all, so that’s a tremendous program, as Victoria said, to help make those upgrades more affordable.
And then, the second part is, again, when you work with N.E.T.R., we work really hard to be that concierge between you and Mass Save, and you and that HEAT Loan Program. So, some folks just don’t know where to begin and you want to work with a contractor who’s going to take you by the hand if that’s what you want and need, and lead you down that path.
We actually work directly with a couple of the banks where rather than just sending you to a website and saying, “Hey, go choose a bank. I hope it all works out. Tell me when you’re done.” We’ll actually connect you directly with some individuals that we work with regularly. So you can actually have a person to call and they can help you through the process as well as the help that we provide you.
But I think it’s a tremendous program. And if you think about, you’re winning twice, you’re getting seven years of 0% interest financing, plus, because there is qualifying equipment that goes in the home, it’s going to be… You’re actually winning three times, 0% for seven years, The equipment that’s going in is going to be probably significantly more efficient than the equipment that you’re removing, and then the third thing is you’re going to have a professional come in and provide additional insulation and air sealing for you if it’s needed.
Again, at probably 80% of that being absorbed by Mass Save. So, you’re getting a tighter insulated house, you’re getting more efficient equipment, and you’re getting seven years 0% financing. It’s really a tremendous program and usually the biggest thing people need is a little bit of help on, how do I navigate this? And that’s where we try and stand out in the field.
John: Right, absolutely. All right. Well, that’s really great information. Victoria Scorzella, thanks again for joining us today.
Victoria: Thank you for having me.
John: And as always, Brett Rogenski, General Manager of N.E.T.R., thanks for joining me as well.
Brett: Thanks so much, John.
John: And for more information, you can visit the N.E.T.R. website at netrinc.com or call 781-933-NETR, that’s 781-933-6387.