Natick has launched what it’s calling an online open house to get your feedback on draft actions being explored by the town’s Sustainability Committee to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The town has been taking an inventory of its emissions over the past year or so to establish a baseline it’s using to formulate a plan.
The information and interactive online open house is a pretty slick visual presentation. Not surprising in that Natick has been working with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, which is great at pumping out data visualizations that tell stories.
Natick Town Meeting voted in the fall of 2018 to support a non-binding resolution to shoot for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. If the town is still spewing out bad stuff by then, then it’s vowing to offset it with good stuff.
I haven’t had a chance to ramble through the entire online open house yet, which dives into topic such as transportation, energy sources, and home and business energy use.
But even during my quick spin through the site I learned a few things. For example, I was surprised to learn that municipal facilities and equipment account for such a relatively small percentage of overall emissions:
“Municipal emissions do typically account for only a small portion of a community’s emissions,” says Jillian Wilson-Martin, Natick’s sustainability coordinator. She says it makes sense when you consider what municipal emissions include:
- energy used to power about 25 municipal and school buildings
- energy used for street, park and traffic lights
- energy used for water and sewer operations
- fuel for municipal vehicles
- municipal solid waste (though you could argue that is really the attributable to residents given they generate the waste, the municipality just collects it)
“If you think about how much energy that takes versus the energy consumed by 14,500 homes, it is easy to see how the municipality’s emissions fit into the bigger picture,” she Wilson-Martin says.