Since becoming effective on December 28, 2022, increasing number of communities have moved to adopt the Municipal Opt-in Specialized Stretch Energy Code promulgated by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) pursuant to the climate bill enacted by the Legislature in 2021. The cities of Cambridge, Somerville and Watertown, as well as the Town of Brookline were the first to adopt the code earlier this year. In all of these communities, the Municipal Opt-in Specialized Stretch Energy Code became mandatory on July 1, 2023.
Largely pushed by climate activists and groups like Massachusetts Climate Action Network and Mothers Out Front, the towns of Acton, Aquinnah, Arlington, Concord, Lexington, Lincoln, Maynard, Sherborn, Stow, Truro and Wellfleet have all adopted the Municipal Opt-in Specialized Stretch Energy Code. The cities of Boston, Newton, Watertown and Wellesley have done so, also.
In Brookline, Cambridge, Somerville, and Watertown, the code became effective this past July 1. In the remaining municipalities, the Municipal Opt-in Specialized Stretch Energy Code becomes effective on January 1, 2024.
The Municipal Opt-in Specialized Stretch Energy Code, 225 CMR 22.00 (appx. RC) and 225 CMR 23.00, may be adopted by any of the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts by either a vote of a city council or at Town Meeting. While the regulations do not provide for a concurrency period under which a building can be constructed under either the existing Base Code or Stretch Energy Code, the DOER is encouraging municipalities to provide for a minimum 6-month delayed effective date following local approval of the Specialized Stretch Energy Code so that projects can be designed or revised to comply with it.
A map showing which municipalities still utilize the Base Energy Code and those that have adopted either the Stretch Energy Code or the Municipal Opt-in Specialized Stretch Energy Code can be found here.