Climate Response for New Buildings

Hurrah! Most of the larger multi family housing projects planned in Newton are being designed with electric heat pump heating, the appropriate response to the climate emergency, by eliminating the need for burning gas. But many of the new single family homes being built are still installing equipment that burns gas, a fossil fuel.

Electric heat pumps in efficient new construction, in combination with electric-driven induction cooktops, provide high levels of comfort, healthy indoor environments, and excellent cooking temperature control. The climate solutions in new construction are practical, use established technology, and have negligible, if any, cost impact.

Newton has an opportunity to require new construction and major renovations to avoid new gas installation. The route is complicated, needing a decision by our City Council and Mayor, then approval from Beacon Hill. Arlington and Brookline have already begun the process, and I hope we in The Garden City can do the same in coming months. Our leaders in City Hall are taking strong steps for climate action in Newton in many areas and this is an important next initiative.

Newton’s decisions alone will not solve the worldwide climate emergency. However we can continue to lead by example and do our part. I am hopeful that new legislation on Beacon Hill and new leadership in Washington will complement what we do locally. There is an enormous amount to do in the next ten years. Let’s get it done!

Peter J. Barrer

Endicott Street. Newton Highlands

Peter Barrer is a Newton resident and environmental advocate. The letter was published in the Newton TAB on February 3, 2021 and is reprinted with permission by the author.