On August 10, 2022, Governor Charlie Baker signed a clean energy and climate bill to help the state reach the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. The bill included a pilot program to allow ten cities and towns to restrict or prohibit the use of fossil fuels in most construction or major renovation projects. The proposal was signed amid opposition by labor unions, utility companies, real estate and housing organizations that the program could slow housing production.
The climate bill doesn’t dictate which 10 communities will participate in the study. The Department of Energy Resources will oversee the program and decide which communities participate based on the following criteria:
Received local approval, and has:
- Achieved the 10% threshold on the subsidized housing inventory under Chapter 40B or have a Housing Production Plan approved by the Department of Housing and Community Development; or
- Has approved a zoning ordinance or by-law that provides for at least 1 district of reasonable size in which multi-family housing is permitted
Ten cities and towns have already secured local approval and have submitted home rule petitions: Cambridge, Newton, Brookline, Lexington, Arlington, Concord, Lincoln, Acton, Aquinnah, and West Tisbury. Other towns and cities can still apply and have 18 months from the effective date of the new law (July 31, 2022) to achieve compliance with these requirements in order to participate in the project.
We at Greenstamp are very aware of this law change. The new law means that new construction and renovation project in the selected towns will need to go all electric. That being said, going all electric heating and cooling will require that these homes and buildings must use the best insulation possible. Building better and tighter homes will reduce the home’s energy use and carbon footprint.
We currently work with our contractors educating them on best practices to achieve this now. As this becomes more common practice over the next few years we are already ahead of the game.