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Cambridge Adopts the Massachusetts Specialized Stretch Energy Code

On January 23, 2023, the City of Cambridge adopted the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s new Municipal Opt-in Specialized Stretch Energy Code, joining the communities of Brookline and Watertown as early adopters of the specialized stretch code. The code, which goes into effect in Cambridge on July 1, 2023, focuses on achieving net zero buildings and will further the City’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, prepare facilities to utilize clean energy, and support the City’s Net Zero goals.

When the newly adopted Specialized Stretch Energy Code becomes effective in Cambridge this summer, all new construction and major renovations to buildings in the City will be required to be all-electric or wired to transition to all-electric in the future. The Specialized Stretch Code focuses on maximizing energy efficiency, reducing heating demands, and promoting efficient electrification. Buildings that use only electricity as an energy source, versus fossil fuels, can eliminate their emissions when the electricity comes from renewable sources.

Additionally, updates to the base Stretch Energy Code issued in 2022 by the Department of Energy Resources establish stricter energy efficiency standards for nearly all new construction and major renovations in Cambridge. The new changes went into effect for residential buildings in January 2023 and go into effect for commercial buildings in July 2023. As a Stretch Code community, the recent updates to the base standard code automatically come into effect in Cambridge.

In 1999 Cambridge joined the Cities for Climate Protection and, for more than twenty years, has been a leader in sustainability and addressing the increasingly dire threat of climate change. Cambridge’s climate initiatives are informed by input from City Council, City staff, and the public. The City of Cambridge first adopted the Stretch Energy Code in 2010, setting a higher bar for energy performance of new buildings and major renovations, and the January 2023 adoption of the Specialized Stretch Energy Code further builds on the work of the City’s Net Zero Action Plan Task Force, Climate Committee, and Climate Crisis Working Group.

The Cambridge City Council is also considering participation in the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources’ “Fossil Fuel Free Demonstration Project” which will allow cities and towns to change local regulations to require new building construction and major renovation projects to be fossil fuel-free. 

Page was posted on 2/16/2023 12:22 PM
Page was last modified on 7/24/2023 9:48 PM
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