Buildings Sector Climate Policy Update

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

In 2022, building policies have been front and center of municipal, state and federal climate policy. The last quarter of 2022 has been no different, seeing activity at all three levels of government. Below is a summary of activity in building policies that A Better City is tracking.


  • BERDO Phase 1-2A Regulations Approved: Throughout 2022, A Better City has engaged members, partners, and the City of Boston team as the regulations for the City's Building Emissions and Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO 2.0) have been drafted, commented on, and approved by the Air Pollution Control Commission. Here is a summary of our engagement throughout the BERDO Phase 1-2A regulatory process.
  • City of Cambridge Buildings Policy Updates:
    • BEUDO: On November 22, 2002, the City of Cambridge held a hearing to discuss the Building Energy Use and Disclosure Ordinance (BEUDO), including an in-depth presentation on the technical and economic challenges of meeting BEUDO’s 2035 timeline. See more information here.
    • Lab Ban: Cambridge proposed a zoning petition in September 2022, that seeks to ban new labs in certain business sections in the City. The first of two lab ban petitions was heard on December 7, 2022. See more information here.  


  • Stretch Codes Approved: On December 23, 2022, the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) updated Stretch Code and new Specialized Opt-in Code (together, 225 CMR 22 and 23) were officially published by the Secretary of State register. See recent blogpost.
      • Updated Residential Stretch Energy Code becomes effective January 2023
      • Updated Commercial Stretch Energy Code becomes effective July 2023
    • Specialized Opt-in Code: Cities and towns seeking to adopt this new code can do so as of December 23, 2022, with DOER guidance and model language. This code builds on the energy efficiency requirements of the Stretch Energy Code and requires any building using fossil fuel to be electrification-ready and install on-site renewables where feasible.
  • Clean Heat Commission’s Final Report Released: On November 30, 2022, the final report from the Massachusetts Commission on Clean Heat was released (see press release). Established in September 2021, the Commission was tasked with developing a framework for long-term GHG emission reduction from heating fuels and providing policy recommendations to help meet the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act requirements. Recommendations from the Commission have been included in the 2050 Clean Energy and Climate Plan.
  • Clean Energy and Climate Plan (CECP) 2050 Released: On December 21, 2022, the Commonwealth released the 2050 CECP and statewide GHG emission limits and sector-specific sublimits. The statewide emissions limit for 2050 was set at Net Zero, requiring a level of GHG emissions that is at least 85% below the 1990 baseline level, and total emissions that are equal or less in quantity to the amount of carbon dioxide or its equivalent that is removed from the atmosphere and stored annually by, or attributable to, the Commonwealth. The 2050 CECP charts out the way Massachusetts will achieve the emissions limit and sublimits in 2050 through policies specific to each of the sectors of the economy, and with the understanding that clean energy technologies across sectors face some common challenges and solutions which will be addressed through cross sector strategies.


  • Federal Building Performance Standard Announced: On December 7, 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the first Federal Building Performance Standard, requiring agencies to cut energy use and electrify equipment and appliances to achieve zero scope 1 emissions in 30% of their buildings, by square footage, by 2030. This is the latest step in the President’s goal of achieving net-zero emissions in all Federal buildings by 2045.

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