Stretch codes at work in Massachusetts

Last week, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced that more than 100 municipalities have adopted the state’s stretch code designed to reduce energy use by 30 percent and cut carbon emissions by 40 percent. This milestone comes just two and half years after the first-of-its-kind stretch code was introduced and just weeks after Massachusetts was ranked first in the nation for its energy efficiency policies and programs by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

Among these programs is “Green Communities,” a division of the state’s Department of Energy Resources (DOER) that is charged with guiding all 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts along a path of enhanced energy efficiency and renewable energy. The commercial requirements for the Massachusetts stretch code are based on NBI’s Core Performance® protocol, a whole building design guide which brings together 30 criteria defining high performance in building envelope, lighting, HVAC, power systems and controls.

Energy efficiency programs offered by NSTAR, National Grid and other utilities in the state have paved the way for the acceptance of the stretch code by incenting commercial projects that follow Core Performance since 2007.  As of 2009, jurisdictions could adopt the stretch code in lieu of the Massachusetts Energy Code. Now, the stretch code is one of five criteria that towns and cities must meet to be designated a “Green Community.

With its new #1 ranking by ACEEE and about 44% of its population now living in a community that has adopted the stretch code, Massachusetts is solidifying its role as a leader in clean energy, setting the bar for states interested in pursuing energy efficiency and policies. NBI currently works with other efficiency programs looking to align with state energy code targets as a means to accelerate energy efficiency advancements by giving design teams and owners early experience with new code specifications.  We’re excited to see the stretch code making its impact in Massachusetts—and look forward to learning which state will be next.