Building Electrification

By 2030, Westborough will eliminate systems that utilize fossil fuel sources (i.e., oil, natural gas, liquid propane) for space heat and hot water in at least 20% of all buildings.


The largest single source of Westborough’s GHG emissions (36%) are generated from residential, commercial, and industrial buildings that provide space heat from fossil fuels, primarily fuel gas or heating oil. 

To electrify buildings in a strategic and cost-effective manner is challenging, as it relies on private property owners to decide to convert to an air sourced heat pump or alternative carbon free system when their fossil fuel-based system fails or reaches the end of its service life. 

The relatively long life of HVAC equipment, often 20-30 years, means that equipment installed in the 2020s may still be in service by 2050. When a furnace or boiler reaches end-of-life today, homeowners will typically replace it with a high efficiency fossil fuel space heat or hot water system that meets current building energy codes. However, that “new” system will continue to generate emissions, and the property owner may be forced by net zero energy codes enacted in the future to convert to an electrified system. 



To achieve the emissions reduction goal for buildings, Sustainable Westborough will support regulatory changes and programs that assist all property owners to electrify new and transition existing buildings away from systems that currently use on fossil fuels. There are three main strategies:

  • Adopt building codes and zoning bylaws to ensure heat and hot water systems are 100% carbon free.

  • Promote State subsidy programs that reduce property owner out-of-pocket costs for installing 2050-compliant heating systems

  • Promote Ground Source Heat Pumps to Commercial & Industrial oil and gas customers.

  • Explore emerging technologies which reduce building GHG emissions



Building Heating accounts for approximately 36% of the community’s greenhouse gas emissions. Massachusetts established a target for the building sector of 48% reduction in GHG emissions below the 2017 level by 2030. Westborough will also lower the annual GHG emissions in its building sector by 48% to about 45,500 MT CO2e by 2030.  This target will be achieved through Building Electrification and Building Energy Efficiency.




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