From Lowell to Springfield, Williamstown to Mashpee, and 100 municipalities in between, Waltham is the latest community to adopt new energy efficiency standards for both residential and commercial buildings. On October 27, Maynard claimed the 100th spot on the list of communities to adopt the so-called Stretch Code. Since then four more communities have joined, the latest being Waltham, which adopted the code on November 14. This means 2.9 million people in Massachusetts, more than 45 percent of the population, live in communities dedicated to an energy efficient future.
The code – which requires approximately 20 percent greater energy efficiency than the current base energy codes – increases energy efficiency requirements for construction of all new residential and most commercial buildings. These codes also apply to the renovation of, or additions to, residential homes that necessitate building code requirements. The adoption of these measures will cut annual energy costs for the homeowners and businesses that occupy these buildings.
The 104 communities that have adopted the Stretch Code have satisfied one of five criteria necessary to earn the title of a Green Community. The cities and towns that have satisfied all five criteria and become Green Communities are part of a DOER program that has distributed more than $15 million in renewable energy and conservation grants to the eligible communities. The DOER has designated 74 Green Communities, with 21 gaining recognition just this past summer. We hope the success of adopting the Stretch Code is the first step, and added incentive, for these towns and cities to satisfy all five criteria in order to be designated a Green Community.
The efforts of Massachusetts’ residents and communities have solidified the Commonwealth’s position as a leader in energy efficiency policies, programs, and savings. Serving as models for the remaining municipalities across Massachusetts, these 104 communities are reducing greenhouse gas emissions and cutting costs by lowering energy consumption.
Newton was the first to adopt the Stretch Code. Waltham will not be the last.
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For the past two years, Massachusetts has participated in a federal program that recognizes schools working hard to educate future generations about clean energy and improvements in Massachusetts school buildings. This year, the Commonwealth will again participate in the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools recognition program.