In the face of much hand wringing about climate change, little will be done unless it makes economic sense, as wildly uneconomical regulations will not survive the election after they are enacted. We will have to rely on technical fixes for much of our carbon reduction. Much has already been done in the electric power industry to cut the carbon emissions from generating electric power but more can be done by adding infrastructure to recycle the otherwise wasted heat from power plants for use to heat buildings.
While the City of Boston is introducing more stringent energy regulations into the Boston Building Code, more can be done, and in particular, I believe that buildings which get variances from the Zoning Code, should pay for the benefits conveyed to the developer by the City, by building to a higher standard than required by Code. If an increase in area is requested via a zoning variance, then the total energy used by the proposed building should be no more than the energy used by a building of area permitted by the zoning code designed to the Boston energy code.
Robert W. Timmerman PE, CEM, LEED AP