New BE+ Report Shows that Massachusetts is Going Net Zero
Highly efficient, all-electric buildings near 50 million GSF

The known square footage of Net Zero and Net Zero Ready buildings in Massachusetts has grown nearly six times in just three years, according to the Spring 2024 update to our MA is Ready for Net Zero report. Continued data collection since 2021 increased the total of Net Zero or Net Zero Ready Projects included in the analysis from 7.2 million GSF to 48.4 million GSF. It is clear from this analysis that Massachusetts is not just Ready for Net Zero, as the first three reports were named, Massachusetts is now Going Net Zero.

The landscape has changed dramatically since BE+ issued its initial report in February 2021. Massachusetts updated its State Building Code in March 2021 to include the new Municipal Opt-in Specialized Stretch Energy Code, which requires new construction and major renovations to be more energy efficient. As of 2024, 34 communities representing over 26 percent of the state’s population have now adopted it. Boston and Cambridge finalized their existing building emissions ordinances, and 10 communities are piloting fossil fuel bans for new construction.

Most recently, BE+ launched BE+ CONNECTS with support from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC). This new directory of high-performance building professionals connected to their companies and to their projects demonstrates that a given company’s expertise is in its people and is proven through its completed and in-progress projects. Data collection for this report is now done through BE+ CONNECTS, where the majority of the projects and companies in the report are listed. This evolution makes most of the data for this report publicly available for the first time.

“MassCEC is proud to support BE+ CONNECTS and is pleased to see it employed in data collection for the 2024 MA is Going Net Zero Report,” said Beverly Craig, Program Director of MassCEC’s Building Decarbonization team. “BE+ CONNECTS enables building owners, managers, and developers to connect with high performance building professionals and their projects in a live online database, facilitating an increase in net zero buildings by addressing the pressing need to find experts to meet new building energy codes and new building emissions performance standards, and the need for continued growth of net zero buildings. MassCEC also applauds the Going Net Zero Report. It is an invaluable resource in demonstrating that net zero buildings are not only feasible in MA today but are growing in their market share across building sectors.”

“Successful, net zero new construction is here,” said Eversource Manager, New Construction Energy Efficiency Kim Cullinane. “Together with our fellow Mass Save® Sponsors, Eversource is excited to partner with many of the people and projects listed in BE+ CONNECTS, as they are driving net zero initiatives across Massachusetts. Between the experts in the field, resources like those offered by BE+ and MassCEC, and our own incentive programs and pathways, there has never been a better time to build net zero. Our cleaner, greener future is no longer a thing of tomorrow; in new construction, it’s here today.”

“It’s clear from the analysis that we have the expertise and technology to build and retrofit Net Zero buildings, often without any cost premium,” said Meredith Elbaum, Executive Director of BE+. “It’s also clear that increasing commitments from municipal, state, and federal governments, as well as utilities and other stakeholders, are driving market transformation. What’s less clear is how we finance, build, and retrofit green buildings for all people. Thankfully we’re moving in that direction. It’s now safe to say Massachusetts is Going Net Zero.”

Highlights from the updated report include:

The Net Zero and Net Zero Ready building stock in Massachusetts exceeds 48.4 million square feet and is growing rapidly.
• Of the 13.1 million GSF with reported cost data, 80 percent reported <1 percent construction cost premium to achieve Net Zero Ready.
Multi-family and affordable housing’s combined 15.3 Million GSF are leading the way for Net Zero development in Massachusetts, employing heat pumps and on-site renewables to reach their Net Zero targets. Lab / Tech / Science grew substantially, by nearly 50 percent, in 2024 to 13.7 Million GSF, making up the majority of the found Net Zero Ready space.
Affordable Housing makes up 40 percent of all residential Net Zero and Net Zero Ready square footage.
All projects rely on heat pumps as the primary source of heat. The majority of building types utilize air-source heat pumps, with the exception of K-12 which more often use ground-source heat pumps. Net Zero buildings also procure on-site and/or off-site renewable energy to offset 100 percent of consumption on a net annual basis.
Over twice as many projects since 2023 have reported the use of electricity for domestic hot water with a total of 28.2 million GSF.
There are 319 companies working to make Net Zero buildings the standard in MA. Many of the companies can be found in BE+ CONNECTS.

About Mass Save®
Mass Save® is a collaborative of Massachusetts’ electric and natural gas utilities and energy efficiency service providers including Berkshire Gas, Cape Light Compact, Eversource, Liberty, National Grid, and Unitil. We empower residents, businesses, and communities to make energy efficient upgrades by offering a wide range of services, rebates, incentives, trainings, and information.

About the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC)
MassCEC is a state economic development agency dedicated to accelerating the growth of the clean energy and climatetech sector across the Commonwealth to spur job creation, deliver statewide environmental benefits, and secure long-term economic opportunities for the people of Massachusetts.

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