BOSTON, MA (June 13, 2023) – The Boston Green Ribbon Commission (GRC), an advisory group of civic and business leaders who work to advance the City’s climate resilience and mitigation strategies, today applauded the Commonwealth and the City of Boston on the launch of the Massachusetts Community Climate Bank. The Climate Bank will be an innovative financing initiative that will support local efforts to drive the retrofitting and decarbonizing of Massachusetts buildings, with a focus on those in environmental justice communities.
Announced today by Governor Maura Healey, the Massachusetts Community Climate Bank is designed to attract private sector capital and federal funds to finance building retrofits. Initially, the bank will focus on the affordable housing market, where residents bear a disproportionate burden in energy costs and climate impacts, to meet the needs of environmental justice populations. Over time, the bank will diversify investments to include other decarbonization measures that benefit communities.
Beginning in June of 2021, the City of Boston and the GRC began working to design and create a business plan for a specialty finance entity whose mission would be to stimulate investments in buildings that need energy efficiency retrofits and assistance transitioning to sources of clean energy. Funded by the Bank of America Foundation, the work is built upon market research that the City had conducted previously. As the business plan work progressed, the GRC and City were joined by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), which brought additional funding and a connection to the Commonwealth.
The Climate Bank, which will be under the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities in collaboration with MassCEC and MassDevelopment, is designed to address multiple building segments, with an initial prioritization of multi-family affordable housing.
“We are delighted to see Governor Healey lead the nation to create the first state climate bank to focus specifically on strengthening communities, by acting decisively and across multiple agencies,” said Amy Longsworth, Executive Director of the Boston Green Ribbon Commission (GRC). This important financing body, which gets under way with initial funding, a solid business plan and additional prospective funds from the federal Inflation Reduction Act, will catalyze additional investment, create jobs, and reduce carbon in Boston and across the Commonwealth.”
“We cannot manage the climate crisis without significant and nuanced investments from the public sector that enable the flow of private capital,” added Longsworth. “The Climate Bank is an essential piece of the puzzle as we strategically implement specific projects, building by building and street by street.”
The Climate Bank responds to the urgent need to decarbonize the Commonwealth’s building stock in order to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets of 50% by 2030 and net zero by 2050.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has committed $50 million of launch capital to help establish the Climate Bank. This funding will support staffing and finance product development, as well as support resources to develop the legal structure for a Climate Bank and pursue federal funding.
The Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC) was established in 2023 to create more homes and lower housing costs in every region. EOHLC also distributes funding to municipalities and oversees the state-aided public housing portfolio. Initially, Climate Bank funds will target multi-family affordable housing, small and medium sized commercial and non-profit buildings.
The federal Inflation Reduction Act includes $27 billion in funding for different forms of climate financing. One of the first goals of the Climate Bank will be to develop and submit to the EPA a competitive application for IRA funding. The Climate Bank will have a strong focus on Environmental Justice communities and will seek to advance decarbonization of the affordable housing sector that is a high priority to Cities such as Boston.
In addition, the Climate Bank will target for investment the deployment of innovative technologies in the areas of energy efficiency, high-performance / passive house new construction, electrification of HVAC systems, solar PV and community solar, and energy storage.
About the Boston Green Ribbon Commission
The mission of the Green Ribbon Commission is to accelerate the implementation of the City’s Climate Action Plan by convening, organizing, and enabling leaders from Boston’s key sectors. The City of Boston is committed to achieving net zero carbon energy sources by 2050, even as the city grows. The GRC provides a forum for representatives of the private sector and the City to discuss, plan and act on the opportunities, challenges, ideas, and requirements of preparing Boston to meet the imperatives of climate change. To learn more, visit www.greenribboncommission.org or follow us on Twitter.