Cities and towns across Massachusetts continue to demonstrate their commitment to lower energy consumption. Eight more municipalities (Dalton, Goshen, Halifax, Holliston, Upton, Wellfleet, Lanesborough, and Stoughton) recently adopted the Stretch Energy Code, criterion five for Green Community designation, and will now work to ensure that new construction and major renovations are more energy efficient. With these additions, the total number of participating municipalities has reached 143.
The Stretch Code requires both commercial and residential buildings to be approximately 20 percent more energy efficient than those built according to the Massachusetts base energy code rooted in the International Energy Conservation Code 2009. Because of its increasing popularity over the last five years, more than half of the state’s residents now live in Stretch Code communities. Participating locations can be seen on the DOER Green Communities Division’s “Community Adoption” map.
During its infancy, some towns hesitated to adopt the Stretch Code, taking a wait-and-see approach to questions raised about the possible costs and other challenges of implementing it. However, many towns that adopted the code and have been following the new regulations for years have had positive experiences. In fact, certain towns have even found that residents are looking for more of a “stretch.”
In 2011, the cities of Woburn and Revere approved the Stretch Code and have been holding construction projects to these energy standards for the past few years. Woburn’s 2013 Annual Report to the Green Communities Division notes that “developers, residents, and business owners” have had “no complaints with this process.” Similarly, the city of Revere has heard “very little complaints” since the Stretch Code has been in effect. Revere’s 2013 Annual Report also mentioned that homeowners “want a more efficient product.” Although residents have had trouble understanding the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) used under the Stretch Code, they are still actively searching for ways to reduce their energy consumption, according to Revere’s report.
The Green Communities division is excited to have more municipalities join in the effort to create more energy efficient buildings. Together, we continue to take more steps towards improving our energy performance throughout the state.
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