Effective immediately! As of today, July 1, 2010, Massachusetts towns will begin to employ Building Code Appendix 120.AA, commonly known as the Stretch Energy Code. This code will require higher standards of building energy efficiency for both residential and commercial structures. Newton and Cambridge have been the first municipalities to adopt the appendix, with over 30 more planning to by the end of the year. The new standards are based on the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index, which compares the efficiency of your project to the energy requirements from 2006 of a project of equal size and type. For example, a HERS index of 70 would mean that your home uses 70% as much energy as the standards for a similar home prescribed in 2006. The Stretch Energy Code is requiring that new homes be certified with a HERS rating of 60 or less, while major renovations have a rating of 70 or less, and less intensive renovations where the existing HVAC systems are not replaced have a rating of 85 or less. Commercial buildings will also have the option of meeting a prescriptive code that focuses more on the systems and materials used rather than performance.
Under the new standards, projects must have more in depth inspections and testing to ensure buildings are up to code. BGB has been conducting these tests for years, and has the certification and necessary tools to verify that your home meets the new requirements. You can find more information on certifying your home and the Stretch Energy Code at http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=eopsmodulechunk&L=3&L0=Home&L1=Public+Safety+Agencies&L2=Massachusetts+Department+of+Public+Safety&sid=Eeops&b=terminalcontent&f=dps_bbrs_build_code_changes_public_hearing&csid=Eeops.