Take Action for the Future of Net-Zero Buildings

Last year the Legislature overrode Governor Baker's veto to pass the 2050 Climate Roadmap Law to require our state's greenhouse gas emissions be at least 85% lower than 1990 levels by 2050, with additional strategies to achieve an overall net zero performance standard by the middle of this century.

One of the key elements of the new law — and one of the areas of greatest contention between the legislature and climate advocates on the one hand and the Baker Administration and the real estate industry on the other hand, is a new net-zero stretch energy code.

The Baker Administration must come up with a new, "specialized stretch energy code" that cities like Cambridge and Somerville could choose to opt-in to for the sake of limiting the use of systems that require fossil fuels in new construction. DOER has now produced a draft, "straw version" of the specialized code — but climate advocates feel strongly that more needs to be done to ensure the final draft gives us a chance to meet our emissions reductions goals.

On the subject of the pending building code, Rep Connolly hosted a virtual teach-in on March 1st, with Cambridge City Councilor Quinton Zondervan, Mothers Out Front organizer Sharon deVos, Environment Massachusetts Director Ben Hellerstein, and cleantech design engineer Melissa Rath.

Panelists reviewed efforts made to advance the City of Cambridge's Net Zero Action Plan, and explained why strong administrative action on the state level is now needed to give our emissions reductions plans a fighting chance. We heard from leading advocates and subject matter experts about what we are hoping to see in the final draft of the energy code, and most importantly, we provided attendees with materials and content that they can use in the ongoing public comment process.

You can view a recording of the webinar below and if you would like more information on how to participate in public comment before the March 9 deadline, click here. And don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.