Mayor&Rsquo;S Office

March 2022 - Update on Burlington's Net Zero Energy City Progress, Shelter Pods on Elmwood Avenue

March has been an exciting month of progress on many of the City’s top priorities. I am grateful for voters’ overwhelming support this Town Meeting Day on two key ballot items that will allow the City to transform Main Street and invest in our core City infrastructure. This month, I want to update you on the City’s efforts to become a Net Zero Energy City and how your household can save money if you make the switch to electric, and our plans to address homelessness in our City.


Update on Burlington’s Net Zero Energy City Progress

The Burlington Electric Department (BED) has launched several new programs and rebates that will lower your household or business’s dependence on fossil fuels amidst a potentially lengthy period in which fuel and gas prices are high and unstable. Last week gas prices hit $4 per gallon for the first time in years. At BED charging stations, EV drivers pay the equivalent of $1.46 per gallon. BED customers who recharge at home during off-peak hours pay the equivalent of $0.60 per gallon of gasoline.


Burlington has been making significant progress towards our Net Zero Energy City goals and is well-positioned for an acceleration of this progress, thanks in big part to voters’ overwhelming support of the historic Net Zero Energy Revenue Bond passed in December 2021. We’ve been aggressively pursuing local electrification efforts for years, and electrification finally is gaining broader national attention as one of the most effective strategies to address the climate emergency.


BED has a lot of tools and incentives to help you transition your vehicle, home or business to BED’s all-renewable energy. This transition – often called strategic electrification – is a key component of achieving our Net Zero Energy City goal, and rebates from BED have already helped hundreds of commercial and residential customers to electrify their vehicles and buildings.
These rebates have expanded thanks to voters’ support of the Net Zero Energy Revenue Bond, creating more opportunities for customers to minimize their carbon footprint and save money. BED customers can seek rebates for electric vehicles, heat pumps, induction cookstoves, electric leaf blowers and lawn mowers, electric bikes, and even electric motorcycles. 


Finally, to broaden the local conversation about how important electrification is to addressing the climate emergency, the City is hosting two Net Zero Energy and Electrification Town Hall Meetings in the next few weeks: 


  • Join me and Co-founder and Chief Scientist of Rewiring America, Saul Griffith, Ph.D. for a Town Hall Meeting at 5:00 pm on Wednesday, March 30, to discuss the road to become a Net Zero Energy City - electrify everything! Griffith is a MacArthur Genius Grant winner and co-founder of Rewiring America, a growing nonprofit, working to launch a movement that electrifies everything, starting with our 121 million households.


  • Next, you can join me on Wednesday, April 6 at 5:00 pm for an event with MIT Sloan School of Management Professor John Sterman, Ph.D for a demonstration of the En ROADS Climate Solutions Simulator Tool. I recently participated in one of Sterman’s workshops as part of a mayors conference, and found it to be one of the most memorable, impactful, and actionable conversations about addressing climate change that I have ever experienced. I am excited for more Burlingtonians to be able to share in this interactive learning experience.


To learn more and RSVP for each of these events, visit


Shelter Pods on Elmwood Avenue

In December, I announced a goal of ending chronic homelessness in Burlington by 2025, using the Built for Zero principles. As part of that goal, we are making progress on our plans to build a low-barrier emergency shelter pod community and Community Resource Center on Elmwood Avenue. This shelter village will be a managed, low-barrier shelter for people experiencing homelessness to stay while we work to connect them with permanent housing.


We have purchased 30 modular structures from Pallet Shelter and Up End This, as well as a structure that will house shower and bathroom facilities.


I recently attended a mayors’ conference and learned how many other cities are building these types of villages. The shelter community is not intended to be permanent housing – rather, its purpose is to offer a safe and dignified place to stay while people get connected to housing and related services.