Patrick-Murray Administration Announces over 100 Massachusetts Municipalities have Adopted Nation-Leading Energy Efficient Building Code Requirements
BOSTON — Monday, November 14, 2011 – The Department of Energy Resources (DOER) today announced 101 municipalities across the state have adopted new energy efficiency standards for residential and commercial construction in their communities. On October 27, the Town of Maynard became the 100th municipality to adopt the standards and on November 7, the Town of Shirley became the 101st.
With the Stretch Code now adopted in 101 communities, more than 2.9 million people - over 44 percent of the Massachusetts population - reside in communities that have adopted energy efficiency building standards.
“Thanks to these communities, Massachusetts is leading the nation in energy efficiency,” said Governor Patrick. “These communities serve as a model for other municipalities seeking to increase energy efficiency and lower operating costs.”
Massachusetts was recently ranked first in the nation in a report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) for its energy efficiency policies and programs, with Massachusetts topping California for the first time since the ranking was published four years ago. Building Energy Codes was one of the categories in the ACEEE report where Massachusetts was awarded a maximum score, helping establish the Commonwealth as the top ranked state in the country.
"I am impressed not only by the number of cities and towns that have adopted the Stretch Code across the Commonwealth, but also by their variety. From large cities like Springfield, Worcester and Boston to small towns like Montague, Sudbury, and Becket, the Commonwealth's municipalities are showing they are ready to cement our place as a national clean energy leader," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr.
Adoption of the nation leading energy efficient "Stretch Code" satisfies one of five criteria cities and towns must meet to be designated as "Green Communities" under a DOER program that has distributed more than $15.6 million in grants to renewable energy and energy conservation grants to eligible communities.
The optional Stretch Code is an appendix to the Massachusetts Building Code approved by the Board of Building Regulations and Standards in May 2009. In communities that adopt it, the Stretch Code increases the energy efficiency code requirements for all new residential and many new commercial buildings, as well as residential renovations and additions that would normally trigger building code requirements.
Requiring approximately 20 percent greater energy efficiency than the existing base energy code in new residential buildings and 20 percent in new commercial buildings, the Stretch Code will produce significant energy cost savings for local homeowners and businesses that occupy these buildings. The code appendix applies to all residential buildings from single family homes up to and including buildings three stories or less of any size, and many kinds of new commercial buildings over 5,000 square feet, but excluding facilities with unusual energy usage requirements such as supermarkets, laboratories and warehouses up to 40,000 square feet.
"Maynard is proud to have the distinction of being the 100th community in the Commonwealth to adopt the stretch code. Adopting the stretch code, along with our other efforts towards becoming a Green Community, is just further evidence that Maynard is among the leaders in promoting energy efficiency strategies and energy savings awareness,” said Maynard Board of Selectmen Chair David Gavin.
The City of Newton, which voted to adopt the building standards in November of 2009, was the first municipality in the state to adopt the Stretch Code.
“Striving to reach the highest standards of energy conservation is an important part our long term sustainability in Newton and across the Commonwealth,” Newton Mayor Setti Warren. “I am proud that Newton was the first community to adopt the stretch code and even more proud that just over a year later we are celebrating Maynard, the 100th community to adopt the stretch code. Changing the way we think about energy use not only saves tax payer dollars but also creates a healthier environment for future generations”
Many of the changes first adopted in the Stretch Code have since been endorsed by the International Code Council (ICC). Notably, with the support of many US construction industry groups and the U.S. Department of Energy, the commercial Stretch Code will provide the basis for the next International Energy Efficiency Code in 2012, which Massachusetts will adopt sometime next year and implement in 2013.
“Stretch Code-adopting communities have demonstrated progressive courage and a clear understanding of the importance of energy consumption reduction and by adopting the Stretch Energy Code, these communities, their citizenry and the Commonwealth itself, enjoy the resulting energy savings," said Thomas G. Gatzunis, Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, which enforces the State Building Code.
To date, DOER has designated 74 Green Communities, with 21 gaining designation this summer. DOER has allocated over $15.6 million in funds to these communities using a formula that caps awards at $1 million and provides each community with a $125,000 base grant plus additional amounts based on per capita income and population, and for municipalities that provide as-of-right zoning for renewable energy generation, also for some energy generation criteria.
"By investing in energy efficient building standards, communities reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cut costs by lowering energy consumption," DOER Commissioner Mark Sylvia said. “We’re thrilled to reach this significant milestone and congratulate these communities for their leadership.”
To find out more about the stretch energy code or to consider adoption in your town or city please contact your local Green Communities Regional Coordinator, available on the DOER website here: www.mass.gov/energy/greencommunities
The 101 municipalities which have adopted the Stretch Code, in the order which the building code was effective are listed below.
51. New Salem
53. North Adams
74. Great Barrington