Written by Paula Georges
Boston’s large buildings, including office, commercial and residential buildings, account for over half of the city’s carbon footprint. To reduce pollutants from Boston’s dirtiest buildings and meet Boston emissions reduction goals, the City has drafted an overhaul of the Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO). The amended ordinance, now called the Building Emissions Reduction and Disclosure Ordinance, requires building owners to meet emissions standards that become more strict over time.
This ordinance’s implementation will be overseen by a Review Board. This Review Board will have responsibility for the following functions: approve hardship compliance plans and other waiver applications, approve expenditures from the Equitable Emissions Investment Fund, propose regulations to the Air Pollution Control Commission (APCC), and oversee enforcement.
But who will be making these decisions? Who will sit on the Review Board? Review Board members have significant regulatory authority to determine how strictly the rules are enforced and how equitably funds are spent. Will big building owners be allowed to police themselves? Or will there be true community accountability? Review Board members must have credibility with under-served neighborhoods and residents in carrying out their significant authority. Board members should be drawn from community-based groups who can represent and give voice to the environmental justice populations most affected by climate change and who will benefit the most from building upgrades.
Coming Up: Boston City Council hearing on BERDO 2.0 on Thursday, July 22, 3PM. The hearing offers an opportunity for BCAN and other climate advocacy groups to weigh in on these amendments.
Watch live at bit.ly/BostonCityCouncilTV