Inside Arlington

Experimental News Digest for Arlington, MA

Clean Energy Future Committee, November 17, 2023

based on minutes published February 18, 2024

Sustainability Updates

The town is organizing an event at the Senior Center to disseminate information about rebates and discounts that lower income residents can benefit from concerning electricity, gas, insulation, and appliances. In addition, the second wing of the new, all-electric high school has been inaugurated, marking a significant step towards the town’s clean energy goals.

CEFC Prioritization Working Groups

The CEFC has set up three key working groups – Buildings, Transportation, and Energy Supply. These groups are tasked with determining the most crucial one or two actions from the Net Zero Action Plan (NZAP) chart. Pasi Miettinen emphasized the importance of focusing on the electrification of both heating systems and vehicles as significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions.

Buildings workgroup

Discussions in the Buildings workgroup involved several focal points:

  • Procurement practices were considered, highlighting opportunities for the town to foster the use of Net Zero products, both in town procurement and in guiding households. An example discussed was the requirement for vendors to offer an all-electric option in the Request for Proposals for replacing several school rooftop heating systems.
  • The Net-Zero Zoning Changes discussion addressed concerns that builders may bypass energy efficiency requirements by treating renovations as new builds, particularly for non-conforming lots. Further research is needed to check if new energy codes or the FFF Bylaw closes this loophole. Education and training for the building department and builders were proposed as solutions.
  • Partnering with VOTEC/Trade Schools could leverage opportunities for young people in trade schools to pioneer new energy technologies, given the influx of retirements and their current learning phase.
  • Eugene Benson noted that the ARB will consider some of the NZAP action items in their next meeting, including discussions on rezoning Arlington Heights and the newly imposed requirement for tree planting and solar panels on new developments along Mass Ave or Broadway corridors.
  • The issue of Energy Efficiency Barriers in Historic Districts was revisited, though the group needed to assess if this should currently be a priority.

Transportation Workgroup

The Transportation workgroup resolved to concentrate on two aspects: understanding the need for public electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure and outlining procurement requirements for the Town fleet, coupled with the execution of related policies.

Next Meeting and Adjournment

A unanimous decision was made to adjourn the meeting, with a proposal from Pasi Miettinen and a second by Shelly Dein. The committee agreed to reconvene on December 15, 2023. The minutes were submitted by Nellie Aikenhead on February 18, 2024.



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