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Boston's mayors keep it green

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As Boston celebrates its 234th birthday this year and first new mayor in 20 years, the city is stepping up its Green Building initiatives. For many of us living in the many historic, yet inefficient buildings that grace the city's landscape, this environmental consciousness is good news!

A key driver of green in Boston is the City Council's approach to the new building boom ushered in under the administration of (now former) long time Mayor Thomas ('Tom') Menino. Under his oversight, Boston became the first city to require all large scale projects meet the U.S, Green Building Council's LEED certification standards.

Menino also created the Renew Boston initiative with the goal of reducing electricity consumption by 200 megawatts and reducing green houses gases by 60% by 2050. The program is not just aimed at commercial development. Menino also initiated a residential program backed by a $3,000 per home subsidy for insulation upgrades and a $250 grant for wiring upgrades.

The dedication to turning Boston's considerable academic and political resources to green is paying dividends with Boston achieving the highest score (76.75 out of 100) of all American cities in the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy's recent ranking. Portland, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Austin also received scores of more than 60 points.

Will incoming Mayor Martin ('Marty') Walsh keep pace with his predecessor? Apart from the apparent dislike Menino and Walsh have for each other, they share a strong attitude toward reducing energy costs.

After calling city hall plaza "dirty" (not something that would endear him to Menino), Walsh campaigned on a promise to bulldoze the 1968 complex and replace it with an energy efficient green environment. So the green building momentum should continue into the next term as least. 2050 here we come!

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