In 2022, A Better City was engaged with the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) on a Zero Net Carbon (ZNC) Zoning Initiative for new construction. Since the end of 2022, the discussion has been dormant while other building policies have been finalized, including:

  • The updated Stretch Energy Code for all Green Communities that came into effect for commercial buildings in July 2023.
  • The Specialized Stretch Energy Code, which municipalities can opt-in to, has an effective date at the discretion of the municipality adopting it. For Boston, the Specialized Code came into effect in January 2024.
  • BERDO 2.0 regulations and policies for existing buildings over 20,000sf or 15 or more residential units, were finalized in December 2023 with the first compliance period in 2025.


In early 2024, the BPDA re-started the ZNC Zoning discussion. A Better City held a meeting with its members and the BPDA on February 21, 2024, to understand what updates had been made to proposed ZNC Zoning since 2022. In this meeting, the BPDA were requesting feedback on 3 key updates under consideration:

  • The implications of requiring net zero emissions once an Article 80 building becomes a BERDO-covered building (buildings ≥ 20,000 SF and/or ≥15 units).
  • The strengthening of embodied carbon reporting within ZNC Zoning regulations.
  • The streamlining of the green building review process to minimize redundancies with citywide environmental policies, zoning, and the MA Stretch Energy Code.


As a result of the feedback received at the meeting on February 21st and comments from A Better City members that followed, A Better City submitted preliminary comments to the BPDA for consideration as they draft ZNC Zoning regulations, expected by the end of March 2024.


For any comments or questions, please contact Yve Torrie.


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