Making Cambridge a national leader in climate protection has been one of my highest priorities, pressing for energy efficiency in all buildings and, as much as possible, using renewable energy.
- Nearly ten years ago, I brought forward the policy requiring all new city buildings to be built as green buildings. Now six major city buildings are green, including City Hall Annex, and the new main library.
- As Chair of the Environment Committee I’ve aggressively sought energy efficiency in all city buildings, residential housing and institutions such as Harvard and MIT. I advocate for CEA (Cambridge Energy Alliance). I proudly support HEET, the non-profit (Home Energy Efficiency Team).
- I led the city to adopt the state’s new stringent energy building code – and to be one of the first communities in the state to require high standards for energy efficiency in new buildings.
- I'm leading the effort to aim to build new and renovated elementary schools as net zero energy schools, producing more energy than they use.
Henrietta’s answers to the 2009 Sierra Club’s questionnaire on climate protection, transportation and recycling.
Energy and Global Warming
1. Municipal Reductions in Greenhouse Gases: Local governments have a clear mandate to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) and advance green initiatives. In light of this, the Sierra Club is interested in the policies and actions that you are proposing to reduce greenhouse gases. See www.climatechoices.org/ne/
(a.) Specifically how do you propose to decrease greenhouse gas emissions within your municipality?
1. I'm organizing to make Cambridge the first city in the state to adopt the state's new stretch energy code for building construction. If passed by the City Council that will go into effect July 2010 making most new buildings more energy efficient.
2. I am supporting the Cambridge Energy Alliance, for example taking the lead to adopt a Home Rule petition that allows the city to contract for large municipal projects.
3.Energy efficiency, waste reduction, and local sourcing (including local food) are policies I'm advocating. Also, more bike, ped and transit options.
(b.) What is your annual goal for this decrease? What is your schedule for this and how will you report your success to voters?
I expect this will be more like the "tipping point." Some big changes will happen together as the city's building stock is transformed. For example, when completed the newly renovated high school will be highly energy efficient, adding to the roster of green buildings in the city. I'm pushing for the most reduction, rather than focusing on measuring.
That being said, I led the City Council to adopt the 80% reduction goal by 2050.
(c.) What have you personally done to reduce your carbon footprint and energy consumption over the past year? What do you plan to do next year?
1. I've begun a process to retrofit my home for energy efficiency, working with the Cambridge Energy Alliance, the local non-profit HEET, and private contractors, replacing doors, weatherstripping, adding insulation, rim-sealing etc.
2. I'm buying more local food, purchased a CSA in the winter.
3. Always trying to leave the hybrid car at home and walk!
4. Next year I'll be purchasing new windows and storms.
5. Always measuring electricity use and turning off the lights and the vampire power eaters.
(d.) What unnecessary government travel will you work to eliminate?
I'll work to eliminate unnecessary government travel.
As a leader in the National League of Cities, I do travel to build national coalitions. As sad as it is for carbon expenditure, it's impossible to replace all face to face meetings.
2. Will you introduce (or support if there’s an existing effort) legislation that requires all new commercial construction - and major commercial renovations – to meet or exceed an equivalent to minimum LEED-type standards? www.serconline.org/grBldg/legislation.html
Yes, I will. Further, I'm leading locally on the adoption of the state stretch energy code, as described above, which uses measures additional to LEED to push particularly for reduction in energy use.
I also convened municipal officials from across the state to advocate for the stretch code.
3. What do you drive? What is your primary method of transportation?
I drive a Honda Civic hybrid. Around town I usually walk or take the T.
4. According to the Department of Environmental Protection, the median recycling rate for the state is 26%. (a.) What is the most recent DEP reported recycling rate for your community? See www.mass.gov/dep/recycle/priorities/munirate.pdf
(b.) If it is below the state average, specifically, how will you bring your rate up to the state average? If it's above the average, how will you increase it further?
I'm promoting efforts to recycle organics from all sectors of the city: schools, homes, business and institutions. I'll be working to have the city offer larger recycle bins.
I'm also advocating to reduce waste by promoting consumer take backs.
5. Has your city banned the purchase of bottled water with municipal funds? Will you introduce legislation to ban using municipal funds to purchase all forms of bottled water? www.sierraclub.org/committees/cac/water/bottled_water/
I introduced a policy so that Cambridge only uses city water for city buildings, but in catering bottled water is often purchased. I’d like to work on a protocol to offer city water a group events—that’s when bottled water tends to be purchased. At least it’s better than soda!
Open Space and Parkland
6. Parkland, play areas, and sports fields are precious commodities, especially in the more densely populated areas of the state. Often, a community that needs land for a new municipal facility, police/fire station, or school, will include these parks in their list of potential sites for municipal development. Will you oppose any effort to take parklands unless (a.) a substitute equivalent space that properly serves the affected community is constructed (aka ‘no net loss’) and (b.) there is no viable alternative?
7. What steps will you take to have the State's five-minute idling law aggressively enforced?
As Chair of the Environment Committee, I've scheduled a hearing on preventing idling. I believe we need more enforcement by the Police Dept. So far enforcement is primarily action on the part of police officers to get people to "move along." I don't believe that's enough of a deterrent.
MBTA: (Boston, Cambridge, Somerville only)
8. What do you think are appropriate and effective municipal responses to significant MBTA service cuts or fare increases?
The MBTA's funding formula is broken. I think cities and towns should press for appropriate long-term funding so that capital expenditures are not crippling the system.
Please describe your public service record on environmental issues. In particular, we are interested in membership and leadership in environmental organizations, work on environmental campaigns, public positions you have taken, and environmental activities you have initiated or actively supported. Also include any additional thoughts and/or reasons the Sierra Club should support your candidacy.
Local: Chair of the City Council Health and Environment Committee
Local: city rep to ICLEI
State: Member, Massachusetts Municipal Association Environment Committee
State: convener of local elected officials for energy efficiency
National: Vice Chair - Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee, of the National League of Cities, previously a member for six years.
Recognition award from Mass Energy for aiding the New England Wind Fund