Ambitious goals and actions from the public sector are helping Boston lead in climate action and make progress towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Boston has been a leader in climate action for over a decade and is making significant progress reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The public sector, in particular, is leading by example, adopting aggressive climate change goals which meet or exceed the City of Boston’s community goal of 25% reductions in GHG emissions by 2020. City, state, federal government together own a large portion (over 11%) of building stock in the City and nearly a quarter of all non-residential space, making the commitments and actions of the public sector important for reaching overall climate goals.
This report discusses the important role the public sector is playing in climate action in Boston. It highlights four examples of action by city, state, and federal government agencies that are going beyond pilot projects and are pursuing energy innovation on a portfolio-wide basis:
- The City of Boston’s Municipal Energy Unit provides a model for strategic investment in full-time staff resources dedicated to energy management and provides compelling evidence that such positions can be highly cost-effective.
- The Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) is financing energy investments on a large scale by leveraging its tax-exempt bonding authority to access capital at rates well below what would be available from commercial energy service companies.
- The recently completed MassPort Rental Car Center consolidated all nine rental car companies operating at Logan Airport into a single LEED facility, dramatically lowering shuttle bus emissions by reducing the need for redundant shuttles and replacing its diesel fleet with fuel-efficient hybrids.
- The U.S. General Services Administration has invested in deep energy retrofits of a 700,000 square foot Boston landmark, cutting emissions nearly in half between 2003 and 2014 through a mix of green building renovations, optimizing equipment, and energy-conscious occupant behavior.
The case studies are each part of larger initiatives which seek not just to implement one or two isolated projects, but rather aim to reduce energy and GHG emissions across a portfolio of buildings. These initiatives show that aggressive climate targets are both attainable and beneficial while generating cost savings and helping streamline operations and many of the successes could be replicated in other sectors. The research also highlights the potential for increased collaboration and information sharing across public agencies to accelerate adoption of successful strategies and scale overall impact.