By statute, the uniform MSBC has been the single, legal statewide building code since January 1, 1975. The MSBC applies to all new construction and certain work in existing buildings. The energy provisions in the MSBC were developed by the Board's Energy Advisory Committee, working with staff supported by a federal grant from USDOE, and with additional support from the Massachusetts Division of Energy Resources which administers utility rebate programs and establishes state energy policy.
The Sixth Edition of the Massachusetts Building Code (780 CMR) was in use until late 2008 to early 2009. Chapter 61 for residential buildings was based off of the 2000 IECC. Chapter 13 for non-residential buildings was based off of the 2000 IECC, ASHRAE 90.1-1999, and additional state-developed amendments.
On April 1, 2007, the Seventh Edition of the Code for Single and Two Family Dwellings became effective. A six month overlap period until October 1, 2007 allows a code user to use either the sixth or seventh edition of the code (without mixing provisions). A permit applicant would have to file an application on or before October 1st in order to utilize provisions of the sixth edition.
On July 2, 2008, the state of Massachusetts updated its Seventh Edition, Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings (780 CMR) and its Seventh Edition Basic Building Code (for all other buildings) with state-specific front-end amendments. The code update includes extensive changes to both Chapter 61 (residential energy) and Chapter 13 (commercial energy).
To meet Chapter 61, a one- or two-family dwelling will have to comply with either the 2007 Supplement to the 2006 edition of the IECC or score 100 or less on an accredited Home Energy Ratings System (HERS). To meet Chapter 13, a commercial building must meet either ASHRAE 90.1-2007 or the 2007 Supplement to 2006 edition of the IECC. The air barrier requirements for commercial buildings are more stringent than those in the IECC. There are also provisions mandating that any changes relative to the IECC must improve energy efficiency as well as updating the state code every three years per the standard ICC code update cycle.
The 7th Edition became effective on October 6, 2008. The residential code update was fully effective immediately. For commercial buildings, there was a 6-month interim period until April 6, 2009 in which either the 6th or the 7th edition of the commercial code could be used.
On November 20, 2008, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick set two major goals for energy efficiency and renewable energy. The first aims to make all new malls and "big box" retail stores energy efficient and powered in part by solar energy by 2010. The second goal is for the state to offer a super-efficient building code as a local option for municipalities based on established national voluntary above-code efficiency standards such as the Energy Star for Homes program and the New Buildings Institute's "Core Performance" program for commercial properties.
STRETCH CODE: In July 2009, Massachusetts became the first state to adopt an above-code appendix to its state code - the 120 AA ‘Stretch’ Energy Code. The ‘Stretch’ Code is an enhanced version of the 2009 IECC with greater emphasis on performance testing and prescriptive requirements. It was designed to be approximately 20 percent more efficient than the base energy code - the IECC 2009 for new construction, with less stringent requirements for residential renovations.
In December 2009, in accordance with the statutory requirements of the Green Communities Act of 2008, the Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) has amended the 7th Edition State Building Code (780 CMR). As of January 1, builders must use the 2009 IECC with MA amendments. BBRS is allowing a 6-month concurrency period, through June 30, 2010, during which either the previous code (the 2006 IECC with the 2007 IECC Supplement and MA amendments) or the new code may be used. Commencing July 1, 2010, the baseline energy conservation requirements of the State Building Code will default to IECC 2009 and MA amendments. The MA changes to the IECC can be found by referring to Chapters 13, 34, 61 and 93 amendments posted on the BBRS website.
Massachusetts was selected as one of BCAP's 'Ten Places to Watch' for the state's efforts to distinguish itself in the energy codes world. As the year advances, BCAP will track their progress, highlight their successes, encourage dialogue with interested outside organizations, and share their best practices and lessons learned with other places throughout the country looking to improve their energy code policies.