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 through the adoption and enforcement of state building codes. These codes also set forth essential energy policies, setting minimum efficiency requirements for a variety of building practices and technologies used in our cities and towns. With the Green Communities act of 2008, Massachusetts created to option for municipalities to adopt a stretch energy code.

QUESTIONS? Need Help?

For more information on building codes, contact Nicole Sanches at nsanches@mapc.org or 617-933-0761. For one-on-one assistance with the IECC registration process, sign up for a free half-hour consultation before March 29, 2019.

On This Page


Codes for Climate

  • Stretch Energy Code
  • Train Inspectional Services Staff
  • Comment and Vote

Take Action Today

  • Important Dates
  • Register to Vote

Resources

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 register 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 Register to Vote

The number 1 Budget for your registration fee, which is based on your community’s population size and number of Governmental Members you register:

Graphic shows fee per Governmental Member for the population size of town. Less than 50,000 is $145, 50,000 to 150,000 is $240, and more than 150,000 is $370

The number 2 Register to vote:

In the fall, you will be able to log in to vote here.

Important 2019 IECC Dates

By March 29 Register each Governmental Member (see below for definition) in your community
By September 23 Identify up to 4, 8, or 12 voters (depending on your population for each registered Governmental Member)
November 13-27 (Tentative) During the two-week window in late November, 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 register to vote before March 29th. The primary representative is responsible for designating and registering the remaining Governmental Member Voting Representatives (GMVR’s) within their group. They have until September 23rd 2019 to register the remaining GMVR’s.

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