State Adopts New Energy Code

On Tuesday, the Board of Building Regulations & Standards (BBRS) voted to adopt the latest version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), making Massachusetts one of the first states in the nation to have it take effect statewide. This change represents a 20% increase in energy efficiency over the current statewide energy code. Under the Green Communities Act, the Massachusetts state energy code must be updated within one year of any revision to the IECC, so there was a statutory requirement to adopt this code.

The IECC is widely recognized as one of the most energy efficient codes. There is no question there are significant costs and design impacts associated with this code change. The IECC 2012 is approximately equal to the energy efficiency requirements of the stretch energy code, now in place in 131 communities in Massachusetts. Because of the Green Communities Act, Massachusetts will continually be updating its energy code to ensure it has the most energy efficient requirements in the nation.

Yesterday, the Legislature held a hearing on several bills addressing the concept of local option codes. NAIOP strongly opposes such codes, including the stretch energy code. Given that Massachusetts is required to have a very aggressive and energy efficient statewide code, NAIOP does not believe there is a need for a stretch energy code that would go beyond the latest version of the IECC. NAIOP testified in support of legislation that would ensure the IECC would be the energy code for all communities in Massachusetts. It would create one uniform, statewide energy code. By discontinuing the use of two or more energy codes for the state, it eliminates confusion for local building inspectors who are responsible for safely enforcing such codes. The legislation also clarifies that communities could be designated as Green Communities, and eligible for the grants associated with such a designation, by adopting this code. Most importantly, rather than having different requirements in different communities, it puts all communities on a level playing field – helping to ensure the Commonwealth’s competitiveness.

NAIOP will be hosting a special program on the energy code changes later this year and we will continue to push for one, statewide energy code.