Make Most MA Government Buildings Renewable Energy Users

Make Most MA Government Buildings Renewable Energy Users

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Kourosh Farboodmanesh started this petition to Massachusetts Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change Chair Marc R. Pacheco and

Dear Members of the Massachusetts Legislature, 

My name is Kourosh Farboodmanesh and I am a 7th grader attending Wellan Montessori School in Newton, MA. However, I live in Wellesley. I have become very interested in climate change and global warming. I wanted to do something about it. I started by talking to the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant about their Voluntary Renewable Energy Program and I pushed to promote it and finally got the answers I was looking for. On January 1st, 2021, the Wellesley Voluntary Renewable Energy Program will become an opt-out program instead of an opt-in program. This makes it so that every Wellesley resident will use renewable energy sources to power their house unless they were to opt-out. I am writing this letter to you because I wanted to take my work on climate change to the next level. My goal is to promote renewable energy usage to make a more habitable planet for my generation. 

I want to propose a bill idea to you to use renewable energy to power the major governmental buildings within our state. These buildings include the State House, City Halls, and Town Halls. Ideally, it would be to install solar panels on these buildings, however, I understand that these buildings are very historical. The option that I want to push for would be to have renewable energy being sent to these buildings just like the Wellesley Renewable Energy Program does. A way to pay for this would be to raise the state excise tax on gasoline. I believe that this is a good way to pay for helping our planet. Firstly, gasoline is one of the biggest polluters in our state and our country, and to increase the tax on it for a cause to help our planet is a double-win. Raising the gas tax will send a message to the citizens of the Commonwealth to be careful about their gas usage and ultimately move towards electric cars while using renewable energy in our federal buildings. 

Below are the calculations that I made. The current state excise tax on gasoline in Massachusetts is 24¢. In 2016, the Commonwealth made $766 Million in Motor Fuel Tax Revenue. After dividing the revenue by the tax amount, I was able to find the gallons of gas that were bought that fiscal year, about 3,191,666,666 gallons. If we were to raise the gas tax by .3¢, the difference would be about an extra $9,575,000 per year for spending.

Based on multiple different sources, for the Massachusetts State House alone, the extra amount to pay for renewable energy sources would be around $1,800 a month extra. These calculations are based on the monthly energy usage of 100,000 kWh. This would be $21,600 extra per year just for the State House to be powered by renewable energy sources. 

Moving on to the rest of the Commonwealth, there are 294 towns and 57 cities in the Commonwealth. If we were to say that each of the city halls and town halls had the same electricity usage as the Massachusetts State House, it would cost a total of $7,581,600 extra a year. Or, $631,800 extra per month to power all of the city and town halls with renewable energy. 

Lastly, we need to combine the State House price and the price of the city and town halls. The total price of this project would come out to be around $7,603,200 extra per year. Again, this is going off of a monthly kWh usage of 100,000 kWh per month for each building. 

Considering that we would raise the gas tax price by three-tenths of a cent, each year this program would be making about $9,575,000. This amount would put us in a surplus of $1,971,800. This surplus could help fund problems that need to be fixed, labor fees, etc. 

The benefits of this bill are tremendous. However, to begin with, if we were to say that each of these buildings were to produce 100,000 kWh a month, each building would give off about 70 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. That is the same as 175,444 miles driven by an average passenger vehicle, 77,906 pounds of coal burned, or 7,956 gallons of gasoline consumed. 

If we were to multiply this number by 351 (the number of cities and towns in the Commonwealth), every month our city halls, town halls, and State House produce around 24,815 metric tons of carbon dioxide. For better terms, these buildings are responsible for about 0.43% of the Commonwealth’s yearly carbon emissions. By changing the supply of energy to our federal buildings from non-renewable to renewable is a small step in the right direction. We can show the country and the world that climate change is real and that we are taking action now. 

Millions of species are dying daily because of the carbon footprint we are leaving on this planet. Last year, the United States of America produced 5,130,000,000 tons of carbon emissions. 36,000,000,000 metric tons of carbon emissions were produced in our world. The US is responsible for 14% of that, this is greater than just our Commonwealth, this is a world problem, and we can be the first to start making change. That is the benefit of this bill. 

Overall, raising the gas tax by just three-tenths of a cent can help us show the country and the world that something must be done about climate change and that we are taking action now. Some numbers can be changed based on exact measurements and if you could get back to me on the exact energy usage of the State House in kWh per month that would help our calculations even more. Climate Change is a cause that needs solutions, and it needs them now. This is a small step, but it is in the right direction. 

I know there are a lot of things on your mind right now and I thank you for your time. 


Kourosh Farboodmanesh

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