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Department of Energy Resources Unveils Draft Stretch Code Update and New Specialized Stretch Code

By February 9, 2022No Comments

On Tuesday, February 8, the state Department of Energy Resources (DOER) announced the release of a “Straw Proposal” for an update to the Stretch Energy Code and a New Specialized Stretch Code. A webinar was also held in conjunction with the announcement. In addition to holding four statewide public hearings as mandated by statute, DOER Commissioner Patrick Woodcock said the department intends to invite key stakeholders, such as THE HBRAMA, to participate in an advisory committee to provide feedback and suggestions.

On March 26, 2021, Governor Baker signed into law Chapter 8 of the Acts of 2021, An Act creating a next-generation roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy. That law mandated that the Department of Energy Resources develop and promulgate, in consultation with the state Board of Building Regulations and Standards, a municipal opt-in specialized stretch energy code that includes, but is not limited to, net-zero building performance standards and a definition of net-zero building, designed to achieve compliance with the Commonwealth’s statewide greenhouse gas emission limits. Almost a year later, the DOER has finally released a draft of the municipal opt-in specialized stretch energy code.

To meet the requirements of Chapter 8, the department has set out the following timetable:

  • July 2022 – Specific 2025 and 2030 emission reduction targets established for the building sector;
  • December 2022 – Municipal Opt-In Specialized Stretch Energy Code finalized;
  • January 2023 – New Base Energy Code effective;
  • July 2023 – Updated Stretch Energy Code effective;
  • January 2024 – Municipal Opt-In Specialized Stretch Energy Code effective.

Through the work of its Net Zero Energy Subcommittee, chaired by Rob Brennan of The CapeBuilt Companies, the HBRAMA has been monitoring and developing a housing industry response to these anticipated code proposals, with a focus on cost, practicality, consumer acceptance and affordability.

Members should note that the following documents are now available at DOER’s new Stretch Code Development webpage:

The HBRAMA strongly encourages its members to review the proposal and view the webinar. Questions or comments may be sent to: with the subject line “Stretch Code Straw Proposal Comments”. The deadline for comments on the Straw Proposal is 5 pm EST on March 9th, 2022.