The Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) recently upgraded the "base" building energy code, 780 CMR, to be consistent with the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). This upgrade is in accordance with the Green Communities Act of 2008 (GCA), which requires Massachusetts to update its building code every three years to be consistent with the most recent version of the IECC. Effective July 1, 2014, residential construction must comply with the IECC 2012 residential provisions and commercial construction must comply with the IECC commercial provisions or ASHRAE 90.1 2010.
In 2009, Massachusetts became the first state to adopt an above-code appendix to the "base" building energy code-the "Stretch Code" (780 CMR Appendix 115.AA). The Stretch Code, which emphasizes energy performance, as opposed to prescriptive requirements, is designed to result in cost-effective construction that is at least 20% more energy efficient than that built to the "base" energy code.
Municipalities may choose to adopt the Stretch Code in lieu of the base building energy code. Stretch code adoption is mandatory for designation as a " Green Community" under the GCA. As of June 24, 2014, 143 municipalities have adopted the Stretch Code, with more expected in the upcoming months. Building code officials have received free code training.
Massachusetts Energy Code Training
The Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) and the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) are sponsoring training on the building energy code, including the Stretch Code, at various locations around the state. The training is open to both building officials and other building professionals (e.g., builders & architects). Training is free for building officials, and counts toward the new BBRS requirement that building officials be trained in energy efficiency. Other building professionals pay a nominal fee for the training, and may receive continuing education units (CEU's) for attending.
Energy Performance and Codes Compliance Evaluation
Massachusetts is one of five states selected by the Department of Energy (DOE) to measure compliance with energy codes in the residential sector, based on DOE procedures and tools. Beginning in late summer 2010, DOER and the BBRS, in partnership with the investor-owned utilities, the Cape Light Compact, and the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership, piloted an evaluation of residential energy performance that informed how states determine code compliance rates. (As a condition of receiving funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, states must demonstrate a 90% energy code compliance rate by 2017.) This pilot study is part of a larger evaluation that began in 2011 and is sponsored by the investor owned utilities and the Cape Light Compact, of residential energy performance; such information is being used to assess the impact of codes-related activities (e.g., training for builders) on energy performance.
During 2010, the Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP) tracked the Commonwealth's progress and successes as it supported cities and towns to become more energy efficient through the International Energy Conservation Code 2009 Training, Stretch Code, and Green Communities Grant Program. Learn more about why Massachusetts was selected as one of the "Ten Places to Watch in 2010."
This information is provided by the Department of Energy Resources.