Energy Efficiency

Burlington Electric to help meet net zero energy goal

Like What You Are Reading?

Please take a few minutes to let us know what type of industry news and information is most meaningful to you, what topics you’re interested in, and how you prefer to access this information.

Vermont’s Burlington Electric Department will take a number of actions to help the City of Burlington achieve a net zero energy goal by 2030.

Burlington, Vermont, Mayor Miro Weinberger, along with Burlington Electric Department General Manager Darren Springer, City Director of Sustainability Jennifer Green, and other stakeholders, recently released the city’s Net Zero Energy Roadmap.

For Burlington, net zero energy means that all its buildings – including residential and commercial – are more efficient and electric, and that land use changes and policies are designed to support less energy use. It also means that all vehicles are powered by 100% renewable electricity and that households reduce their vehicle miles traveled by 15%. 

The Roadmap outlines the steps the city intends to take to reach the net zero energy goal by 2030 and identifies the city’s priorities for getting there:

  • Efficient electric buildings, including weatherization and electrification of space and water heating;
  • Increased adoption of electric vehicles;
  • Implementation of a district heating system for high load buildings that would be difficult to heat solely with electric heat pump systems; and
  • Replacing total vehicle miles with other forms of transportation.

The release of the Roadmap “builds on our community's strong track record on energy efficiency and our accomplishment of being the first city in the nation to source 100% of our power from renewable generation,” Springer said in a statement.

In response to the Roadmap announcement, Burlington Electric Department announced a set of actions aimed at moving it toward the net zero energy goal, including new programs with enhanced incentives for low- and moderate-income customers, as well as new programs to help make electric vehicles more affordable for utility customers, and investments to add more than 20 electric vehicle charging stations at public locations and multi-family buildings.

Springer noted that the programs related to building electrification mark the utility’s first major foray into that sector. “Along with helping to advance the aims of the Roadmap, with appropriate management of grid impacts, these programs can benefit all BED ratepayers by electrifying additional sectors and putting downward pressure on electric rates,” he said.

The building electrification programs include weatherization services (in conjunction with Vermont Gas Systems) and incentives for heat pumps for residential, low-income and commercial customers.

Burlington Electric Department’s efforts to reduce it greenhouse gas emissions began in 2000 with the release of its first Climate Action Plan. Then, in 2014, upon Burlington Electric Department’s purchase of the Winooski One hydroelectric plant, Burlington became the first city in the nation to source 100% of its electricity from renewable generation.

In 2016, Mayor Weinberger announced the net zero goal, and Burlington Electric incorporated the goal into its strategic direction, which was approved by the Burlington Electric Commission.

In the summer of 2018, the Burlington Electric Department issued a request for proposals for a firm to recommend strategies to achieve the net zero energy goal. In November 2018, the utility selected Synapse Energy Economics and its partner, Resource Systems Group, to work with it on developing the Net Zero Energy Roadmap.

“Knowing that moving to Net Zero Energy is good for both our environment and our local economy, the BED team is proud to help spearhead this work in partnership with the Mayor, our City colleagues, and our community,” Springer said.