Sustainable Buildings - Fossil Fuel Free

last updated: 3/10/2023 (most recent documents on top)

  • Spring 2023 Warrant Article to participate in Fossil Fuel Free Demonstration Program
  • See Warrant Articles 22, 24, 25 and 27 related to this topic taken up at Fall 2022 Special Town Meeting 
  • 8/11/2022 - Following a home rule petition, Governor Baker signed an Act Driving Clean Energy and Offshore Wind, including provisions for 10 communities to pilot local bylaws regarding fossil fuel free construction. The Department of Energy Resources is authorized to set regulations for this pilot "demonstration project."
  • 2/25/2022 - The Attorney General's negative ruling on Fall 2021 Fossil Fuel Zoning Amendments (WA 25 and 26)
  • Warrant Article drafts (8/24/2020)
  • Recommendation regarding Resolution & Zoning Incentive from Planning & Community Development to Select Board (dated 8/21/2020)
  • Comment letter regarding Zoning Incentive from Linda Olson Pehlke to Select Board Climate Action Committee (dated 8/19/2020)
  • Reference from Alan Leviton regarding Resolution to Select Board Climate Action Committee (dated 8/19/2020): Note the Climate Action Plan includes under ENERGY EFFICIENT BUILDINGS, Buildings 25,000 sf+: "Devise Green Building Guidelines / Sustainable Site Guidelines as an amendment to Zoning Bylaw to increase energy efficiency and sustainability measures in major impact projects (new and renovated). Establish a streamlined and fast-tracked permitting process as well as reduced or eliminated needs for new construction and major renovations that include renewable energy or energy efficiency features."  
  • Request from Cunningham-Weissbourd-Gray to Select Board (presented at 8/11/2020 Select Board)


WA 21:  Prohibition on New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure in Major Construction (Proposed By-Law)

last updated: 8/24/2020

This By-Law passed by at the November 2019 Special Town Meeting by a vote of 211 in favor, 3 against, and 6 abstentions. Effective no earlier than January 1, 2021, it will require non-fossil fuel systems in new construction and gut rehabilitation projects in Brookline. 

There are several exemptions including repairs to existing systems deemed unsafe or dangerous by the Plumbing & Gas Fitting Inspector, piping required to fuel backup electrical generators, piping required for cooking appliances and related appliances, portable propane appliances for outdoor cooking and heating, centralized hot water systems in buildings with at least 10,000 square feet that can certify that no commercially available electric hot water heater exists for the required hot water demand for less than 150% of installation or operational costs, any building subject to a Waldo-Durgin Overlay District Special Permit, research labs for scientific or medical research, and medical offices regulated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health as a health care facility. The requirements also do not apply to utility service piping connecting the grid to a meter, or to a gas meter itself. Finally, the article does not apply to the extension or modification of heating systems so long as new fossil fuel piping is not installed. There is also a waiver process that may be sought on the grounds of financial infeasibility or impracticality of implementation.

On July 21 2020, the Attorney General disapproved this warrant article. See "FFF: FALL 2020" section above related to citizen-petition for relating fossil fuel free construction, including with public benefits in the Zoning Bylaw.  

Past Public Meetings & Hearings

11/19/19, November Special Town Meeting Begins (multiple nights)

11/4/19, Economic Development Advisory Board

10/24/19, Advisory Committee - Planning & Regulation Subcommittee, continued hearing

10/17/19, Planning Board - Public Hearing

10/10/19, Planning Board - Discussion (public meeting, but does not include a public hearing)

10/7/19, 7:00 PM: Economic Development Advisory Board  (WA21 vote on advisory memo

10/7/19, 8:30 PM:  Preservation Commission

10/4/19, 10:15 AM:  Community Feedback Sessions co-hosted by the Town's Sustainability Office and the Economic Development Advisory Board (A copy of the presentation slides shared by the co-petitioner can be found here.)

10/2/19, 7:00 PM:  Advisory Committee - Planning & Regulation Subcommittee

10/1/19, 7:30 PM:  Select Board

10/1/19, 8:40 PM:  Housing Advisory Board

9/25/19, 6:30 PM:  Preservation Commission

9/25/19, 10:00 AM:  Community Feedback Session co-hosted by the Town's Sustainability Office and the Economic Development Advisory Board.

9/16/19, 7:00 PM:  Economic Development Advisory Board - discussion, Public Hearing - no votes were taken.

9/9/19, 7:00 PM:  Economic Development Advisory Board - general discussion meeting about all Town Warrant Articles to determine which would be heard at a Public Hearing at a later date. This was not a Public Hearing and no votes were taken.

Community sessions targeted for real estate developers, property owners, and building trade professionals (and open to the general public) were held at Town Hall on August 20th and 22nd, 2019. The draft article reviewed at that time was posted on this page on August 12th and is still available for reference here