Boston Announces Next Step in Adopting Opt-In Specialized Stretch Energy Code



Last week, Mayor Wu announced that Boston will be pursuing the Opt-In Specialized Stretch Energy Code (Specialized Code), finalized by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) late last year.  Many A Better City members worked with us throughout 2022 to provide comments on the updated Stretch Code for all green communities and the Specialized Code that communities can opt-in to that builds on the updated Stretch Code. The updated Stretch Code came into effect for residential buildings in January 2023, and will come into effect for commercial buildings on July 1, 2023.. A Better City blogposts written in August and December 2022 document the development of these codes, along with A Better City’s comments and results of the comments.

The summary of the two codes shows that in addition to the changes made under the updated Stretch Energy Code, the Specialized Code will require most commercial buildings to be electrification ready (pre-wiring) and have solar on-site (where feasible). See below.

DOER Specialized Commercial Code Graphic

Brookline, Watertown, and Cambridge have already voted to adopt this code. This Wednesday, March 22nd, the Specialized Code Ordinance will be read into the Boston City Council record. A vote is required by City Council to approve this.  If City Council votes to adopt this Ordinance, DOER has recommended that the requirements not take effect for new building permit applications before the following January 1st or July 1st, whichever is a minimum of 6 months after the municipal vote. This phase-in period is recommended to allow an orderly transition for developers, designers, and builders as well as additional training time for municipal code officials. It is not expected that the code will come into effect in Boston before January 2024.

For any questions, please reach out to Yve Torrie.

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