Massachusetts Stretch Energy Code will include a Passive House compliance Alternative

Changes to the Massachusetts Commercial and Residential Stretch Energy Code

A stretch code is an overlay code that provides a path to achieve greater energy efficiency over the requirements of the base code. With the Green Communities Act in 2008, Massachusetts took a national leadership role in building energy codes by being one of the first states to adopt a “stretch energy code.”


There are THREE options available under the ERI Compliance Alternative:

  1. ENERGY STAR Homes: New buildings or additions to an existing building, building system or portion thereof shall be certified to meet ENERGY STAR Certified Homes, Version 3.1 (or later)
  2. Passive House Institute (PHI) or Passive House Institute US (PHIUS): The Specific Space Heat Demand modeled by a certified Passive House Consultant must be less than or equal to 10kBTU/sq. ft per year. Please note the criteria in R402.4, R403.2, R404 and R405 must be met.
  3. RESNET Home Energy Rating System (HERS): Pursuing this option requires each unit to meet a maximum HERS index of 55, certified using software approved by BBRS, with higher thresholds allowed if using onsite renewable energy (see table R406.4.1)

Note that whichever path is pursued, per R406.2 of the 2015 IECC, the mandatory requirements listed in sections R401 through R404, and Section R403.5.3 must be met, and the building thermal envelope shall be greater than or equal to levels of efficiency and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient in Table 402.1.1 or 402.1.3 of the 2009 IECC.

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