Acton Climate Coalition Announces: Building with Clean Energy
BY THE ACTON CLIMATE COALITION
26 May 2021
Acton, MA — The Acton Climate Coalition announces its next initiative: a campaign to encourage passage of two warrant articles at the 2021 Acton Town Meeting on June 21 at 6pm. Dubbed “Building with Clean Energy,” the articles would, if passed, move Acton toward clean, safe, and efficient energy systems in all new building construction and in major renovations of existing buildings.
The Building with Clean Energy warrant articles represent a concrete effort to implement the goals outlined in the 2020 Climate Emergency declaration (see below). Making the transition to non–greenhouse gas emitting energy technologies (i.e., electrically powered systems), and away from systems that burn fossil fuels (methane/“natural” gas, oil, and propane) is a crucial step in reining in carbon emissions from heating and cooling buildings. Fundamental to this technological shift for buildings is the use of heat pump technology for heating and cooling, as well as for hot water, and induction cooking appliances.
These articles follow on a series of climate and sustainability initiatives recently undertaken in Acton. In 2018, the Town adopted a Sustainability Policy; it secured a greenhouse gas inventory for the town in 2019. In September 2020, Acton Town Meeting approved nearly unanimously the declaration of a Climate Emergency, and in early 2021, Acton hired its first Sustainability Director. This spring, it has launched the process of developing a Climate Action Plan for Acton.
Because municipalities do not have the legal authority to establish such a requirement without state legislative approval, Building with Clean Energy includes two warrant articles: one to create a local bylaw (which spells out details of how this new requirement would be managed), and a second one requesting that the Massachusetts Legislature permit Acton to activate the local bylaw.
If the past few years have taught us anything, it is that “business as usual” will exacerbate existing climate,
environmental, and health crises. Other Massachusetts cities and towns — Arlington, Brookline, and Lexington — have passed similar warrant articles; Concord and Cambridge will vote on similar articles in the near future. We must take action now to reduce emissions very significantly by the end of this decade. Through passage of these Warrant Articles, Acton would continue its environmental leadership and advance further toward climate resiliency and decreased greenhouse gas emissions.
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