The City of Burlington is pushing new policies in its effort to meet the city’s Net Zero Energy goal.

In March, Burlington voters will decide whether or not to approve a fee that could impact developers. The policy entails incentivizing downtown developers to make their buildings more sustainable. Under this policy, all new buildings downtown would need to be 100 percent renewable.

Meanwhile, existing buildings would need to use renewable heating or water heating systems to replace older systems. Existing buildings covered in the proposal include city buildings and large commercial buildings over 50,000 square feet.

Developers who can’t follow these requirements would need to pay a carbon pollution impact fee. Proceeds from the fees would go towards clean heating technology for low-income residents, the electrification of city fleets, and towards existing building payers who submit a plan to reduce emission.

“It says okay in those situations where it’s dramatically more expensive to use electric technology, you can use the conventional system to pay a more modest fee which will have other environmental benefits,” says Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger (D). “There are places that just ban fossil fuel infrastructure outright. I think this is the more pragmatic way than the other extreme policies.”

Existing residential buildings, small business buildings and commercial buildings under 50,000 square feet would not be sibject to the the proposed policy. If it passes, the carbon pollution cost will go into effect starting in 2024.