Clean Heat Lexington

Clean Air, Cool Planet: It's Electrifying!

Why do building emissions matter?

Heating, hot water, and cooking from onsite combustion of fossil fuels (natural gas, oil, and propane) in buildings is the biggest source of Greenhouse Gas emissions in Lexington.

Electrifying our homes and commercial buildings is essential in reaching our Net Zero emission goals by 2035.

Lexington's path to building electrification

Successful town policies and legislations on sustainable buildings (accomplished)

Community Choice (Electricity from Renewable Sources) (effective 2015) provides residents and businesses with electricity generated from 100% renewable resources through electricity aggregation.

Integrated Building Design and Construction Policy (effective 2019) requires new town buildings to be "[a]ll electric, zero emissions onsite design (excluding fuel for emergency backup power generators). Backup fossil fuel heating systems will require specific approval."

Incentive Zoning for office buildings (Article 16 from 2020-2 STM, in effect) requires new buildings over six stories in Hartwell commercial district to have no onsite combustion for HVAC

Home Rule for Clean Heat (passed 2021 ATM, pending state legislature approval in 2022 or later): requires no fossil fuel use for space and water heating in new buildings and major renovations (some exceptions)

Incentive Zoning for Life Science and Lab buildings (Article 17 Sustainable Design for Hartwell passed 2021 STM, disapproved by AGO June 2022) requires reduced fossil fuel use from the larger biotech lab/life science buildings that are likely coming to the Hartwell Ave. commercial district.

Article 31 BEU-D (Building Energy Use Disclosure) (passed 2022 All Town Meeting, pending AGO approval) requires all buildings over 25K sq ft to report their gas and electricity use annually so that the town can report annually on building green house gas emission intensity.

Town legislation next steps under consideration:

! Advocate and adopt the state's Net Zero Stretch Energy Code (aiming December 2022)

! Article 40 Sustainable Residential Incentives for new construction (postponed) would require no fossil fuel use, better efficiency, and solar energy production provisions for new residential construction.

Community engagement:

    • Business and development community

    • Residents and property owners

    • Town boards and committees (Town Meeting, Select Board, and Planning Board)

    • Town staff (Town Manager, Sustainability Director, Planning Office, Building Office, Land Use, Health, and Development)

Info on Building Electrification (Clean Heat)

Watch this inspirational 3-minute video

MacArthur Genius Award winner Saul Griffith explains why we need to electrify everything and how we can do it while saving money for everyone.

Do heat pumps work in extreme cold weathers?

Here is a MrCool video explaining how it works!

(The example in the video is a ducted, central heat pump, which works very similarly as a ductless, mini split.)

Can Hybrid HVAC work in lab buildings?

Example of best practices in lab buildings: Sustainability Goals for Ground-up Development of New Buildings by Alexandria Real Estate (ARE)