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Building Energy Code

Last Review: 2012-10-17
Incentive Type: Building Energy Code
Eligible Efficiency Technologies: Comprehensive Measures/Whole Building
Applicable Sectors: Commercial
Website: http://bcap-ocean.org/state-country/massachusetts


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. For more information about the current editions of the codes, the Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS).


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). The energy provisions of the state building code must be updated within one year of any revision to the IECC. The 7th Edition of the Massachusetts Building Code became effective on October 6, 2008. The residential code update was fully effective immediately. For commercial buildings, there was a 6-month interim period until April 6, 2009 in which either the 6th or the 7th edition of the commercial code could be used.

In May 2009, the Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) approved Appendix 120AA as an optional amendment to the 7th edition Massachusetts Building Code 780 CMR. This optional "stretch code" was developed in response to the call for improved local building energy efficiency in the state. Towns and cities may adopt Appendix 120AA as an alternative to the base energy efficiency requirements of 780 CMR and the forthcoming 8th edition, based on the 2009 IECC. The appendix, which includes both a residential and commercial stretch code, is designed to be about 30% more stringent than the 2006 IECC/ASHRAE 90.1-2004 (20% more efficient than IECC 2009). 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 104 communities, including Boston, that have adopted the stretch code in Massachusetts (as of January 2012).

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.





Tom Riley
State Board of Building Regulations and Standards
One Ashburton Place, RM 1301

Boston, MA 02108
Phone:(617) 727-3200 Ext.
Phone 2:()
Web site: http://www.mass.gov/bbrs/energy.htm


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