We believe that the Town Meeting members of the Town of Falmouth should vote YES in support of the adoption of the Stretch Energy Code.
Falmouth faces the dual challenge of preparing our town to withstand the effects of climate disruption while ensuring livable housing for all, including those in affordable housing.
In light of these challenges, choosing to build our new homes as systems that must be resilient to heat and cold, use energy more efficiently, and enable occupants to afford their energy bills makes good, common sense.
The adoption of the stretch code will allow our town to satisfy a key criterion for becoming a Green Community eligible to receive grants and technical resources to enable our municipal and school buildings and operations to reduce fossil-fuel energy use and utility costs. That will save Falmouth taxpayer dollars that can then be devoted to vital services and personnel. Everybody in Falmouth would benefit.
Of the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts, 273 have already adopted the Stretch Energy Code, including 10 of the 15 municipalities on Cape Cod, four on Martha’s Vineyard, and the Town of Nantucket.
A total of 240 Massachusetts cities and towns have already been designated as Green Communities, and are reducing their energy costs and strengthening their local economies with Green Communities resources. It’s time that Falmouth avails itself of those resources as well.
On Monday, September 23, The United Nations Science Advisory Group issued its most dire warnings regarding the state of our climate. The last five years were the hottest on record. The UN Secretary-General António Guterres is calling on all leaders to come forward with “concrete, realistic plans to enhance their nationally determined contributions by 2020, in line with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent over the next decade, and to net zero emissions by 2050.”
Students and adults are marching and calling on leaders to come forward with realistic plans that reflect the sense of urgency the climate crisis demands. If Falmouth wants to be a community where people want to live, especially where young adults want to live, and where they actually can live in the years to come, we need to take action against climate disruption now.
By adopting the stretch code, Falmouth Town Meeting members will be responding with action that makes both economic and environmental sense. Our new buildings will use less energy, cost less to operate, have healthier indoor air quality, and will release fewer greenhouse gasses, which are warming the Earth and driving climate disruption across the planet.
Adoption of the stretch code is consistent with Falmouth’s Local Comprehensive Plan, which says that “The municipality will provide leadership and set the example in carbon footprint reduction” and that “Public policy will promote energy conservation and efficiency technologies and practices” (page 32).
Adoption of the stretch code is consistent with Falmouth’s Climate Protection Action Plan, which says that “the municipal government can be a role model for the entire community” (page 10), and that “Both residential and commercial builders and remodelers should be encouraged to build efficient structures” (page 10).
A Yes on Article 18 is a vote for resilience, affordability, economic prosperity, and environmental sustainability.
Megan C. Amsler
Falmouth Energy Committee