Needham’s Climate Action Roadmap

The Sustainable Needham Climate Action Roadmap was presented to the Select Board at a public hearing on January, 9, 2024. Nearly 2 years in the making, the Climate Action Roadmap is a set of detailed recommendations for how Needham can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen its resilience to Climate Change.

According to the Town, “the roadmap is the result of extensive research, community engagement, and collaboration with various stakeholders and outlines specific targets, milestones, and actionable strategies across all sectors of our community.”

The Roadmap focuses on 6 key areas: Clean Energy, Net Zero Buildings, Transportation, Natural Resources and Waste, Governance, and Resilience and Public Health. It calls for a collective effort by the Town, businesses, community organizations, and individuals to achieve Net Zero and resiliency goals.

How did we get here?

In 2021 Green Needham, joined by the Needham League of Women Voters and Mothers Out Front Needham, developed the proposal to the Select Board that resulted in the establishment of Needham’s Climate Action Planning Committee (CAPC). The Select Board constituted the CAPC in March 2022 and charged the group with guiding the development of a Climate Action Roadmap.

The CAPC consisted of five interested residents, one member of the Planning Board, one member of the Conservation Commission, and two Select Board members, assisted by DPW staff.

Setting a Baseline

  • A Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory was completed in 2022
    • Greenhouse gas inventory (GHG) inventory sets the baseline and tells us about the makeup of Needham’s GHG Emissions.
    • Initiated by Green Needham in 2021, using the MAPC analysis tools. Inputs came from:
      • Town energy use data
      • Discussions with Town Staff
      • Public data sets

What the baseline showed

Needham Greenhouse Gas Inventory
  • 89% of emissions come from three types of sources – Residential buildings, Commercial and Industrial Buildings and Passenger Vehicles
  • Town buildings and vehicles only contribute 2.4% of Needham’s emissions


CAPC Steps in Creating the Roadmap

  • Finalized the Greenhouse Gas Inventory
  • Reviewed the Climate Action materials from peer towns
  • Learned from their methods, processes and recommendations
  • Had discussions with the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission (MAPC) and others about the process of developing a Climate Action Roadmap
  • Worked with consultant Kim Lundgren Associates, Inc.
  • Hired 3 interns
  • Engaged stakeholders (e.g.: Town departments, businesses, Eversource)
  • For each of the 6 focus areas, organized working groups of stakeholders to create and prioritize a list of goals and actions
  • Created a 30-member Sustainable Needham Advisory Group to further refine the plan

Progress made before completion of the plan. 

  • With authorization from the October 2022 Special Town Meeting, the Town has created a municipal electricity aggregation plan, Needham Power Choice, which will be submitted for approval in early 2024. Read more.
  • October 2023: The Needham Special Town Meeting opted in to the Specialized Building Code, which affects new construction. Read more.
  • December 2023: The Town hired its first Sustainability Manager.



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