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Building Energy Code

Savings Category 
Comprehensive Measures/Whole Building
Program Info
Sector Name 
Program Type 
Building Energy Code
Much of the information presented in this summary is drawn from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building Energy Codes Program and the Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP). For more detailed information about building energy codes, visit the DOE and BCAP web sites.

The Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations and Standards has authority to promulgate the Massachusetts State Building Code (MSBC). The energy provisions in the MSBC were developed by the Board's Energy Advisory Committee. The state's 351 cities and towns enforce the code. Only a building code board of appeals, consisting of specified technical members, may grant a variance to the code.

The 8th Edition of the Massachusetts Commercial Building Code became effective on February 5, 2011 and the 8th Edition of the Residential Code became effective on July 1, 2011. However, the most recent amendments to both the residential and commercial energy codes became effective on July 1, 2014. For more information about the current editions of the codes, see the Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS).

Stretch Code

In 2009, an optional strech code was developed in response to the call for improved local building energy efficiency in the state. Towns and cities may adopt Appendix 115 AA as an alternative to the base energy efficiency requirements of 780 CMR. The stretch code is currently based on 2009 IECC, even though the "non-strech" provisions of the building code are now based on the 2012 IECC. The stretch code is designed to be 20% more efficient than the 2009 IECC. 

Switching to the "stretch code" is one of the criteria required for local communities to qualify for the DOER's Green Communities Grant Program.There are 161 communities, including Boston, that have adopted the stretch code in Massachusetts (as of November 2015). 


Legislation enacted in July 2008 (S.B. 2768) authorized the Massachusetts State Board of Building Regulations and Standards to adopt the most recent International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) as part of the state building code, together with any more stringent energy efficiency provisions that the board, in consultation with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), concludes are warranted. The energy provisions of the state building code must be updated within one year of any revision to the IECC. 

For more information on the energy provisions of the Massachusetts Building Code, see Massachusetts Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs Building Energy Codes Web site.