Green Communities/Stretch Code

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There is a single, state-wide Massachusetts building code that is created, promulgated and maintained by the state's Board of Building Regulations and Standards, generally referred to as the BBRS. This eleven-member board reports to the Commonwealth's Department of Public Safety.

The energy efficiency "stretch" code is an optional enhancement, or overlay, to the building code which a community can choose to adopt. This stretch code sets energy performance requirements that must be met for various types of construction projects. Performance requirements, as opposed to prescriptive or process requirements, give builders a target to reach, but allow the builder to decide how to achieve the goal. Performance requirements are quantified in terms of a HERS rating.

While adhering to these performance requirements may increase the cost of construction or renovation, doing so will reduce the overall life-cycle costs of the building or project. In financial terms, building to the code will have a positive net present value. Building under the code will produce a better financial return as well as a more energy efficient structure.

It should also be noted that the stretch code is based on the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC 2009). The IECC 2009 code will in any case be adopted as the base building code by Jan 2010 in Massachusetts. So the stretch code will effectively be only a performance enhancement to the new base energy code.

  • The stretch code is here
  • Note that stretch code for residential construction is entirely contained in the first three pages
  • An earlier PDF of the full stretch code, showing the differences between it and the IECC 2009 code, is here.
  • Adoption announcement from the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety
  • Energy Star BOP package for new homes - for use with renovations and additions.

Adopting the stretch code is a requirement for becoming a Massachusetts Green Community.

  • Once the Town Manager and Board of Selectmen have decided to proceed with the Stretch Code, a vote of Town Meeting is required for adoption.
  • The stretch code can only go into effect on January 1 or July 1 in each community, and there must be 6 months lead time between a vote and the code going into effect.
  • During that period, the current base energy code and the Stretch Code run concurrently.
  • The Green Community requirement is met by the vote to adopt (not on the date of implementation)