Massachusetts legislation created a pilot program last year that allows 10 communities to ban fossil fuel use in new construction or major renovations. However, advocates of banning fossil fuels say the pilot program lacks diversity. To approach the concern and urgency of the climate crisis, a new bill under consideration this year would give any town or city the option to ban new fossil fuel hookups.
“The current list does not scan as representative of the state,” said Somerville City Councilor Jake Wilson.
Bill supporters also argue that it makes no sense to construct new, fossil-fuel-powered buildings that will simply need to be electrified in the coming years if the state is to meet its emissions targets.
“It doesn’t make sense to do that and put ourselves deeper in debt in terms of carbon,” said Northampton City Councilor Alex Jarrett.
The argument against fossil fuel prohibitions has largely centered on the perception that building and operating electrified buildings will be more costly than the standard natural gas-centered approach. The numbers, however, suggest that this fear is unfounded.
An energy efficiency analysis released by the state in February 2022 found that building an energy-efficient, fully electric single-family home could cost $36,000 less than building that same home run on natural gas and cost the homeowner $1,500 less per year.
For supporters, these numbers indicate the state should move directly to allowing municipalities to choose their own rules regarding fossil fuels in new construction, without the intermediary measure of a pilot program.Read More