Baker Signs Executive Order to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

As part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s celebration of Earth Week in Massachusetts, Gov. Charles Baker last week joined state and local officials at the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) bunker to sign a new Executive Order building on the Administration’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across state facilities.

The Order, Leading by Example: Decarbonizing and Minimizing Environmental Impacts of State Government, sets goals and requirements to accelerate the state’s decarbonization efforts in state agencies and public institutions of higher education, prioritizing electrification of buildings and transportation. The Order builds on the Commonwealth’s national leadership on climate change, including an announcement by Governor Baker that the Administration has met its commitment to invest $1 billion in climate spending by 2022, surpassing that benchmark in April 2021.

“Addressing climate change requires bold, urgent action, which is why I am proud that our Administration has achieved an ambitious goal of investing $1 billion in climate adaptation and mitigation efforts, an accomplishment we will continue to build on through this Executive Order,” said Baker. “The Leading by Example Executive Order will boost the state’s adoption of innovative clean energy strategies, and I’m grateful for the efforts of our state agencies and institutions to help us take on the challenge of climate change.”

The Executive Order reinforces Massachusetts as a leader in emissions reduction efforts through a variety of strategies. To reduce emissions and increase energy resilience, the Order underscores the need for significant energy efficiency measures across the state portfolio, as well as the deployment of renewable energy and energy storage at multiple facilities. Additionally, the Order:

•Requires all new construction at state agencies and campuses to meet stringent energy performance standards, install high efficiency heating and cooling systems, and meet DOER’s new Specialized Stretch Energy Code when it is promulgated.

•Requires all state fleets to buy zero-emission vehicles starting next year.

•Requires the doubling of electric vehicle charging stations installed at state facilities by 2030.

•Establishes specific and measurable emission reduction targets associated with building and vehicle fossil fuels consumed by state entities.

•Requires agencies to incorporate emissions reduction strategies into all budgetary and planning efforts.

•And requires state agencies to appoint Leading by Example coordinators in support of the Executive Order’s goals.

Gov. Baker was joined by Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides, Department of Energy Resources (DOER) Commissioner Patrick Woodcock, and Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) Commissioner Carol Gladstone. The MEMA bunker features a comprehensive energy efficiency and renewable energy project completed in 2020, overseen by DCAMM and partially funded by DOER’s Leading by Example Program.

Through the Leading by Example Program, state entities have collectively reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 35 percent from a 2004 baseline, reduced heating oil use by 85 percent, eliminating more than 18 million gallons of fuel oil, and reduced energy use per square foot by 14 percent. Since 2015, state entities have installed 184 electric vehicle charging stations, deployed more than 20 MW of solar, created 42 new pollinator-friendly habitats, and completed 57 LEED Certified buildings, 35 of which achieved a Gold or Platinum rating.

The MEMA bunker is the site of a comprehensive energy efficiency and renewable energy project, which includes a state-owned 275 kW parking lot solar canopy. The project will generate 376,000 kWh of renewable electricity annually and result in an estimated $100,000 in annual benefits to the site from electricity cost savings, Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program incentive payments, and demand charge savings. Over 20 years, the project is estimated to provide the site with roughly $2 million in total cost savings and generated revenue. The project received a $453,750 DOER Leading By Example grant, which reduced the construction cost by approximately 27 percent, reducing the project’s payback period by four years.

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