Recognition and Press


2020 APA Excellence in Sustainability; awarded to HEET for the GeoMicro District Feasibility Study

HEET’s 2020 APA Award

In The News

Can gas utilities survive the energy transition? Massachusetts is going to find out.
Grist Magazine, Nov. 4, 2020

Magavi and Schulman are the masterminds behind a particularly innovative solution to decarbonize the gas system that they believe will benefit utility companies and customers. 

2 years since gas disaster hit region
The Eagle-Tribune, Sept. 12, 2020

Zeyneb Magavi of HEET, the Home Energy Efficiency Team, explained “we want to move communities away from gas,” therefore silencing concerns of another gas explosion.

An option, according to Magavi, is ground source heat pumps.

Sustainable Energy, Sustainable Somerville
The Somerville Times, Aug. 19, 2020

In a virtual meeting per state orders, the Somerville Commission for Energy Use and Climate Change (CEUCC) met on Wednesday, August 12, to discuss plans for a more sustainable future, and all the steps in between.

The co-executive directors, Zeyneb Magavi and Audrey Schulman, presented plans for a microdistrict with the intention to cut carbon emissions and reduce fracking.

The Natural Gas Divide
Grist Magazine, Jul. 15, 2020

Geothermal heating systems can also be made more efficient by linking multiple buildings to the same pipe system… Schulman and Magavi from HEET argue that these systems could be connected at a much larger scale. They have studied the potential for gas utilities to transition into networked geothermal companies that oversee a “thermal grid.”

Massachusetts Moves to Follow California, New York in Planning for Natural Gas Phaseout
Greentech Media, June 22, 2020

“Gas companies in Massachusetts are not historically allowed to innovate, and they’re not allowed to deliver anything other than gas to their customers,” Schulman said in an interview. “And so, they are unable to change. Because they have to replace the infrastructure now for safety, they are installing at incredible cost a technology the was cutting edge in the 1800s.”

Overheard at 166th NE Electricity Roundtable
RTO Insider, June 16, 2020

HEET is proposing a new way to heat buildings where old gas pipe is dug up, through the “Geo-Micro-District,” an ambient temperature, shared-water loop connecting many customers for both heating and cooling.

“Some of the gas pipelines in Boston date to the Civil War. … Is this the infrastructure we want for the coming century?” Magavi said.

Geothermal Microdistricts & the FUTURE: A renewable alternative to gas heating
Take Back The Grid, April 4, 2020

High profile disasters like the Merrimack Valley gas explosions are leading to increased skepticism about the safety of natural gas distribution systems. The number of leaks in the Greater Boston area should also be cause for alarm. Some of these have been open for decades. On top of this, gas and other fossil fuel fired home heating and cooling accounts for 60% of a building’s annual carbon emissions, so it should come as no surprise that some forward-thinking municipalities have been searching for alternatives to fossil fuel heating systems.

A Study Advocates for a Utility-scale Approach to Replace Existing Gas Lines with Ground-source Heat Pumps
Retrofit Magazine, May 4, 2020GeoMicroDistrict schematic and close up

The leading building retrofit magazine posts an explanation of the problem of leaking gas pipes and the GeoMicroDistrict solution.

GeoMicroDistricts are ground-source heat pumps arranged in a closed vertical system that could be installed in a single row along an existing utility corridor. Vertical boreholes and service connections could be located between existing infrastructure.

Climate change front and center at League of Women Voters forum
The Boston Globe, March 9, 2020

The panel brought together state Senator Cynthia Creem, Audrey Schulman and Zeyneb Magavi of HEET (Home Energy Efficiency Team), Jordan Stutt of the Acadia Center, and Craig Altemose of the Better Future Project to discuss climate science and the potential of regional transportation and energy improvements in Massachusetts and nationwide.

Geothermal heating district could rise in Mattapan
The Boston Globe, Feb. 11, 2020

City officials say they’re backing the project because it would further Boston’s “commitment to climate action.” They see its potential to become a model for other micro-district heating systems, a success story that could be replicated elsewhere…

Joseph Savage, Welch’s project manager, said his team is working with the Cambridge nonprofit HEET to flesh out the geothermal proposal.” 

The $9 Billion Question: Stranded Assets or GeoMicroDistricts?
PHCP Pros, Feb. 3, 2020

Due to the hard work and unyielding efforts of groups such as the Home Energy Efficient Team (HEET), Mothers Out Front and the Gas Leaks Allies, Massachusetts legislators understand that the state’s aging natural gas pipelines are leaking methane, adding to the challenges of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions…”

Pipes or Wires?
Rocky Mountain Institute, Jan. 23, 2020

Perhaps this is the time for gas companies to explore a new business model, one with a promising future for both the companies and the planet. A business model where the companies deliver renewable heating and cooling to homes and businesses along every street, allowing customers a choice in our renewables from both wires and pipes.”

