Last Updated January 3, 2023
Building Energy Code
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
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 the 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 latest versions of the Massachusetts Commercial Building Code and Residential Building Code became effective on October 20, 2017. For more information about the current editions of the codes, see the Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS).
Stretch Code and Specialized Code
In 2009, an optional stretch code was developed in response to the call for improved local building energy efficiency in the state. The Climate Act of 2021 moved the authority of the stretch code's dissemination to the state’s Department of Energy Resources, and also required the development of a new municipal opt-in specialized energy code or “specialized code”. The specialized code ensures that new construction is consistent with Massachusetts’s greenhouse gas limits and sub-limits that are set every five years from 2025 to 2050.
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 290 green communities, including Boston, that have adopted the stretch code in Massachusetts (as of December 2022).
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 the Massachusetts Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs Building Energy Codes Website.