Fighting for Better Buildings in MA
Buildings are the 2nd largest source of emissions in the Commonwealth. Building code is a powerful tool to transform buildings from polluters to protectors of our health, communities and the climate.
The Next Generation Roadmap bill requires that the state develop a net zero stretch code, a building that will support the construction of buildings that are energy efficient, all-electric with renewable energy generated on-site or purchased off-site. The state refers to this as a specialized stretch code.
MCAN is has been and will continue to mobilize advocates to demand that the Mass. Department of Energy Resources (DOER) develop a true net zero stretch code that will ensure all new buildings and major gut rehabs:
- Have healthy indoor air
- Are affordable to heat and cool
- Reduce emissions by being all-electric and super energy efficient with renewable energy generated on-site or purchased off-site
MCAN is deeply concerned about the fossil fuel pathways remaining for residential and commercial buildings. MCAN urges DOER to release a true net-zero code, one that accelerates the construction of energy efficient, all-electric buildings powered by renewable and clean energy. This kind of code will protect the health and affordability for residents that stand to benefit the most from these climate resilient buildings.
MCAN is now in the process of supporting communities to adopt the opt-in specialized stretch code. Out of all three building codes, the opt-in specialized stretch code is the most highly efficient, will provide consumer protection for the homeowners, lowering the cost of electricity and lowering the cost of electrifying later. As well as potentially move us toward a fossil fuel-free future.
Check out MCAN's and Sierra Club's Specialized Opt-In Toolkit in order to assist advocates who are in the process of preparing for the adoption of the specialized opt-in building code in their municipalities. It is important to highlight, that this is a living document and will be updated as more resources are cultivated and towns adopt the code. In this toolkit you will find numerous resources, language, email templates, etc. to assist advocates in the process of adopting the opt-in code in their municipality.
Below is a map of the list of communities that have opted-into the specialized stretch code as of 5/4/2023.
DOER Building Code Updates
On February 8, 2022, DOER released a straw proposal of a specialized stretch code that municipalities can adopt by early 2023.
On June 27, 2022, DOER released an updated version of the new specialized stretch energy building code.
You can find the DOER’s official stretch energy building code language here:
- Summary Document Explaining the Stretch Energy Code and Specialized Opt-in Code Language
- Residential Low-Rise Stretch Energy Code and Specialized Opt-in Code Language (red-line of applicable code sections)
- Commercial and Other Stretch Energy Code and Specialized Opt-in Code Language (red-line of applicable code sections)
MCAN Actions and Resources
In response to the straw proposal, MCAN submitted a sign-on letter to DOER with recommendations for improving the specialized stretch code -- this letter was signed by over 300 people from 100 cities and towns across the Commonwealth.
Check out MCAN's and Sierra Club's Specialized Opt-In Toolkit in order to assist advocates who are in the process of preparing for the adoption of the specialized opt-in building code in their municipalities.
Check out MCAN's updated toolkit to support advocates in learning more about building code and how the specialized stretch code can be improved to align with the state's net zero emissions goals by 2050 while prioritizing equity issues.
Check out MCAN's Recording of the July 20 Letter Writing workshop
Check out MCAN's July 20 Letter Writing Slide-deck