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Policy & Advocacy Working Group

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The CLF Policy and Advocacy Working Group's mission is to:


  • Grow embodied carbon policy awareness and education efforts throughout our local municipalities, state, and larger region with the goal of more policies being implemented.

  • Help to ensure and facilitate coordination on embodied carbon policy across MA municipalities and state agencies.

  •  Work on alignment of embodied carbon policy with new state climate legislation.

  • Stay up to date on new policies, incentives and implementation programs across the country to provide case studies and inform new policy in MA.

Interested in learning more? Want to help advocate for embodied carbon policy? Click the link below to sign up or check the events calendar for our next meeting!

Latest Legislation and Ongoing Initiatives

  • Issued by MA Governor Baker in April of 2021 and directs efforts to reduce gas emissions in Massachusetts facilities.

  • Update to previous ‘Leading by Example’ Executive Order No.484, adopted in 2007.

  • In support of the statewide goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050; to be achieved through -

1.     Advancing high performance buildings for new construction;

2.     Expanding energy efficiency and decarbonizing fuels in existing buildings;

3.     Acquiring fuel efficient and zero emission vehicles and

4.     Continuing the deployment of new renewable energy.

  • Section 3: For new construction and major renovations for state agencies over 20,000 SF, “Evaluate and implement strategies to reduce embodied carbon contained in building materials, where possible and cost-effective.”

As an offshoot of the work of the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Zero Net Carbon Building Zoning Initiative embodied carbon TAG, Boston launched the Mass Timber Accelerator grant program. Funding for the Boston Mass Timber Accelerator program came from the USDA Forest Service, the Softwood Lumber Board, ClimateWorks Foundation and technical assistance from Woodworks. The Boston Society for Architecture (BSA), whose mission includes work in the areas of climate and equity, and is a longstanding partner with the City of Boston, joined the BPDA as a program partner to facilitate the mass timber accelerator.


 The goals included raising public awareness about the benefits of using mass timber and introducing more local practitioners to mass timber construction. Each project selected was awarded a $25,000 grant to study mass timber as a lower embodied carbon structural solution, and alternative to their already proposed concrete and steel building. 

As part of Boston’s 2019 Zero Waste Plan and work to incorporate construction and demolition waste into that plan for the first time, the City of Boston Environment Department launched a Building Deconstruction Pilot Program. 


The City partnered with Recycling Works who are providing technical assistance to project teams.

Five pilot projects were selected and are working with RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts to develop plans that identify opportunities for deconstruction and recycling or reuse of building materials. The Environment Department developed a Deconstruction One Pager in order to increase awareness of adaptive reuse, deconstruction and the wide variety of forms it can take. The one-pager includes several prior case studies of deconstruction projects in Massachusetts 

Links for more information:

Zero Waste Boston

RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts

A proposal to address embodied emissions was made by the Cambridge City Council towards the end of 2021 and an amendment to the zoning code was finally approved in March 2023. Accounting of embodied carbon is now included in Article 22- Green Building Requirements of the code. 


In the first phase, the amendment applies to special permit projects that are over 50,000 square feet, however the requirement provides an exemption for projects that will house residential units. At this time, there is only a reporting requirement for data collection purposes, but in the future, as described in the Net Zero Action Plan, Cambridge plans to use the data to create baselines and then develop embodied carbon reduction requirements as a series of phased in targets over time. 

The City of Newton became the 2nd city in MA (after Cambridge) to require projects to calculate and report embodied carbon in projects.

  • Newton now requires projects over 20,000 SF with a special permit to calculate and report the embodied carbon of their projects

    • Right now, all projects in Newton over 20,000 SF need to go through the special permitting process so this will affect a good amount of projects

  • The city council unanimously passed the bill and is now incorporated into zoning language

    • To get the permit, teams will need to (early in the design process) have a discussion on how they will submit the embodied carbon data along with construction documents

      • There will be a second submittal at the time of permitting where they will need to report the embodied carbon of their project and compare it against a baseline for the type of project that it is. Local baselines are not yet defined, so in the meantime they will use CLF benchmarks.

Links for more information:

City of Newton Special Permit

Latest advocacy in progress


MA State 

At the state level, three embodied carbon bills were introduced in the Massachusetts House and Senate in February 2023. Members of the CLF Boston/Northeast Hub Policy & Advocacy group, partnered with the Massachusetts Climate Action network (MCAN), dedicated many hours to attending legislative and media briefings, giving public testimony at legislative hearings and answering questions from legislators and their aides on the importance of embodied carbon in building-related policy. The house and senate committees are determining whether the bills will move forward by the end of the session in early 2024.


(S. 2090/H. 764) An Act Incorporating Embodied Carbon into State Climate Policy

The MA state climate chief to establish an advisory board for all aspects of embodied carbon, not just procurement. Asks the Advisory Committee to make recommendations including a schedule for incorporating embodied carbon provisions into the DOER stretch code


(H. 3035 / S. 1981) An Act requiring state procurement of low-carbon building materials

Eligible materials include: (i) asphalt and asphalt mixtures; (ii) cement and concrete mixtures; (iii) glass; (iv) post-tension steel; (v) reinforcing steel; (vi) structural steel; (vii) wood structural elements; (viii) insulation; or (ix) other materials the division designates by rule after consultation with the technical advisory committee.

Eligible projects include a building project for which a state agency issues a solicitation on or after January 1, 2024.


(S. 1982) An Act relative to the use of low-embodied carbon concrete in state projects

Establishes minimum standards for low embodied carbon concrete used by contractors and subcontractors working on state projects


Local Municipal Level


City of Boston

In September 2020, the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) launched the Zero Net Carbon Building Zoning Initiative to assess and identify strategies to strengthen the existing green building zoning requirements to a zero net carbon standard for new construction. To begin the zoning amendment process, the City of Boston assembled four different technical advisory groups as part of its process to revise the current Article 37 green building zoning ordinance. There were TAG’s for 1) Low Carbon Buildings, 2) On-site Renewable Energy, 3) Renewable Energy Procurement and 4) Embodied Carbon.


Members of the CLF Boston/Northeast Hub participated in the embodied carbon technical advisory group from fall 2020 to fall 2022, which developed a set of recommendations and implementation pathways to address embodied carbon in the City’s zoning revisions for the first time. The final draft of the Zero Net Carbon Zoning amendment is currently being aligned with the new MA stretch energy code and is still in development.



Policy case study resources

CLF Embodied Carbon Policy Toolkit

Pacific Coast Collaborative Embodied Carbon Policy Case Studies

Coming Soon… Northeast Embodied Carbon Policy Case Studies!

Upcoming & Past Meetings

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