Inside Arlington

Experimental News Digest for Arlington, MA

Clean Energy Future Committee, January 19, 2024

New DPCD Assistant Director Introduction

During the meeting, the Clean Energy Future Committee (CEFC) met Sarah Suarez, the new Assistant Director for the Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD). Suarez’s focus will be on affordable housing compliance and the effective incorporation of clean energy solutions to reduce the town’s carbon footprint. She is also expected to contribute to increasing community awareness of the Planning Department’s projects. CEFC members were invited to offer comments or suggestions on projects to improve sustainability.

Fossil Fuel Free Bylaw Major Renovation Definition

A key topic of discussion was the definition of “major renovation” within Arlington’s Fossil Fuel Free Bylaw. As recommended by the Green Communities Division of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), there was a proposal to amend the bylaw to include additional definitions for residential and commercial renovations and change of use. The purpose of this change is to align with DOER’s Model Rule, potentially affecting more residential buildings based on project data from the previous two years. The amendment to the language was voted on, with a majority in favor, and the subsequent warrant article language was approved unanimously.

Zero Emission Vehicle Policy

Amos Meeks presented a draft policy for standards on purchasing Town vehicles which aims to support Arlington’s participation in the Climate Leader Communities Program. The policy would prioritize electric vehicle procurement, including battery-electric and hybrid models, and would be enacted and enforced by the Select Board and Town Manager. Discussions covered the practicality of plug-in hybrid vehicles and the need to ensure they are charged properly. The policy regulates light-duty vehicles primarily, but encourages best practices for heavy-duty vehicle purchases as well. A consideration for future discussion is whether vehicles used by contracted workers fall under this policy.

Sustainability Updates

The committee discussed several sustainability initiatives, including a heat pump systems home tour event organized by Electrify Arlington and other local groups. Moreover, residents were encouraged to take the Town survey and participate in upcoming Electrify Arlington events. Finally, the CEFC called for volunteers to take over note-taking responsibilities for future meetings.



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