Overview

Municipal energy use measures the energy use reductions from all municipal operations including heating schools and City-owned facilities, lighting the streets, pumping water, and driving trash trucks to pick up waste. In Cambridge, buildings use the majority of our overall energy consumption. The City’s efforts to reduce energy use from all sectors saves money and minimizes our impact on the environment.

Cambridge has established a goal to power 100% of its municipal operations with renewable electricity, with at least 5% being supplied by renewables on site.

MMBTU

Million British Thermal Units

Energy from different sources is measured in different ways – electricity is measured in kWh, natural gas in therms, oil in gallons. We can convert these different measures into a common measure- million British Thermal Units (MMBTU) -to better understand and compare total energy use.

Our Data
  • 307,981

    MMBTU

    2008

    Baseline
  • 286,960

    MMBTU

    2012

  • 289,662

    MMBTU

    2015

Our Data
2008

Baseline

307,981

MMBTU
2012

286,960

MMBTU
2015

289,662

MMBTU
Charts & Graphs

Municipal Energy Use

This graph shows the total amount of energy the City has used since 2008, by fuel sources. Most of the energy we use goes to operating our municipal buildings, and although we actually increased municipal square footage by 25%, energy use still decreased by 6%.

 

This graph shows how Cambridge has changed the fuel it uses to power our City since 2008. We have reduced our consumption of oil by 65%, which emits a lot of GHGs, and have significantly increased the amount of solar energy used as we continue to put them on the rooftops of our buildings.

We look at energy use by sector to determine how much energy is used in each type of operation so that we can identify opportunities for reductions. Like many other Cities, our buildings are the biggest consumers of the energy we purchase. The City of Cambridge has taken many actions to reduce energy use from our facilities and while our building stock as grown 25% we only increased our consumption by 1%.

View Data Sources Here

  • Even though the total square footage in the City’s building portfolio increased 25%, the City still managed to reduce its total energy use by 6%, due to more efficient use of energy.

  • Success Story: The City reduced its electricity use by converting 6,578 streetlights to LED bulbs, and remotely controlling an automatic dimming schedule. This reduces the electricity used in street lighting by 80%.  

  • Between 2008 and 2015, the City reduced its energy use 6%, but the GHG emissions from energy use went down by 20%. In addition to reducing energy use, we also switched the kind of energy we use, which reduces emissions from energy even more. For example, several municipal buildings were rebuilt to use less energy, which reduced GHG emissions.  But they also had solar installed on the roof, which produces electricity with zero GHG emissions.

  • Even though the total square footage in the City’s building portfolio increased 25%, the City still managed to reduce its total energy use by 6%, due to more efficient use of energy.

Follow the City's Lead

  • 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. MassSave has a lot of information on this topic. Check out this video to learn more about residential energy efficiency.

    More Information
  • Switch to Renewable Energy

    Programs are available for residents and businesses to install solar panels on their homes or offices – check out Mass.gov for technical and financial resources to help you go solar. If installing solar panels is not an option, you can purchase 100% renewable energy through the Cambridge Community Electric Program.

    More Information
  • Consider an Electric Vehicle

    The city encourages residents and employees to walk, bike, ride public transit, and carpool rather than driving alone. These are all environmentally better choices than driving alone. But if you drive alone, electric vehicle technology is an improvement over the internal combustion engine (ICE). Battery powered electric vehicles do not emit any pollution at the tailpipe, though there are emissions associated with the generation of the electric grid. Despite this, electric vehicles can emit up to 99% less pollutants than ICE vehicles. Check out all the incentives that exist to buy or lease an electric car.

    More Information
Recent Updates for Cambridge
Better Bus Project

The City is seeking feedback on bus service challenges and ideas for improvements from more of the residents, workers and visitors in the Cambridge community, including you!

Full Article
Curbside Composting in Cambridge!

The Curbside Compost Program will expanded to all buildings with 1 to 12 units on April 2. Food scraps and compostables are picked up weekly on the same day as trash and recycling.

Full Article
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