BEUDO: Proposed Net Zero by 2035 for Existing Buildings in Cambridge

Written by Yve Torrie, Director of Climate, Energy & Resilience

Many A Better City members have engaged with the City of Boston over the last 2-3 years during the passage of Boston’s Building Emissions Reduction and Disclosure Ordinance amendment known as BERDO 2.0. As 16 of our members own buildings in Cambridge, with an additional number of large tenants or property managers, we have also been engaged in the recent process to amend Cambridge’s Building Energy Use and Disclosure Ordinance (BEUDO) which applies to existing buildings in Cambridge.

The BEUDO amendment process began a couple of years ago in a similar way to BERDO 2.0. Led by the Climate and Energy team in Cambridge’s Community Development Department, meetings were held regularly with BEUDO covered building stakeholders, and periodically, updates were provided to the Cambridge City Council. In November 2021, the Climate and Energy team recommended a final BEUDO amendment to City Council which aimed at net zero by 2050 and had a lot of similarities to Boston’s BERDO amendment that was signed into law in October 2021.

In February 2022, Cambridge City Councilors Nolan and Zondervan made redline edits to the Climate and Energy team’s amendment and presented it at a City Council meeting. Although there were several changes proposed, the biggest change was a proposal to move the net zero goal from 2050 to 2035.

A group of large building stakeholders came together to discuss these changes, many of whom were part of the BEUDO covered buildings group led by the City of Cambridge’s Climate and Energy team. The group requested Mayor Siddiqui lead a series of stakeholder engagement meetings with Councilors Nolan and Zondervan, and large building stakeholders. Several meetings have taken place where the group have discussed proposed changes to the BEUDO amendment; the latest version of which was updated on June 22nd 2022.

A Better City hosted a meeting with members who own, manage or are tenants in Cambridge on May 31st to gather feedback on the current amendment proposal. As a result of this meeting, A Better City’s comments were sent to Mayor Siddiqui, Councilors Nolan and Zondervan, and the City Council Ordinance Committee on June 17th.

Representing A Better City, Yve Torrie was also asked to speak on a panel at the June 22nd City of Cambridge Ordinance Committee meeting. Her testimony starts at 1.09.24. Two other members were on the panel: Joe Higgins, MIT (testimony starts at 1.02.03) and Jaclyn Olsen, Harvard (testimony starts at 1.14.56.

A Better City was also quoted in a Boston Business Journal article on June 27th reiterating that A Better City cannot support a 2035 goal as we are not confident that the grid, technological, onsite renewable energy, and workforce development challenges, to name a few, can be address expeditiously and equitably enough to meet a 2035 goal.

The City of Cambridge’s Ordinance Committee will continue to discuss BEUDO at their next meeting on July 26th. There will be no public comments at this meeting.

For any questions or comments on the BEUDO process, please contact Yve Torrie.




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