Climate Change & Environmental Planning

Green Buildings & Climate Resilience

Through the review of new development projects, staff work with the development and design community to achieve higher performing buildings that are more energy efficient, minimize adverse environmental impacts, conserve natural resources, and provide healthier living and working conditions for the City’s residents and workers. Boston Zoning Code Article 37, Green Buildings (Article 37) and the Climate Resiliency - Review Policy Update (Resiliency Policy) ensure that major building projects are designed, constructed, and managed to meet sustainable design standards, reduce carbon emissions, and advance climate resilience. All proposed projects subject to or electing to comply with Zoning Article 80B, Large Project Review, are subject to the requirements of Zoning Article 37 and the City’s Resiliency Policy.

Resiliency Policy

The Resiliency Policy requires that all projects consider present and future climate conditions in assessing project environmental impacts, including carbon emissions, extreme precipitation, extreme heat, and sea level rise. Projects must identify building strategies that eliminate, reduce, and mitigate adverse impacts including those due to changing climate conditions.

The Resiliency Checklist provides an online reporting framework and specific resiliency targets for assessing project vulnerabilities and adverse impacts. Projects are to identify initial (first build) strategies for reducing vulnerabilities and adverse impacts AND future adaptation strategies for meeting or exceeding resiliency targets and further reducing vulnerabilities and adverse impacts due to future climate conditions.

Project proponents should reference the online reporting form and Sea Level Rise - Flood Hazard Area mapping tool.

Article 37

Inserted into the Zoning Code in 2007, Article 37 requires all projects to achieve at minimum the ‘certifiable’ level utilizing the most appropriate US Green Building Council Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) Rating System(s). To successfully create a high-performance and sustainable building, it is essential that project teams utilize an integrated project delivery approach from the initial phases of the project. Research and practice demonstrate that integrated project teams deliver better projects, attain higher LEED, green, and resilient building outcomes, and do so within their project budgets. The City expects project proponents to start with a goal of achieving all possible LEED credits and to construct the highest performing and most resilient building feasible. Project proponents are also expected to fully leverage market forces and utilize all available utility, state, and federal energy efficiency, green building, and resiliency funding and technical assistance.

Projects required to comply with Boston Zoning Article 37 Green Buildings that are submitting their first substantive filing to the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) must demonstrate Article 37 compliance using the most current LEED Rating System. Projects filing a Notice of Project Change AND proposing to use an earlier Rating System version should consult with the IGBC before filing. Visit USGBC LEED Certification Deadlines for additional information.

Interagency Green Building Committee

Article 37 establishes the Interagency Green Building Committee (IGBC) to advise the BPDA and the Inspectional Services Department (ISD) on project compliance with the City's green building and climate resiliency policies and requirements. Compliance reviews occur at three project phases: Initial Filing, Design/Building Permit Filing, and Construction/Certificate of Occupancy Filing (see Review Procedures and Submittal Requirements). The BPDA and ISD rely on the IGBC’s review and advice for the approval of projects and the issuance of building permits and certificates of occupancy.

The following documents are provided to guide and assist project proponents in complying with these regulations and policies. For your convenience and offline work, a Word version of the Climate Resiliency Checklist is included:

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