Inside Arlington

Experimental News Digest for Arlington, MA

Clean Energy Future Committee, June 30, 2023

The Clean Energy Future Committee (CEFC) of Arlington, Massachusetts, convened a remote meeting on June 30, 2023, that began with reviewing and approving the minutes from the previous meeting, held on May 26, 2023.

  • Fossil Fuel Free Demonstration Pilot Updates
    The committee discussed updates on the Fossil Fuel Free Demonstration Pilot (FFF). The legislature is considering expanding the FFF program to all communities. However, a report from the Home Builders Association suggested that the implementation of the FFF could potentially price people out of the housing market. The committee also discussed the possibility of Arlington dropping out of the FFF program due to housing requirements. The CEFC was encouraged to consider which exemptions to allow in the FFF bylaw, including the potential to maintain the exemption for domestic gas stoves.
  • Sustainability Efforts
    Updates were provided on sustainability efforts. The committee highlighted the importance of the MBTA communities process to the success of the CEFC. A member volunteered to be the main point of contact with Sustainable Arlington as the Fall Town Meeting approaches. Progress was reported on the Electrify Arlington initiative, including the hiring of a part-time energy advocate to lead outreach efforts for heat pump adoption and to expand the campaign into environmental justice communities. The town has also signed an agreement with HomeWorks Energy for additional support. The town is also exploring solar projects at the Department of Public Works and the new high school.
  • Building Subgroup Discussion
    The Building subgroup discussed three main topics: gas stoves, potential issues in the next 6-12 months, and necessary adjustments to the NZAP priorities list. The subgroup also discussed the ongoing initiatives regarding embodied carbon. There was disagreement among the group members about this initiative. Some members were concerned that the focus on embodied carbon might be used as a reason to halt new development and require the reuse of existing buildings, which could be less energy efficient. Another topic of discussion was the optimal timing for upgrading gas heating systems to electric. There was a suggestion that if a gas heating system is functioning well, it might be better to wait for the next generation of heat pumps before replacing the system.
  • Final Language in the FFF Bylaw
    The subgroup also reviewed the process for determining the final language in the FFF bylaw. This process involves drafting a “notice” warrant article, which does not include all the details. The Selectboard then determines the language for the “main motion”. The CEFC plays a crucial role in making recommendations to the Selectboard before the main motion is drafted. The main motion is then presented to TM, where it is considered, finalized, and voted upon.

The next meeting was scheduled for August 25, 2023.



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