Local Newton, Mass State Representative, Ms. Kay Khan, filed Bill H.4477 for the electrification of buildings, new or substantially remodeled early in 2022. The bill will now proceed to the State House and Senate for hearings, testimony, and debate in the coming months. If the bill were to pass and become state law, it would require all new construction homes, single-family, townhouses, multi-family, condos, and commercial buildings statewide to be heated via electrical means rather than utilizing natural gas or oil as is typical for existing homes in the area. This is an important step to reduce our local carbon footprint and dependence on fossil fuels sourced globally.
Bolstering the region’s electric grid with more environmentally friendly power sources like wind and solar will ultimately achieve these goals. As we reported last month. electrification is on the minds of the most progressive green towns in Massachusetts and across the Greater Boston Metro area. In fact, Brookline, Arlington, Lexington, Concord, and Acton have already passed Electrification Home Rule laws preemptively eliminating oil and natural gas as heating fuel sources for new construction homes, buildings, and substantial remodels. Newton too is working on their own Home Rule Petition for Electrification.
Should Bill H.4477 pass, towns all across the state will need to follow suit taking the lead from the state’s progressive cities of Brookline, Lexington, and Arlington that have begun the transition to all-electric sources for heating in homes. Modern advances in heat pump technology over the past decade has been a primary driver in the conversion from gas furnaces, oil-fueled boilers, or electric baseboard heating. Of note, the bill may also apply to cooktops, ovens, and ranges, which too could no longer utilize natural gas, prized in chef’s kitchens. Only time will tell if induction cooktops can fill the void created by the loss of open-flame cooking, and this is an area we will be following curiously.
Representative Kahn shared:
“We are facing a climate emergency. It is imperative that we eliminate the use of fossil fuels as quickly as possible. Natural gas, the most common fuel used for heating, is responsible for very significant emissions and leaks, even when turned off–presenting a danger and potentially aggravating asthma and lung conditions in people who are exposed to them. Taking this step is urgent and critical. The future is now!”