Carbon pollution primarily comes from the burning of natural gas and oil in Winchester for heating and cooking, from fossil-fuel-based electricity generation outside of Winchester, and from the burning of transportation fuels by vehicles registered in Winchester, regardless of where they drive.

Winchester's approach to reducing and eventually eliminating carbon pollution is to electrify everything, especially buildings and transportation. When it comes to buildings, the three key steps a homeowner can take to eliminate carbon pollution are:

  1. Make your home energy efficient (see the "Energy Efficiency" menu item at left);
  2. Electrify everything - space heating, water heating, cooking and clothes drying; and
  3. Use only renewable electricity to power everything.

For example, gas and oil furnaces and boilers can be replaced by highly-efficient electric heat pumps. Gas stoves can be replaced by electric resistance or induction ranges. Gas clothes dryers can be replaced by heat pump or electric resistance dryers. All of these technologies exist right now and all can be good alternatives to your current systems and appliances. In addition, generous financial incentives for many of these systems and appliances are available through the state's Mass Save program, which can make the switch to a more sustainable home inexpensive.

Electrification Resources
An excellent website that contains lots of valuable and easy-to-understand information about all-electric alternatives like heat pumps is the Mass Clean Energy Center's Clean Energy Lives Here website. The website includes a handy downloadable guide, Introduction to the Clean Energy Home, which can be a handy reference guide to keep on-hand as you work to electrify your home and eliminate carbon pollution.

Additional excellent sources of information specifically for heat pumps are the HeatSmart Alliance website, the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership's Air Source Heat Pump Buying Guide, and this video from the Green Energy Consumers Alliance explaining the "What, Where and How Much" of heat pumps.

Financial Incentives
Fortunately, there are significant financial incentives available for homeowners to replace polluting and inefficient heating systems and appliances with all-electric, efficient heat pumps and appliances. Incentives range as high as $15,000 for a ground source heat pump home heating system, with lower but still substantial incentives for a variety of other heating systems and appliances. Click here to view current Mass Save incentives. Federal tax incentives are also available, including a $2,000 tax credit for heat pump installation. This White House website provides a clear overview of federal tax incentives for electrification and energy efficiency. You can also download this IRS fact sheet for more information.

Green Electricity
As noted above, a key step to eliminating carbon pollution attributable to homes is to electrify everything - heating, cooking, hot water, clothes drying - everything. However, for electrification to eliminate carbon pollution, the electricity supplied to your home must itself be generated by carbon-free sources like solar, wind, and hydro-power. The good news is that it is simple to switch to carbon-free electricity by enrolling in the Town of Winchester's green electricity program, WinPower, at the 100% renewable level. You can do so by clicking on this link.

Another way to supply your home with renewable electricity is by going solar - either by installing solar panels on your roof or by joining a community solar program. For more information about either option, click on the "Solar" menu item on the left side of this page.