Recently the USGBC MA’s Advocacy Committee hosted guest speaker Susanne Rasmussen, Director of Transportation and Environmental Planning for the City of Cambridge. Cambridge is leading the way for a net zero future in Massachusetts, and their policy can provide ideas for other municipalities to create successful plans for their communities. Susanne spoke about Cambridge’s Net Zero Plan, the process for developing it, and the first steps towards implementation. The goal of this meeting was to explain what the Cambridge Net Zero Task Force was, what their plans and goals are, and what they are starting to implement.
The overall net zero framework for the City of Cambridge is generalized so that it can be flexible over time; they want the framework to be reasonable so that it’s possible for the private and public sectors to prepare buildings to be net zero. There are specific review points every few years so that the framework can be adjusted to reflect market conditions and new technologies.
The city has a goal of having all municipal buildings be net zero in 2020. The King Open and Cambridge Street Upper Schools project, which Arrowstreet is designing in partnership with William Rawn Associates, is pushing the net zero future of Cambridge along a little faster. Planned as the first net zero building in the city, it’s serving as a catalyst as the city is working out some net zero guidelines as questions come up for this project.