The New Stretch Code and the Specialized Opt-In Code

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) has released the final draft of the state’s new building codes as required by last year’s Climate Act. The result is an updated Stretch Energy Code and a new Specialized Municipal Opt-in Code (the “Net-Zero” Code) that are expected to begin going into effect in January.

What Is the Specialized Opt-in Code?

The Specialized Code is a set of net-zero building standards designed to ensure new construction is consistent with a net-zero Massachusetts economy by 2050, through deep energy efficiency, reduced heating loads, and efficient electrification. This code adopts a definition of net-zero:

A building which is consistent with achievement of MA 2050 net zero emissions, through a
combination of highly energy efficient design together with being an all-electric or Zero Energy
Building, or where fossil fuels are utilized, a building fully pre-wired for future electrification
and that generates solar power on-site from the available Potential Solar Zone Area.

Stretch Code & Passive House

In the new Stretch Code, Passive House is a pathway for multifamily, schools, and offices and an alternative to TEDI and HERS, while residential buildings must meet Passive House certification or achieve HERS 42 (or 45 if all-electric).

Specialized Opt-In Code & Passive House

The new Specialized Opt-In Code will require Passive House certification for all large multifamily buildings over 12,000 square feet while including it as a pathway for all other types.

Find Out More at the 2022 Passive House Massachusetts Symposium

Maggie McCarey, Energy Efficiency Director, DOER, kicks off this year’s Symposium with a discussion of these new building code changes, including the updated Stretch Code and the new “Net-Zero” Specialized Opt-in Code.

What are the new requirements? What is TEDI or HERS? What building types will require PHIUS or PHI? How and when do municipalities opt-in? Get your code questions answered!