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Aggressive City Goals

Monday, September 25, 2023
" The City has set aggressive goals and implemented a series of actions in order to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to: a) prevent climate change from worsening; and b) address the inevitable impacts of climate change that we are already experiencing in order to improve the health and resilience of the community. Those goals revolve around reducing emissions from key sectors such as buildings, transportation, waste reduction, renewable electricity supply, and other areas. "

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Net Zero Action Plan

Identifies a phased set of actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing buildings by 2050. This plan provides a roadmap to address emissions from all buildings in Cambridge, including specific actions to reduce emissions such as retrofitting existing buildings with energy- efficient technologies, promoting renewable energy sources, and implementing building codes that prioritize energy efficiency. A NZAP dashboard provides a clear overview of the progress towards our 2050 goal to be a net zero community. It is available at cambridgema.gov/netzero.

Specialized Stretch Energy Code

Requires all new construction and major renovations to buildings in the City to be all-electric or wired to transition to all-electric in the future. The Specialized Stretch Code focuses on maximizing energy efficiency, reducing heating demands, and promoting efficient electrification. Buildings that use only electricity as an energy source, versus fossil fuels, can eliminate their emissions when the electricity comes from renewable sources.

Building Energy Use Disclosure Ordinance
  • Requires energy and water reporting from commercial properties 25,000 square feet or larger and residential properties 50 or more units.
  • Requires non-residential buildings to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions with a net zero requirement by 2035 for large buildings (larger than 100,000 square feet) and 2050 for mid- size buildings (25,000 to 100,000 square feet).
Fossil Fuel Free Demonstration Program

Requires new buildings built in Cambridge and major renovations of existing buildings – such as homes, residential buildings, and commercial buildings – to be fossil fuel free by using all- electric systems rather than oil and natural gas.

Heat Strategies

  • Increase our tree canopy by planting new trees and curbing the loss of existing trees.
  • Enhance access to open space and healthy air quality, add more park shade structures, and increase ground and roof vegetated areas.
  • Engage with Eversource and the Massachusetts Public Utilities Commission to increase the resiliency of the electricity distribution system.
  • Closely coordinate with local, state, and federal agencies to ensure that there is a significant emphasis on water conservation to ensure supply is available during droughts.


Net Zero Transportation Plan

Develop a Net Zero Transportation Plan (NZTP) to remove greenhouse gas emissions from transportation in Cambridge. This process aims to include many voices—especially those who have been underheard, undeserved, and historically excluded in the past. Staff will listen to the mobility challenges that impact community members and solicit ideas for how to improve mobility for all in the City. Advisory Group members will learn about transportation issues that lead to climate change. In the end, we will co-create a plan together that eliminates transportation emissions and improves mobility.

Better Streets and Pathways
  • Help provide safer facilities for people walking and biking and supporting transit through redesigning our streets. In recent years, several miles of separated bike lanes have been installed along Mass Ave, Garden Street, Cambridge Street and other corridors facilitating safer riding for cyclists and giving priority to buses. The Cambridge Watertown Greenway was completed last year and offers a paved path connecting the two cities, and projects like the Grand Junction Path, Linear Park Redesign, and Danehy-New Street Connector Path, are bringing even more shared-use paths for active transportation users in the coming years. The City also aims to install more than 150 bike parking racks every year to allow for ample bike parking, and new types of bus stops and bus stop amenities offer a more comfortable experience for transit users.
Electrifying Vehicles
  • Make significant strides to electrify city’s fleet by adding more fully electric vehicles.
  • Invest in Electric Vehicle (EV) infrastructure by installing more publicly accessible chargers throughout the city and launch Electric Vehicle Charging Pilot program.
  • Install public EV charging for 100 vehicles over the next five years in city parking lots and streets and undertake a pilot to allow charging across sidewalks in order to make it easier for people who live and work in Cambridge to own less-polluting vehicles.

Stronger Infrastructure

  • Increase stormwater storage, building green infrastructure, and continuing sewer separation projects.
  • Improve stormwater infrastructure improvements with a goal of managing flooding from significant storms today and in the future.
  • Address climate change through various waste reduction programs, including trash, recycling, yard waste collection, and special collections.
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