Driving Carbon Reductions

Cities and businesses can help combat the threat of climate change by taking steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

A Better City is helping Boston’s commercial real estate and business sectors to reduce carbon emissions through both demand-side and supply-side innovations. The goal: to reduce carbon emissions to 25% below 1990 levels by 2020 and to 80% below by 2050.

Why It’s Important

Commercial and industrial buildings in the metro Boston area consume a significant proportion of energy in New England and are responsible for nearly 50% of the region’s carbon emissions. Because of the scale of the commercial building sector, innovations in the way buildings consume and produce energy have an outsized effect on the region’s carbon emissions.

A Better City’s Role

A Better City has developed a number of resources to help reduce carbon emissions, including:

  • A Behavior Change Toolkit that showcases best practices for engaging tenants in energy efficiency activities. The toolkit also offers pilot guidelines in behavior changes for buildings, hotels and law firms.
  • A white paper on Overcoming Barriers to Investment in Energy Efficiency in Boston that identifies barriers to and solutions for achieving energy efficiency in commercial real estate.
  • A pilot program and white paper on virtual energy assessments for commercial properties in Boston.
  • A white paper on green leases that describes approaches to align incentives for landlords and tenants when it comes to investing in sustainability and taking action to help the environment.

Building Climate Resiliency

As the climate changes, our infrastructure must evolve as well. Greater Boston and Massachusetts must make its infrastructure resilient to climate change hazards like extreme temperature, extreme precipitation, rising seas and coastal storms.

A Better City is working with multiple stakeholders to monitor climate change projections, educate constituents, and provide adaptation tools and resources for decisions and planning around development.

Climate Ready Boston

Climate Ready Boston is a long-term climate preparedness planning process for the Greater Boston region led by the City of Boston in collaboration with the Green Ribbon Commission.

Why It’s Important

As a coastal city with many neighborhoods built on filled tidelands, Boston is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. To prepare for the effects of climate change, the City must continue to monitor climate projections, assess vulnerabilities, and develop a portfolio of potential solution strategies to create resiliency.

A Better City’s Role

A Better City is a key partner with the City of Boston and the Green Ribbon Commission in engaging the City’s commercial building sector. We convene multiple stakeholders in education sessions and discussions about steps the building sector can take to improve the city’s resilience to climate impacts, such as sea level rise, storm surges, and disruptions to critical infrastructure.

Building Resiliency Toolkit

The Building Resiliency Toolkit provides information on potential structural interventions that can make commercial building more resilient to climate change.

Why It’s Important

Commercial building owners are not always aware of the resources and technologies available to help improve resiliency.

A Better City’s Role

A Better City developed the Toolkit along with the report, Enhancing Resilience in Boston, to provide commercial building owners with information about available technologies and to help perform a preliminary assessment of potential regulatory touch points within the city and state.

Challenge for Sustainability

The Challenge for Sustainability program provides a platform for elite businesses, property owners, and institutions to coordinate sustainability efforts and have a positive impact on the environment, economic competitiveness, and quality of life in Greater Boston.

Why It’s Important

The Challenge for Sustainability helps businesses understand the key components of corporate sustainability and offers an easy way to share information that can help companies progress more quickly toward their goals.

A Better City’s Role

A Better City has led the Challenge for Sustainability initiative since 2009. In addition to providing sustainability and resiliency toolkits, we foster and accelerate the adoption of innovative projects. We also help participants benchmark and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through targeted services and by sharing knowledge and information on successes and failures.

For more information on the program visit the Challenge for Sustainability website at: www.challengeforsustainability.org