City adopts new Stretch Code

Mayor Carlo DeMaria and the Inspectional Service Department would like to inform all residents that the City has adopted Appendix AA- Stretch Energy Code. The stretch code is an optional appendix to the Massachusetts building energy code that allows cities and towns to choose a more energy- efficient option.

This option increases the efficiency requirements in any municipality that adopts it, for all new residential and many new commercial buildings, as well as for those residential additions and renovations that would normally trigger building code requirements.

The stretch code appendix offers a streamlined and cost effective route to achieving approximately 20% better energy efficiency in new residential and commercial buildings than is required by the base energy code. This is largely achieved by moving to a performance- based code, where developers are required to design buildings so as to reduce energy used by a given percentage below base code, rather than being required to install specific efficiency measures.

Developers have flexibility to choose cost effective and appropriately designed solutions. New residential construction must use the performance- based approach, but residential renovations and most commercial buildings may instead opt to follow a prescriptive route that specifies a set of minimum energy efficiency requirements for different building materials and systems.

In the commercial case these add up to approximately a 20% improvement over the base code. Many of these changes have been endorsed by the federal Department of Energy and are likely to be incorporated into the commercial chapter of the next International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).

The stretch code allows municipalities to take meaningful action on energy use and climate change; it will yield significant cost savings for local residents and businesses, and will increase design and construction firm competiveness in the growing green building marketplace.

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