How a Climate Change Nonprofit Got Eversource Thinking About a Geothermal Future
Earthwhile, Jan. 13, 2020

“The idea is that a gas utility takes out its leaky gas pipe and, instead of putting in new gas pipe, we put in a hot water loop,” Magavi said. “If we’re going to invest in infrastructure, let’s invest in infrastructure for the next century. Let’s not invest in infrastructure that was hot in 1850.”

HEET commissioned a study to investigate if there were a way to make geothermal energy appealing to both utilities and environmentalists.

MA Attorney General Maura Healey congratulates HEET on the Large Volume Leak study.

Legislature Deals with Gas Leaks
The Boston Guardian, Jul. 2018

An amendment in the Massachusetts House seeks to increase cooperation between gas companies and advocacy groups hoping to reduce the impacts of leaked natural gas. Adopted into House bill 4739 on Thursday, July 12, the amendment has less than three weeks to be reconciled with a similar amendment in the Senate before the end of the formal session on July 31.

In An Unlikely Partnership, Local Environmentalists And Utilities Work Together To Reduce Gas Leaks
WGBH radio, Nov., 2017

On a quiet road in Lexington, Jason Taylor held a device that looked like a stick with a suction cup at the end, and slowly waved it low over the ground like a metal detector at the beach. But what he was looking for is a natural gas leak. “So it starts somewhere around here,” he said as the device started to beep. He put it in a hole in the dirt lane and the numbers on the detector started climbing.

There’s a New Tool in the Fight to Seal the State’s Gas Leaks
Boston Globe, Oct. 2017

The gas companies still must prove that they will actually use the findings of the FluxBar to patch their larger leaks. ““My hope is that the FluxBar will make it possible to reduce the problem, at the least cost and disruption,”,” said Audrey Schulman, president of HEET, a Cambridge nonprofit that helped develop the device.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Cambridge Mayor David Maher cut the ribbon for the HEET solar installation on North Bennet St. School.

Council Ordinance Works to Eliminate Gas Leaks in Boston
Beacon Hill Times, Jan. 2017

Home Energy Efficiency Team (HEET) and Boston University scientists will be working with Columbia Gas and Eversource over the next six months to study the best methodologies to find super-emitters. Audrey Schulman, the president of HEET, said currently utilities have no friendly grading system that measures high volume gas leaks based on environmental impacts and not safety.

National Grid's past Mass. President Marcy Reed speaks with HEET's Debbie New about HEET's Large Volume Leak study.

National Grid’s former MA President Marcy Reed speaks with HEET’s Debbie New about HEET’s Large Volume Leak study

Senator Warren Praises HEET
South Coast Today, Nov. 2016

“Thanks to data collected by the Home Energy Efficiency Team, we know that in 2015 there were over 1,400 unrepaired natural gas leaks in Boston, over 400 in Weymouth, and over 500 in Springfield. Across the Commonwealth, a whopping 15,000 leaks still require repair, and many have been leaking for decades.” —Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Advocates hold birthday party for 30-year-old gas leak
Boston Globe, Sept. 2015

Birthday party for a 30-year-old gas leak

The celebration in Boston on Wednesday featured all the party favors you could hope for on your special day: balloons, glittery cone hats, and a vanilla-frosted cake topped with sugary decorations

But not a match to light the candles for the cake was in sight.

“It’s been there since the Bee Gees,” said Audrey Schulman, president of the Home Energy Efficiency Team, or HEET, a nonprofit based in Cambridge. “That’s a long, long, time ago. And that’s unfair… It’s bad for health, it’s bad for trees, it’s bad for the planet,” said Schulman. “And it’s bad for our wallets.” 

Op-Ed Articles

HEET surveyed gas leaks along Route 9 in Brookline.

The Case for Beneficial Electrification: PHCP Pros – 7/2020
Gas leaks continue to spark uproar among residents: The Boston Sun – 8/2016
Utilities should be on the hook for cost of leaks: Boston Globe – 61/2016
State’s natural gas system is moving in the right direction: Boston Globe – 6/2016
20,000 Gas Leaks Cost Consumers And Speed Climate Change: WGBH – 5/2016
Natural gas leaks in region need to be addressed: Guest viewpoint: MassLive – 5/2016
We don’t need Kinder Morgan’s pipeline: Commonwealth – 9/2015
Gas leaks worsen health in cities: Boston Globe – 8/2015
No gas line expansion till repairs are made: Cape Cod Times – 8/2015
More must be done to protect environment, ratepayers: Boston Globe – 8/2015
Fix leaks before building new pipelines: Boston Globe – 8/2015
Pipeline caution best course of action: Boston Globe – 8/2015

