Boston's Carbon Cup is Changing Big Business
Boston, Massachusetts is one of our nation's greenest cities. Greenovate, a program created to organize and implement more efficient public works, has been a smashing success thus far and shows no signs of slowing down. It has programs that include: recycling trash to power homes, replacing traditional taxicabs with hybrids, replacing outdated city lights with highly efficient LEDs, and implementing electric motorbikes as transportation. This movement's goal is to reduce Boston's greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. A massive reduction like this, however, needs strong outside participation. That's why the city has decided to reward big businesses for their contributions to Greenovate with the Carbon Cup Award.
What is the Carbon Cup?
Greenovate's Carbon Cup is an award presented to any hospital, university, or commercial building owner that reduces its GHG emissions 35% by 2020. This completely voluntary program has received a lot of buzz as some of Boston's biggest building portfolios have already reduced their emissions by the targeted amount. Boston University, Harvard, Boston General Hospital, and Brigham Woman's Hospital all have won the award and have been recognized as the city's greenest building portfolios. These organizations have set a high precedent for future Carbon Cup winners. With over half of Boston's carbon emissions coming from commercial buildings, there is plenty of room for improvement. If Boston is able to gets most of its top building owners to participate, it can cut its carbon emissions by one hundred thousand metric tons, the equivalent of ten thousand homes.
The program does not only make the city greener, it makes pockets greener as well. Large portfolios see a great decrease in utility costs over time, meaning these projects pay for themselves. The investments made by these heavy hitting organizations in purchasing retrofits and hiring contractors boosts the local economy and creates jobs. This win-win situation has caught the eye of many prospective property owners and the program is projected to grow in the upcoming years. Getting just five to ten building portfolios in the city to participate can save businesses and institutions tens of millions of dollars in utility costs.
Who can Apply?
To be eligible for a Carbon Cup, organizations must enroll at least 1 million square feet of building space, while the program offers additional tiers of recognition to those who enroll between 2-5 million square feet of building space. Boston's Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO) is the group that tracks and reports all information for the participating organizations. By using data dating back to 2005, BERDO is able to set a standard benchmark and discover trends in any organization's carbon emissions.
Read the full guidelines here.
In the long run, Greenovate has the potential to make Boston the greenest city on the planet. This program was developed not only to encourage citizens and businesses to lead a more sustainable lifestyle, but also entice other cities to follow Boston's lead. Here's to hoping for a greener future.