A stretch energy code is a voluntary appendix to a mandatory statewide minimum energy code that allows municipalities to adopt a uniform beyond code option to achieve greater levels of energy efficiency. Stretch codes pull the construction market upward, priming the construction industry for changes that could well be part of the next update for the state baseline energy code. These programs also provide certainty and consistency for the construction sector by developing the stretch code through the same public process as other statewide codes and avoiding the patchwork of dozens of different local energy codes.
Article: Stretch Codes Pull Toward Green Communities November 29, 2016
So far, stretch energy code requirements (in municipalities that have adopted them) have applied to the design and construction of:
- New residential buildings of 3 stories or less
- Portions of existing residential buildings undergoing renovation or addition
- Larger commercial buildings (above 5,000 square feet for most projects; above 40,000 square feet for “specialty” buildings like warehouses, hospitals, or schools)
Stretch Codes – DOE Technical Assistance Program
This presentation from the Department of Energy’s Technical Assistance Program covers stretch codes as a possible above-code policy for State Energy Program (SEP) and Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, as well as Massachusetts’ experience with the state’s 120.AA stretch code. It also covers the green codes ASHRAE Standard 189.1 and the California Green Standards Code (CalGreen).
Unlike stretch codes (which allow municipalities to adopt a uniform beyond code option), reach codes are a set of statewide optional construction standards for energy efficiency that exceed the requirements of the state’s mandatory codes. They provide individual builders an optional path for high performance construction and jurisdictions can be assured that the innovative construction methods are sound. Reach codes can cover a number of topic area including lighting design, mechanical systems, lighting designs, structural design, plumbing, and more. Reach code developers can also choose to align the requirements with federal, state, and local financial incentives.
Reach codes pull the construction market upward, priming the construction industry for changes that could well be part of the next update for the state baseline energy code. These programs also provide certainty and consistency for the construction sector by developing the reach code through the same public process as other statewide codes and avoiding the pitfalls inspecting projects for compliance that may use many different standards or approaches to achieving greater performance.
So far in practice, reach energy code requirements have applied to the design and construction of new and existing commercial and residential projects where the builder has chosen to comply with the reach code.