Gas Leak Articles

Dorchester utility-reported gas leaks

Report cites slow progress fixing gas leaks: The Salem News – 6/2020
Thousands of gas leaks plagues Massachusetts in 2018, new DPU report says: Boston Herald – 1/2020
Gas Leaks Continue to Spark Uproar Among Residents: Beacon Hill Times – 8/2016
Tens of thousands of gas leaks across the state: WCVB-TV Boston – 8/2016
New pipe could help curb gas leaks: Commonwealth – 7/2016
City councilors propose ordinance to fix Boston’s gas leaks: Fox25 – 7/2016
Legislation may force utilities to fix gas leaks quicker: Boston Globe – 6/2016
Boston City Councilor Proposes Crack Down on Utility Companies: NECN – 6/2016
Missing gas leaks raising questions: Boston Globe – 6/2016
Utilities under pressure to fix leaky pipes: Jacksonville Progress – 12/2015
Gas leak survey seeks to improve communication, expedite repairs: WickedLocal Westwood – 12/2015

Dozens of unrepaired gas leaks in town: EnergySolutions – 11/2015
The Environmental Impact of Natural Gas Leaks: CommTank – 9/2015
Cry at Council hearing: Let’s deal with gas leaks in city – right now: Dorchester Reporter – 9/2015
Natural Gas Leaks Plaguing the U.S.: Viable Climate – 9/2015

Gas leaks in Somerville, MA as found using a Picarro high precision natural gas analyzer.

Hundreds of natural gas leaks found in Attleboro area:ABC6 WLNE-TV – 8/2015
Mapping the Invisible: To Find Your Local Natural Gas Leak, Just Zoom In: Inside Climate News – 8/2015
Project reveals 20,000 leaks in Mass. gas lines Boston Globe – 8/2015
Statewide Analysis Uncovers Leaky Mass. Gas Lines: Radio Boston – 8/2015
Hidden danger, cost of gas leaks in Massachusetts: WCVB-TV Boston – 8/2015
Survey finds over 200 natural gas leaks in Attleboro area: Sun Chronicle – 8/2015
Decades-old pipelines leak natural gas across MA: WWLP-22News – 8/2015
Report: Massachusetts riddled with natural gas leaks: Boston Herald – 8/2015
Report: Massachusetts riddled with natural gas leaks FuelFix– 8/2015
20k gas leaks in Mass., report finds: Fox 25 – 8/2015
Thousands of natural gas leaks in state go unrepaired: Enterprise News – 8/2015
Thousands of natural gas leaks in state go unrepaired: Patriot Ledger – 8/2015
Thousands of Mass. gas leaks poison environment, kill trees: The Washington Times – 8/2015

Local Features

HEET helped First Parish Church in Arlington get solar.

Andover: Andover Patch – 8/2015
Arlington: Arlington Patch – 8/2015
Attleboro: ABC6 WLNE-TV – 8/2015
Belmont: Belmont Patch – 8/2015
Beverly: Beverly Patch –8/2015
Boston: North End Patch –8/2015
Boston: South End Patch – 8/2015
Brockton: The Enterprise – 7/12/2016
Brookline: WickedLocal Brookline – 8/2016
Burlington: Burlington Patch –8/2015
Cambridge: WickedLocal Cambridge – 5/2016
Canton: Canton Patch – 8/2015
Charlestown: Charlestown Patch –8/2015
Cohasset: WickedLocal Cohasset – 12/2015
Falmouth: The Falmouth Enterprise – 8/2015

Rev. Mariama White-Hammond at the MIT summit on HEET’s Large Volume Gas Leaks Study

Foxborough: Foxborough Patch – 8/2015
Lexington: WickedLocal Lexington – 8/2015
Lexington: Lexington Patch – 8/2015
Marblehead: Marblehead Patch –8/2015
Marion. Mattapoisset: Sippican VillageSoup – 8/2015
Medford: Medford Patch – 8/2015
Medford: Inside Medford – 8/2015
Milford: Milford Patch – 8/2015
Milton: Milton Patch – 8/2015
Natick: Natick Patch – 8/2015
Needham: Needham Patch – 8/2015
Newton: Newton Patch – 8/2015
Sharon: Sharon Patch – 8/2015
Somerville: Somerville Patch – 8/2015
Stoughton: Stoughton Patch – 8/2015

Soil samples were taken during HEET’s Large Volume Leak Study to learn how soil density affects gas migration.

Swampscott: WickedLocal Swampscott – 9/2015
Tewksbury: Tewksbury Patch – 8/2015
Wakefield: Wakefield Patch – 8/2015
Watertown: WickedLocal Watertown – 9/2015
Wayland: Wayland Patch – 8/2015
Wayland & Weston: WickedLocal Wayland – 9/2015
Weymouth: Weymouth Patch – 8/2015
Wilmington: Wilmington Patch – 8/2015
Winchester: Winchester Patch – 8/2015
West Roxbury: West Roxbury Patch – 8/2015
Woburn: Woburn Patch – 8/2015
Worcester: Worcester Telegram – 8/2015
Worcester: Worcester Telegram – 5/2016
Worcester: Worcester Business Journal – 5/2016

HEET helped North Bennet St School get solar.