City of Boston

At a Glance


Government/Public Administration

Project Type

Sustainability and Energy Management Strategy




Boston, MA


Renzo Mendoza helped the City of Boston progress towards increased uptake of district energy and co-generation.


The City of Boston's 2014 Climate Action Plan (CAP) Update set a goal to expand district energy (DE) and co-generation as a strategy for lowering greenhouse gas emissions and increasing resiliency. Specifically, the city looked to leverage the existing steam-based, district thermal system. The City of Boston welcomed the capabilities of Renzo Mendoza because they had a special project he could help with involving stakeholder outreach. Mendoza was to conduct a study to help the City of Boston understand the perception, treatment and planning of DE in the real estate development and planning processes germane to the private sector and City government.


Mendoza conducted interviews with developers and other industry stakeholders to gather their perspectives on key stages of the development process for DE systems. After analyzing the responses, he determined that developers were not sufficiently aware of the existing benefits from the Veolia steam system orany potential resiliency benefits from onsite combined heat and power.

Mendoza then analyzed the existing development review process for the Boston Redevelopment Authority to look for opportunities to further promote different kinds of DE. Mendoza identified that decisions regarding DE take place very early in the development process and are, thus, hard to influence. A subset of Mendoza’s interviews focused on campus-scale DE systems not located in the existing steam system territory. Stakeholders suggested that the City could provide incentives for being pioneers in new forms of DE adoption.

Potential Impact

At the end of the fellowship, Mendoza presented his key findings and recommendations to senior leadership at the City of Boston and the Boston Redevelopment Authority. His recommendations added much needed detail to the City’s approach for achieving the steam and DE goal established by the 2014 CAP Update. With a significant amount of development taking place within the range of the steam system in Boston, achieving the DE goal is imcreasingly important. As the City assesses how to incorporate DE and microgrids into the citywide Imagine Boston 2030 plan with an eye towards greenhouse reduction and community resiliency, Mendoza’s findings should guide policy makers on how to secure industry buy-in for the necessary incorporation of DE in the planning and economic development process.

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