Improving Building Codes to Prepare for Climate Impacts

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Improving Building Codes to Prepare for Climate Impacts

Clean Energy

Building Codes for Climate

BACKGROUND

Massachusetts municipalities can help support their residents' health and safety and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the adoption and enforcement of state building codes. These codes set forth essential energy policies, setting minimum efficiency requirements for a variety of building practices and technologies used in new construction and major renovations.

With the Green Communities Act of 2008, Massachusetts created an option for municipalities to adopt a Stretch Energy Code. Over 75% of all Commonwealth cities and towns have adopted the Stretch Code. As buildings account for over 40% of greenhouse gas emissions across Massachusetts, and much more in many cities and towns in Greater Boston, more energy efficient building codes are valuable in mitigating climate change. Energy efficient buildings also provide numerous co-benefits, including enhanced resilience, improved public health, cost savings, and local workforce development opportunities.

IECC VOTING WINDOW

NOVEMBER 18 – DECEMBER 6, 2019

Schedule your time to vote and make sure your login and PIN work at cdpaccess.com NOW!

On This Page


Take Action Today

  • Important Dates
  • Vote on the IECC

Codes for Climate

  • Stretch Energy Code
  • Train Inspectional Services Staff
  • Get Involved

Resources

Questions?

For more information on building codes, contact Nicole Sanches at nsanches@mapc.org or 617-933-0761.

take action today on the 2021 IECC

MAPC is partnering with the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition (EECC), the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership (NEEP), the Massachusetts Climate Action Network (MCAN), and the Sierra Club Massachusetts Chapter to encourage Massachusetts municipalities to vote and have a voice in the creation of a more energy efficient and climate-smart 2021 International Energy Conservation Code.

Voting on the IECC allows your community to have a significant national and local impact on improving the building sector.

HOW TO VOTE ON THE 2021 IECC

Registered Municipal Voters can vote online on proposals for the 2021 IECC through the CDP Access Portal at any point during the voting window of NOVEMBER 18 – DECEMBER 6.

Before the Voting Window Opens:

We recommend that voters troubleshoot their access to the voting portal to ensure that they will be able to log in when it is time to vote. To do this:

      1. Look for an email from ICC or your primary representative with your login credentials to ICC. If you do not have a message from ICC, confirm with your primary representative the email address that was used for voter validation, this address will be your username for CDP Access.
      2. Go to ICCsafe.org and log-in using the credentials from ICC or your email address as your username. Once you have logged in, go to the information section under your account.
      3. Under this section click on change password. Change your password if a temporary password was created for you. You should also see a PIN associated with your account and be able to enter your date of birth. Both will be needed to vote. If you do not have a PIN, go to org/PinLookup to retrieve it.
      4. Log in with the same credentials to CDP Access. This is the portal where you will log in to vote. You will also be able to see all code proposals for this cycle before the voting window.

When the Voting Window Opens:

In order to vote, you will need: around one hour of your time, a computer with internet access, log-in credentials for CDP access, and a Voting Guide.

You will be able to log into CDP Access using the same log-in credentials you created before.

For each code proposal, you will have the option to vote either in support of or opposition to the language that was agreed to by the Council and in-person voters. The proposals will be listed in numerical order with residential proposals appearing first and commercial proposals second. You do not have to vote on every proposal and can search for individual code proposal numbers to vote on out of numerical order if you choose.

As you are looking to get started, our project partners at the Massachusetts Climate Action Network (MCAN) have put together a quick (6 minute) video with Boston City Councilor Matt O’Malley to help guide you through the voting process. Watch the tutorial.

Important 2019 IECC Dates

March 29 Governmental Member (see below for definition) registration deadline
By September 23 Validate up to 4, 8, or 12 voters (depending on your population for each registered Governmental Member)
November 18-December 6 (Confirmed) During the two-week window, use the voting guide provided by MAPC and our partners to vote online for the 2021 IECC.

Who is Eligible?

According to the International Code Council’s by-laws, the following people are eligible to register as ICC members and vote on the IECC:

“Voting Representatives must be employees or officials of that Governmental Member and are actively engaged full or part-time in the administration, formulation or enforcement of laws, regulations or ordinances relating to public health, safety and welfare.”

A population of less than 50,000 has 4 voters per governmental members, between 50,000 and 150,000 has 8, and over 150,000 has 12.

Governmental Member Voting Representatives: The individual voters within the Governmental Member.

