Informing Electrification in Cambridge, MA

Project Partner: Cambridge City Councillor Quinton Zondervan, Summer 2020

Project Summary: Cambridge, MA, has a goal to move off of fossil fuels in the coming decades as a part of their climate action initiative. One concern that City Councillor Quinton Zondervan had about realizing these goals was that Cambridge still allows new construction buildings to have natural gas infrastructure installed, slowing overall building electrification as new gas buildings are brought online. In an effort to expedite electrification, I worked with Councillor Zondervan to write three policy briefs highlighting the scientific evidence and support for a move off of natural gas energy and a push towards electrification. The three policy briefs I wrote summarized the state of the science, providing support for electrification and discouraging the use of natural gas. The three briefs focused on 1) the public health benefits of a move off of natural gas, 2) the climate change impacts of natural gas energy and the benefits of electrification, and 3) the job market prospects for a wide scale energy transition. These policy briefs were presented to the Cambridge City Council as the ordinance was discussed.

Project Deliverables: Three policy briefs focused on Climate Change, the Job Market, and Public Health.

Street trees on a residential street.
Street trees in Cambridge, MA, that could be protected by a move off of natural gas.

Jess and her URBAN internship were also featured in a video about BU URBAN, below!