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Largest Vermont city plans fossil fuel phaseout in all buildings by 2030

August 09, 2022

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A legislative effort to spur all-electric new construction in Burlington, Vt., has evolved into a broader push to phase out fossil fuel use in all buildings as the state pursues an ambitious 2030 climate goal.

Burlington lawmakers are exploring regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in large commercial buildings, city-owned properties and major renovation projects. The agenda leverages Burlington's recently obtained authority to regulate thermal energy systems. It also expands the city's initial, narrower focus on discouraging fossil fuel combustion in new commercial buildings.

Natural gas in particular is in the crosshairs; Burlington sits at the center of the state's only gas service territory, operated by Vermont Gas Systems Inc., or VGS. It is also the state's most populous city by a wide margin, and its policies could spread to other cities in VGS's territory.

The expanding policy push reflects the city's aggressive climate goals: Burlington is aiming for net-zero emissions from the heating and ground transportation sectors by 2030, with ambitions to eventually eliminate fossil fuel consumption in buildings and vehicles. It also demonstrates how cities are developing diverse approaches to building decarbonization three years into a movement to prohibit gas use in buildings.

[Tom DiChristopher]

More: How Burlington, Vt., plans to decarbonize all buildings by 2030

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