Buildings

Buildings and energy industries in Cambridge consume more than half of all energy used in the community and contribute 80% of Cambridge's total GHG emissions, so we need a clear plan for reducing emissions from buildings. Our Net Zero Action Plan outlines polices and programs that influence the two biggest factors in a building's carbon footprint: how much energy that building uses, and where that energy comes from in the first place.Learn More

How You Can Help

Get Your Home or Building on the Net Zero Path

Sign your building up for one of Cambridge Energy Alliance’s programs. The Energy Alliance offers

  • Virtual energy assessments for renters, landlords, and homeowners
  • Energy assessments for small businesses and non-profits
  • Financial help for energy bills and energy improvements for low-income residents
  • Support with heat pumps, solar hot water, and solar PV, too!

Check out MassSave for many more money-saving opportunities for residents, landlords, and business owners.


Get Support for Efficiency in Your Home or Business
Find Cost-Saving Energy Programs

How You Can Help

Keep Your Commercial Building In Compliance

Stay up-to-date on energy use disclosure and green building requirements that may affect you or your building. 

Also, buildings subject to the Building Energy Use Disclosure Ordinance (BEUDO) can take advantage of the Cambridge Building Energy Resource Hub to make building upgrades cheaper and easier.


Get Help with Retrofits for your BEUDO-Covered Building
Review Building Energy Disclosure Requirements
Review Green Building Requirements
Aerial view of commercial buildings in Cambridge

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) are produced when we use energy in our homes and offices, dispose of waste or sewage, and use vehicles. GHGs trap heat in the atmosphere, leading to lasting disruptions in our climate, such as higher temperatures, sea level rise, and more frequent extreme weather events that can cause flooding. Cambridge, along with many other cities, organizations, and businesses, both nationally and internationally, has committed to significantly reduce GHG emissions by 2050 to avoid severe impacts from climate change.

Learn More

How You Can Help

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Throughout our daily lives, we all take actions that produce GHGs. Here are some actions you can take to reduce your contribution to the community's emissions:

  1. Reduce your energy use at home or work. Buildings represent nearly two-thirds of community GHG emissions.
  2. Switch to renewable energy. Clean energy sources produce fewer GHGs than fossil fuels.
  3. Reduce your waste by recycling and composting. Solid waste and incineration accounts for 6.4% of community GHG emissions. 
  4. Prioritize low-carbon transportation. Cambridge residents have many options to get around without a vehicle.


Learn more about residential energy efficiency.
Visit the City's website for information on renewable options.
Learn what can go in your curbside recycling bins.
See how bike, pedestrian, and transit infrastructure can help you get to where you are going.
Electric vehicles can emit up to 99% less pollutants than cars with internal combustion engines.

Energy

Energy is a critical resource that we rely on to go about our daily activities. Unfortunately, our energy use and energy supply is currently unsustainable and causes climate change and environmental degradation. Innovations that allow us to use energy more efficiently and switch to cleaner, renewable fuel sources that can be stored will drastically improve the sustainability of our energy systems.

This page addresses community energy use from our homes, offices, and travel. It also addresses municipal energy use, which includes City-owned facilities, schools, and streets, as well as activities like water and wastewater pumping and solid waste pick-up. 

Learn More

How You Can Help

Explore Clean Energy Options

Programs are available for residents and businesses to install solar panels on their homes or offices. If installing solar panels is not an option, you can purchase 100% renewable energy through the Cambridge Community Electricity Program, or invest in community solar!


Purchase 100% renewable energy.
Go solar through Sunny Cambridge.
Support solar without putting panels on your roof!

How You Can Help

Reduce Energy Use in Your Own Home

There are a lot of opportunities to reduce energy use in your own home, such as switching to LED lights, adding insulation, and buying an Energy Star water heater. 


Mass Save has a lot of information on energy efficiency.
Check out this Video to learn more about residential energy efficiency.

Transportation

Cambridge residents commute by car 1/3 as much as the average American.

Learn More

How You Can Help

How You Can Help


Through the online Bicycle WikiMap tool, Cambridge residents, workforce, commuters, and visitors can provide feedback, input, and suggestions on how our city streets and paths can better support bikers.
A Bluebikes membership can be annual or monthly, and includes unlimited rides for up to 45 minutes. You can borrow a bike from any station and return it to any other station within the system.
Find out which plug-in fits your lifestyle best using this EV selection guide from the Sierra Club
Screenshot of a website with a guide to purchasing electric vehicles

Waste Reduction

The things we throw out have a large impact on our health and the health of the environment. All of the items we put in our waste bins are either sent to a landfill or incinerated, and both processes can pollute our air and water. We can reduce this impact by reducing the total amount of waste we generate, and by making sure that the waste we do generate is separated so that some of the waste can be reused or recycled.

Learn More

How You Can Help

Compost and Recycle Right

Composting and recycling help to minimize the amount of trash that goes to incinerator/landfill, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and yield useful products.


Citywide curbside compost launched April 2, 2018 to all 1-12 unit buildings. If you live in a larger building, please consider using one of the three free drop-off sites for composting.
Use the new Get Rid of it Right tool to look up if you can divert your unwanted stuff.
Image of a dark blue recycling bin against a blurred streetscape

Cambridge Net Zero Action Plan

In 2015, Cambridge adopted the Net Zero Action Plan (NZAP) to serve as a roadmap for achieving carbon neutrality in buildings by 2050. The plan includes strategies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improve energy efficiency, and support renewable energy development. In 2020, the City began a 5-year review to evaluate progress to date and developed an updated NZAP. Explore the page below to learn more about the parts of the NZAP Update and its role in helping Cambridge achieve carbon neutrality. Learn more about the actions in the NZAP 2021 Update below or by downloading the full NZAP 2021 Update Report. For more on the NZAP development process, see the NZAP Project webpage.

Learn More

How You Can Help

Get Your Home or Building on the Net Zero Path

Sign your building up for one of Cambridge Energy Alliance’s programs. The Energy Alliance offers

  • Virtual energy assessments for renters, landlords, and homeowners
  • Energy assessments for small businesses and non-profits
  • Financial help for energy bills and energy improvements for low-income residents
  • Support with heat pumps, solar hot water, and solar PV, too!

Check out MassSave for many more money-saving opportunities for residents, landlords, and business owners.


Get Support for Efficiency in Your Home or Business
Find Cost-Saving Energy Programs

How You Can Help

Keep Your Commercial Building In Compliance

Stay up-to-date on energy use disclosure and green building requirements that may affect you or your building. 

Also, buildings subject to the Building Energy Use Disclosure Ordinance (BEUDO) can take advantage of the Cambridge Building Energy Resource Hub to make building upgrades cheaper and easier.


Get Help with Retrofits for your BEUDO-Covered Building
Review Building Energy Disclosure Requirements
Review Green Building Requirements