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News & Updates

BPDA adopts decarbonization strategy for all agency property

Jul 14, 2022

Creates path toward a zero net carbon ground lease portfolio by 2030, and carbon neutrality by 2040

The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) has adopted a new decarbonization strategy to achieve zero net carbon emissions at all BPDA-owned properties. The strategy builds on Carbon Free Boston and the Climate Action Plan Update, the City of Boston’s initiative to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 in order to significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

In Boston, buildings account for nearly 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, and represent the greatest opportunity for emissions reductions. The BPDA’s real estate portfolio, 320 parcels totalling over 13 million square feet, emits an estimated 31,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide in one year.

"We know that urgent and bold action is needed to address carbon emissions in our city, and respond to climate change. This policy will help accelerate our progress to carbon neutrality goals," said Mayor Michelle Wu. "Thank you to members of the BPDA Real Estate team for their work to deliver steps for a Boston Green New Deal."

“As an agency, we are excited to seize this opportunity to lead Boston's transition to zero net carbon building, and more equitable building practices," said Chief Planner Arthur Jemison. "We believe that the BPDA has the responsibility to reduce the negative and inequitable impacts of energy consumption, and that the BPDA real estate portfolio gives us the opportunity to advance Boston’s carbon neutral 2050 goals, and more equitable economic development."

"Achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 requires an all hands on deck approach and the Environment Department is excited to see the BPDA advancing this work," said Dr. Alison Brizius, Environment Commissioner. "I look forward to our continued partnership as we work together to minimize the negative impacts of climate change and create a more just and resilient city."

Through this work, the BPDA has laid out strategies that align with the various types of real estate assets in the agency’s portfolio. All improvements and renovations will be made while supporting local and non-profit BPDA tenants.

  • Existing buildings that are owned and managed by the BPDA: Immediately begin planning and implementing operational improvements and renovations to achieve zero net carbon for each building by 2030. The BPDA’s owned and managed properties already meet the current Building Emissions Reduction and Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO) standards for office use. Examples of BPDA managed properties include 12 Channel Street in the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park and the China Trade Building in Chinatown.
  • Existing buildings on land that the BPDA ground leases: Immediately begin tenant engagement and education, and complementary strategies to achieve full carbon neutrality by 2040.
  • New buildings on BPDA-owned land: Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and lease negotiations for new buildings over 20,000 square feet on BPDA-owned land will include zero net carbon requirements.
  • Other parcels in the BPDA portfolio: Creative options, including clean energy generation, are being identified to offset operational carbon emissions, to contribute to a net zero carbon portfolio and drive innovation to support equity and environmental justice.

The BPDA has begun initial steps to execute on this strategy, including engaging with the BPDA’s tenants, initiating energy audits, and exploring a solar energy generation pilot on BPDA-owned land. The BPDA will track results of the strategies identified and continue to work with other City departments to make adjustments to the policy as needed.

The BPDA is simultaneously working to assess and identify strategies to strengthen green building zoning requirements to a zero net carbon standard for new construction through the Zero Net Carbon Building Zoning Initiative. The initiative is developing updated zoning for new construction.

Learn more about the BPDA Real Estate Decarbonization Strategy

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