Mayor pushes energy-efficiency
In the latest part of her “Green New Deal” push, Mayor Michelle Wu’s proposing legislation to move Boston to the state’s new electricity-focused standards and is putting federal recovery money toward retrofitting affordable housing to be more environmentally friendly.
Wu said she’s going to be filing an ordinance that would put Boston in line with the state’s “stretch code,” a set of regulations that cities and towns can opt into that’s aimed at reducing emissions from residential buildings.
“Building a Green New Deal city means improving on our existing infrastructure as well as investing in future resilient development,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “This new green building code will help ensure that we set the foundation for healthy, resilient growth throughout our neighborhoods.”
If passed by the city council, the ordinance change would require new residential buildings to add wiring for future conversion to electrification and to install solar, according to the city. Some gas or fossil-fuel energy use would be allowed for buildings under 4,000 square feet and for backup generators, if the building produces more energy than it uses, or a few other exceptions.
Last year, Wu filed legislation to move the city toward banning fossilfuel hookups for new construction above a certain size. Opponents including industry groups at the time said they worried that these types of changes would make it more difficult and expensive to building housing in a city that needs a lot more of it.
On Thursday, Wu also announced that the city would be using $10 million of the federal American Rescue Plan Act recovery money allotment it’s still working through to grant up to $50,000 per unit to owners of incomerestricted housing for “for deep energy retrofits.”
Buildings with 15 or more units are eligible. The administration is also offering up to $10,000 for technical assistance for owners.
The possible uses for this money include installing energy-efficient lighting and appliances, upgrading insulation, installing solar panels, replacing heating and cooling systems and swapping in more energy-efficient windows and doors.
Wu ran for mayor vowing a “Green New Deal” for the city, looking to focus on environmental issues.