Primary Representative: An individual voter within the Governmental Member, who must have registered to vote by March 29, 2019. The primary representative is responsible for designating and registering the remaining Governmental Member Voting Representatives (GMVRs) within their group. GMVRs must have been registered by September 23, 2019.

Voting Guides for Energy Efficiency

In coordination with our local project partners, including the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership (NEEP), Massachusetts Climate Action Network (MCAN), and Sierra Club Massachusetts Chapter, MAPC used expert nationwide recommendations to build our Massachusetts-specific voting guide. This guide includes the top 53 most impactful proposals and enable voting in less than an hour for those with limited time.

Massachusetts-specific Voting Guide

Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) has also prepared comprehensive voting guides for both the residential and commercial 2021 IECC code proposals.

DOER Residential Code Comprehensive Voting Guide

DOER Commercial Code Comprehensive Voting Guide

The Massachusetts Supplemental IBC, EBC, and IgCC voting guide covers code proposals outside of the IECC that are important to Massachusetts. The proposals in this guide advance climate resilience and sustainability measures, such as protecting against wind borne debris, adding drain resistant barriers, and supporting mass timber construction, more broadly throughout the building code.

Massachusetts Supplemental IBC, EBC, and IgCC voting guide

The Energy Efficient Codes Coalition worked together with three other national organizations to assess the energy efficiency impact of the 2021 IECC Code proposals. The comprehensive voting guides below provide an analysis for the code proposals on the ballot for the 2021 IECC. If you are pressed for time or would like to focus on the proposals with the biggest impact, the Top Priority Voting Guide has these highlighted.

EECC Top Priority Voting Guide

EECC Comprehensive Commercial Voting Guide

EECC Comprehensive Residential Voting Guide

You can also check out resources from the New Buildings Institute (NBI) on helpful voting tips and the top impact proposals.

Need Help?

MAPC has set aside dedicated time to troubleshoot with municipalities on this process. If you would like assistance with voting on the IECC, you can contact Nicole Sanches during the voting window below at nsanches@mapc.org or by phone at (617) 933-0761.

Please let us know if there are other forms of technical assistance that would be helpful for your municipality.

IECC Voting Window: Nov 18 - Dec 6, 2019

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

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MAPC Webinar

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18

Voting Begins

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In-Person Training

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25

 

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Thanks-giving

29
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6

Voting Ends

codes for climate

Creating energy efficiency compliance options within state building and energy codes is one of the most effective ways to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in our region. An energy efficient code should be a tool in any municipality's toolbox when seeking to make progress toward Net Zero or other climate-related targets.

Massachusetts communities generally cannot go beyond the building code to set building energy standards or requirements in their zoning. This effectively sets the code as a ceiling for efficiency when it is meant to serve as a floor. Though municipalities cannot directly amend the building energy code, there are some important steps your community can take to create a more efficient code:

Adopt the Stretch Energy Code

Adopt the Stretch Energy Code, if you have not already. Taking this step is one of the five criteria required to becoming designated as a Green Community, enabling access to grant funds for municipal energy efficiency projects. The Stretch Code also promotes more efficient construction in your community and sends a message to developers that your plan review will look for energy efficient design.

Train Inspectional Services Department Staff

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and other organizations host periodic trainings on some of the energy efficiency considerations in the Code. As there are many different technologies used in high performing buildings, it can be helpful to have ongoing trainings for ISD staff. When inspectors have a good understanding of how a technology works, they better know what to look for in a plan review, and can better ensure residents and businesses are getting a safe installation at inspection.

Comment on Local Code Adoption

The Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) adopts the new international building codes and approves Massachusetts-specific amendments, in consultation with the Department of Energy Resources (DOER), to create the state building energy code. Submitting comments or speaking at public hearings on the code is a way to lend your community’s voice to encourage an updated stretch code and a more efficient base code.

Vote on the IECC

Municipalities can directly vote for more energy efficiency measures to be included in the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), the model energy code that the BBRS is required to adopt in Massachusetts every three years as it is updated.

Resources

Useful Links and Websites

Energy-Efficient Codes Coalition Website

The Energy-Efficient Codes Coalition (EECC) is working with MAPC on this cycle of the International Energy Conservation Code. Their website has some great resources for municipalities interested in learning more about this code cycle and beyond.

Codes Carbon Calculator from the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition

Download this calculator to explore expected carbon emission reductions and energy savings anticipated for our region when we update to new code cycles.