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. The meeting was chaired by Ryan Katofsky and attended by several committee members, including newly confirmed member Aimee Graeber. Two members were absent.

Fossil Fuel Free Demonstration Pilot (FFF) Updates
Patrick Hanlon informed the committee about the potential expansion of the FFF program from 10 pilot municipalities to all communities. However, a report from the Home Builders Association suggested that the implementation of the FFF, Stretch Code, and Specialized Stretch could price people out of the housing market, potentially affecting the expansion of the FFF program. There was also a rumor that Arlington might drop out of the FFF program due to housing requirements. The committee was urged to consider which exemptions to allow in the FFF bylaw, including the potential continuation of the exemption for domestic gas stoves.

Sustainability Efforts Updates
The committee was informed of the importance of the MBTA Communities process to the success of the CEFC. Amos Meeks volunteered to be the main point of contact with Sustainable Arlington as the Fall Town Meeting approached. 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 had also signed an MOU with HomeWorks Energy for additional support. The town was exploring solar projects at the Department of Public Works and the new high school.

Net Zero Action Plan (NZAP) Working Group Discussion
The meeting concluded with a 25-minute breakout discussion by the NZAP Working Group.

The Transportation and Building subgroups also held meetings. The Energy subgroup did not meet on this day.

Building Subgroup Discussion
The Building subgroup discussed gas stoves, upcoming issues in the next 6-12 months, and potential adjustments to the NZAP priorities list. The group also discussed the ongoing initiatives regarding embodied carbon, which is becoming a significant topic due to the state legislature’s consideration of making it a factor in procurement processes. The timing for upgrading gas heating systems to electric was another topic of discussion. The group also reviewed the process for determining the final language in the FFF bylaw, particularly whether gas stoves will be prohibited or allowed.

The next meeting date was set for August 25, 2023.



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