In 2021, when Massachusetts attorney Mike Pineault wanted ed to replace his oil-fired boiler with a carbon-cutting heat pump, he sought advice from ‘heat pump coach’ Steve Breit. A retired engineer, Breit co-founded the volunteer HeatSmart Alliance which has helped 250 residents and grown to 21 coaches (including Pineault) since 2020. Coaches help their neighbors understand the climate and financial benefits of heat pumps, how they work, what incentives owners can get, and how to check that a system will actually meet their home’s heating and cooling needs. Interest in developing local coaching programs in eastern Massachusetts has taken off, Breit said, both volunteer-run and run by consultancies like Abode Energy Management, which has taught 76 individuals in 20 towns. Some coaches also are helping neighbors -- in particular, lower-income families, renters and property owners -- access home electrification and efficiency savings.

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