Burlington Moves Forward on Reducing Building Sector Emissions

Burlington, Vt. – Mayor Miro Weinberger and the City Council advanced a resolution during tonight’s Council meeting to chart a path toward further fossil fuel reductions in buildings throughout Burlington. The vote to pass the resolution was unanimous.


The resolution, which was sponsored by East District City Councilor Jack Hanson, seeks policy recommendations in the coming months from Burlington Electric Department and the Department of Permitting and Inspections which are aimed at reducing fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions in new construction, major renovation, municipal buildings, and large commercial buildings. The resolution follows the enactment of Burlington’s Thermal Energy Charter Change last month, which provided the City additional authority to enact policies related to building emissions in Burlington as long as voters give further approval to any new fees that the policy creates.  A goal of this resolution is to have new policy for voters to approve no later than Town Meeting Day 2023. 


“The climate emergency is a crisis that demands we all act with urgency. With this resolution, the City is committed to moving immediately to use our new charter authority to reduce fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions in the buildings throughout Burlington,” said Mayor Weinberger.  “I welcome the partnership with the Burlington City Council on this critical effort and look forward to working with Burlingtonians and key stakeholders to advance this work in the months ahead.”


The City’s Net Zero Energy Roadmap identified building emissions as one of the top sectors in which progress was necessary to reduce fossil fuel emissions in Burlington. The Roadmap highlighted efficiency, weatherization, strategic electrification, and the use of renewable fuels as options for reducing emissions in buildings. 


“This presents an enormous opportunity for Burlington to lead the country in addressing the climate crisis, creating jobs, and creating safer, healthier, more affordable homes,” Councilor Hanson said. “Tonight is the first step in developing those incredibly important policies."


Darren Springer, General Manager of Burlington Electric Department, said: “Burlington Electric looks forward to working with the Mayor and City Councilors to advance bold climate policies that are fiscally responsible, practical, and achievable as we work towards our community’s Net Zero Energy 2030 goal. While policy will be critical in our City’s efforts to reduce emissions, Burlington Electric will also continue to provide strong rebates and incentives for our residential and commercial customers to make the switch to clean heating technologies, including cold-climate heat pumps, geothermal heating and cooling, and heat pump water heaters.”


Burlington Electric has worked with the national Building Electrification Institute (BEI) previously, including learning about best practices from other communities advancing building sector policies, and analyzing the economics of Burlington’s Primary Renewable Heating ordinance proposal which was enacted in 2021, and applies to new construction projects. In the future, Burlington Electric looks forward to seeking additional analysis and best practice guidance from BEI in making further policy recommendations under the resolution passed at tonight’s Council meeting. 


Jenna Tatum, Director of the Building Electrification Institute, stated: “BEI applauds Mayor Weinberger, the Burlington City Council, and the Burlington Electric Department for enacting strong policies to phase out fossil fuels across the community. BEI has worked with Burlington Electric staff over the last several years to analyze the local economics of building electrification and to ensure that these are sound policies. The continued leadership of Burlington to accelerate the clean energy transition will help ensure that Burlingtonians benefit from cleaner air and lower energy bills, and will also help inspire other cities and municipalities to take similar steps.”



To read the resolution, click here

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Mayor's Office