top of page

Transitioning to Net Zero and Renewable Energy

Henry MacLean

On March 6th, Sustainable Milton will launch its four part 2019 Green Home Conversation series at the Milton Library, Enhancing investments in your Home: Pathways to a Net Zero Energy Milton. Net zero energy (or zero carbon) is defined as the total amount of energy used on an annual basis being equal to the amount of renewable energy created/ or used on site.Nearly 40% of U.S. energy is consumed by buildings, and up to 80% in many urban areas. In Milton, 56% of energy is used by our buildings, and 80% of that is just from our homes. A national sea change on this issue was sparked last October by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), telling us we have until 2030 to reverse the trajectory of man made climate change, with a goal of carbon neutrality by no later than 2050. The framework for the Green New Deal announced this month has added focus, calling for a WWII scale mobilization to 100% renewable energy by 2030, using a British think tank study saying fossil fuels can be eliminated in 10 years. Endorsed by contenders for the White House in 2020, it is also supported by the American Institute of Architects, who will be lobbying several congressional committees in DC (this March 6th as well) for ways to achieve these measurable outcomes. Our series begins with Architect Joseph Kennard presenting “ About a Milton Net Zero Energy Home – Building new homes in the age of energy conservation.” For more than 20 years, Kennard Architects has been partnering with families, individuals and corporations to create refined, environmentally conscious, and visually striking designs. Joseph will outline the energy efficient and durability features in a recently completed new Milton zero net energy home. The project features reduced long-term maintenance, well placed high efficiency mechanical systems, effective ways to reduce material redundancy and the number of products necessary to construct the home, all while embracing the structural components as the aesthetic. Like the expected explosion of electric car ownership now just a fraction of this country’s vehicle fleet, the growth trajectory of net zero energy (both new and renovated) buildings is poised to sky rocket in the coming years. In our sessions, we will discuss the added costs, financial incentives and reasonable ROI’s now readily achievable in building a net zero energy home, vs a house to code. While most homeowners don’t think about ROI’s when securing the finishes or fixtures they seek, budgets will play a key role in this energy transition now on its way. This transition away from fossil fuels and towards electric heating and cooling with efficient heat pumps is right in keeping with the municipal electrical aggregation program for the Town. Also known as community choice aggregation, this was approved in May 2018 when Milton Town Meeting authorized the Board of Selectmen to begin R &D and implementation. Currently in MA towns and cities, 34 of these plans are active with another 101 in the approval process. The objectives are threefold: to lower the cost of cost of electricity for residents and businesses,achieve longer term price stability, and offer more renewable energy options. Milton being a member of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), a competitive RFP on behalf of the Town selected Good Energy L.P. as our green municipal aggregation consultant. The process is now progressing to a 2-3 month approval process with the Department of Energy Resources, to be followed by a 6-8 month review and approval protocol with the Department of Public Utilities. In the last few months of this process, Good Energy and the Town will begin a comprehensive information and marketing campaign in Milton to explain the opportunities in the new competitive rates for electricity. This transition to green homes is an investment in cleaning up our environment as it is in our national security, which will no longer be vulnerable to disruption of oil supplies. Replacing coal and gas with renewable energy will also reduce health care costs by supporting a green economy - clean energy, healthy food, pollution prevention, and active transportation - all key in securing human health. So come join us on March 6th to share in these conversations, and see what a net zero energy home in Milton is all about.



bottom of page