Net Zero Advisory Council Public Forum ~ Thursday, June 20 at 7 PM

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Submitted by the Net Zero Advisory Council

The Net Zero Advisory Council will host a public forum on Thursday, June 20, 2019 at 7 PM in the Reed Multipurpose Room at Bedford Town Hall. All are welcome.

The forum will consider and discuss the Council’s proposal for achieving net-zero building carbon emissions within the next three decades. The recommendations were developed by a diverse group of stakeholders from the commercial, residential, and municipal sectors. The Council looks forward to sharing its recommendations with the public and obtaining feedback on the proposed initiatives.

At the November 2017 Special Town Meeting, Bedford secured funding to engage a consulting firm to support its goal of achieving an 80% reduction in building carbon emissions by 2050. The Town engaged Peregrine Energy Group, which conducted a town-wide energy inventory to determine baseline carbon emissions.  The energy inventory revealed that non-residential buildings account for 76% of total building carbon emissions, while residential buildings account for 24% of total emissions. Additionally, building carbon emissions increased by 13% from 2013 to 2016.

The Town established a Net Zero Advisory Council to develop a set of strategies for reducing carbon emissions in commercial, municipal and residential buildings. The Advisory Council consisted of a diverse group of stakeholders, including commercial property owners and facility directors, contractors, realtors, architects, town board and committee members, municipal employees and residents. The Advisory Council divided into three working groups – commercial, municipal and residential – to develop strategies for improving building energy efficiency in accordance with the 2050 timeline. Advisory Council members met periodically over six months to develop strategies for significantly reducing carbon emissions in Town.

Below is a brief summary of the Advisory Council’s proposed energy reduction strategies.

Municipal Initiatives

Publish a 10-Year Energy Plan by Fall of 2019
The Town of Bedford is committed to reducing municipal building greenhouse gas emissions by purchasing green electricity, installing solar panels and energy efficient equipment. Bedford will publish a comprehensive 10-year energy plan detailing energy efficient, sustainable initiatives.

100% Green Electricity Supply for Municipal Buildings
The Town recently negotiated a three-year contract for 100% renewable energy supply and will add an Energy Procurement section to the Town Energy Policy to ensure future prioritization of green energy.

Building Energy Use Disclosure
The Town will voluntarily utilize EPA Portfolio Manager and publicly report the energy use of municipal buildings.

Net Zero Energy Use for New Municipal Buildings and Renovations
All new building and renovation projects will set energy use goals at design time. Designs will be presented to the Energy & Sustainability Committee for review.

Feasibility Study of Town Microgrid as Part of 10-Year Energy Plan

Exploration of Funding Options for Municipal Sustainability Coordinator
The Town will explore funding options for a Sustainability Coordinator to implement and oversee its building greenhouse gas reduction initiatives and sustainability goals.

Residential Initiatives

Increase Participation in the MassSave Energy Efficiency Programs
The Town will promote MassSave Energy Assessments through targeted campaigns, community outreach, and education. The goal is to increase the rate of participation to yield an additional 10% savings of residential energy year by 2030 beyond the state average.

Promotion of Clean Energy Technologies – Solar Panels, Heat Pumps, Electric Vehicle Charging and Energy Storage

Community Choice Aggregation – 50% Renewable Energy by 2030 and 100% Renewable Energy by 2050

Commercial Initiatives

Public Recognition of Energy Efficient & Green Businesses in Bedford

Green Power Purchases – 20% Renewable Energy by Commercial Sector by 2030
The Town will educate the commercial sector on renewable energy procurement options and will set a goal of 20% renewable energy supplying businesses within the next decade.

Establish Incentives for Energy Efficiency and Solar Through the Special Permit Process
The Town will use the special permit process to encourage the implementation of energy efficiency and solar in new buildings. Incentives for efficiency and solar could address, for example, landscaping requirements, floor area ratios, and setback requirements.

Development of Strategic Plan for Reducing Carbon Emissions from Energy Use in Commercial Buildings
The Town will develop a strategic plan for reducing carbon emissions from energy use in commercial buildings. The initial plan will be revised based on data obtained from the energy use disclosures.

Building Energy Use Disclosure Bylaw
The Town will adopt a Building Energy Use Disclosure Bylaw requiring commercial property owners to report their energy use. The bylaw will be developed in close partnership with the business community and will not mandate businesses to complete energy assessments or demonstrate reduced energy use or carbon emissions.

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