“Historically, super-tall buildings have focused on structural challenges . . .
The rules have changed,
and energy has become the defining problem for our generation.” —Scott Duncan of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
The challenges, solutions, and opportunity exist for Boston to pivot now from its fossil-fueled past and lead the transition to clean energy; this means moving our building designs into the 21st century through a relentless focus on efficiency and cost-effective switches from gas and other fossil fuels to clean, electricity-based heating/cooling. The Boston Clean Energy Coalition (BCEC) brings together member organizations and allies in the shared commitment to accelerate this shift away from natural-gas–driven energy in Boston’s buildings and toward construction fueled by renewables. Meeting this goal requires collaboration among all of Boston’s sectors: developers, elected officials, labor, investors, utilities, neighborhoods, faith-based groups, academia, environmentalists, and others. By providing an organizing space that fosters this process and promotes this collaboration, BCEC looks to spur innovative and transformational public policy that unwaveringly focuses on a green and clean future.
On April 5, 2023, the Boston City Council voted 8–4 (Councilor Breadon was absent) to adopt the state’s Specialized Code, pursuant to the filing of an ordinance Mayor Wu. The Mayor signed the ordinance the following week. Previously, six other communities (Brookline, Cambridge, Lexington, Lincoln, Newton, and Watertown) had voted unanimously or near-unanimously to adopt the code, and approximately 24 more towns and cities are expected to pass the Specialized Code in the coming months. As of Boston’s vote, 16% of the state’s population has opted in. The Specialized Code encourages all-electric new construction by requiring new buildings and major renovations to be all-electric ready. It also advances energy efficiency.
On Feb. 3, 2023, the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) issued an Adequacy Determination that disapproves the 990 American Legion development proposal as currently designed. As a conditional disapproval, the developer now has the option of significantly modifying their proposal to address the issues spelled out in the disapproval.
To save on your electricity bill, join Boston Community Choice Energy (BCCE), where all three tier rates are lower than Eversource’s Basic rate, guaranteed through December 2023. This includes if you opt up to 100% renewable electricity! Sign up for BCCE now and/or opt up for 100% renewables; it takes only seconds on the City’s website here.
Whenever we talk to neighborhood associations or developers or others about building proposals and advocate for all-electric net-zero-carbon construction, everyone’s first question is always, “How much extra will it cost?” This important and highly anticipated report just released from the Massachusetts chapter of the US Green Building Council (USGBC) finds that zero energy buildings are a great investment and are less expensive than stakeholders have previously assumed.