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Built Environment

Concord’s Goal: Concord’s buildings and solid waste system minimize GHG emissions and are resilient to a changing climate. 

This involves electrifying and improving the energy efficiency of residential and commercial buildings, setting bold sustainability standards for new municipal buildings and schools, and setting policies and incentives that encourage sustainability and resilient design. 

Existing Buildings

High Efficiency Heating - Heat Pumps

Heat pumps use electricity to move heat from cooler places to warmer places, making the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer. Your refrigerator is a heat pump, moving heat from inside the refrigerated cabinet (cooler place) into your kitchen (warmer place).  

Because it takes far less energy to move heat than it does to create heat, as electric resistance or fossil fuel heating systems do, heat pumps are one of the most efficient home heating systems available. Heat pumps have been used in warmer climates for decades, but in the past decade have undergone a technology revolution and are now a great heat source in cold climates such as New England. There are three kinds of heat pumps - air-source, ground-source, and heat pump water heaters.

In addition to upgrading insulation and sealing air leaks, moving to heat pumps is a critical step to upgrading our heating and cooling systems with high-efficiency technologies that can be sourced with renewable energy, which is why they are also an important strategy in our efforts to transform our Energy system.

heat pump
Orchard House

Historic and Efficient

While Concord has many older homes, there is no reason they cannot maintain their history while also taking advantage of modern ways to operate them. The Orchard House, where Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women, is a perfect example of this balance.

Not only has the Orchard House led the way with ground source energy pumps, but it has updated its space with LED lights, low-flow toilets, and paperless ticketing. Another benefit is that its new heat pump system is quieter than a typical heating system, allowing for a more authentic historic experience in the building.


Managing Waste


Waste comes in many forms: food, clothing, old furniture, yard scraps, paper and plastic, and recyclables to name a few. Concord has a goal to reduce how much waste we produce, as the waste we send to landfills releases emissions as it decomposes. 

In order to be better stewards of the environment, Concord has a goal of increasing its waste-diversion rate, which is how much of our waste we avoid sending to a landfill where it can damage the environment and public health. Concord is currently at a 40% diversion rate and has a goal to increase it to 65% by 2030. Doing so will be a team effort between the Town, residents, and businesses to reduce, reuse, and recycle all waste (in that order!).


Managing Waste

Recycling Rate

Concord residents do well by recycling about 40% of the solid waste they generate. This number has been fairly static over recent years and may reflect that a portion of the waste we generate is not recyclable.

One way to improve the recycling rate would be to limit the consumption of goods that are not recyclable - those that we know, at the time of purchase, will end up as garbage. Reuse is another effective option, especially for items that still have some life in them.

For more information visit the Town Recycling Page.

How You Can Help

Help Make Concord's Buildings More Efficient

Buildings are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Join the Town in taking steps to upgrade to more efficient systems.

Home energy assessments are free help you save energy and money.
Businesses are eligible for rebates too! Find ways to cut your energy costs with CMLP.
Concord Municipal Light Plant offers additional rebates for heat pumps, LED bulbs, weatherization, and more.
Learn about all the ways you can live more sustainably at the Town's page for "Your Sustainable Home Now!"
Keep food waste from the landfill by composting at home while creating nutrient rich soil.
church building in Concord