Comparison with Current Code

Stretch Energy Code vs. IECC 2009

The Stretch Energy Code changes some of the general language in Chapters 1-3 as follows:

  • Requires insulation to be brought up to IECC 2009 where possible (where accessible)
  • Changes the language to allow HERS ratings to be a part of the code inspection process
  • Simplifies the Climate Zone definition for MA (Zone 5)
  • Removes sections on Fees, Stoppages, and Appeals, and adds some definitions.

The Stretch Energy Code changes for Chapter 4 – Residential construction, can be summarized as follows:.

  • For new homes, it replaces the prescriptive code with a performance path (HERS rating)
  • For additions to existing homes, it replaces the prescriptive code with an Energy Star standard
  • For renovations to existing homes, the building envelope must meet Energy Star and IECC 2009 requirements.
  • For additions or renovations, a HERS rating is also allowed instead of the code compliance path.

The net effect of the changes for Residential construction are that a HERS rating may be used in lieu of prescriptive code, the IECC 2009 requirements are upheld for insulation, and the Energy Star for Homes standards apply elsewhere.
The following is a comparison of the changes in Chapters 2, 3, and 4 of the Stretch Energy Code (780 CMR Appendix 120.AA) and the relevant sections of the IECC 2009 code.

IECC 2009 language:

101.4.3 Additions, alterations, renovations or repairs.
Exception: The following need not comply provided the energy use of the building is not increased:

  1. Storm windows installed over existing fenestration.
  2. Glass only replacements in an existing sash and frame.
  3. Existing ceiling, wall or floor cavities exposed during construction provided that these cavities are filled with insulation.
  4. Construction where the existing roof, wall or floor cavity is not exposed.
  5. Reroofing for roofs where neither the sheathing nor the insulation is exposed. Roofs without insulation in the cavity and where the sheathing or insulation is exposed during reroofing shall be insulated either above or below the sheathing.
  6. Replacement of existing doors that separate conditioned space from the exterior shall not require the installation of a vestibule or revolving door, provided, however, that an existing vestibule that separates a conditioned space from the exterior shall not be removed,
  7. Alterations that replace less than 50 percent of the luminaires in a space, provided that such alterations do not increase the installed interior lighting power.
  8. Alterations that replace only the bulb and ballast within the existing luminaires in a space provided that the alteration does not increase the installed interior lighting power.

Stretch Energy Code change:

Remove section 101.4.3 Exceptions and replace with:
Exceptions

  1. Storm windows installed over existing fenestration.
  2. Repairs to an existing sash and frame.
  3. Existing ceiling, wall or floor cavities, of the building envelope, exposed or accessible during construction provided that any empty cavities are filled with insulation that meets or exceeds an R value of R – 3.5/inch.
  4. Reroofing or residing over uninsulated roofs or walls where the sheathing is not exposed.
  5. Replacement of existing doors that separate conditioned space from the exterior shall not require the installation of a vestibule or revolving door, provided, however, that an existing vestibule that separates a conditioned space from the exterior shall not be removed,
  6. Alterations that replace less than 50 percent of the luminaires in a space, provided that such alterations do not increase the installed interior lighting power.
  7. Alterations that replace only the bulb and ballast within the existing luminaires in a space provided that the alteration does not increase the installed interior lighting power.

Effect of Stretch Energy Code changes:

  1. No change
  2. Allows more to be done – i.e. “repairs” is more general than “glass-only replacements”
  3. Adds “accessible”, meaning that insulation should be added if the insulation cavity can be accessed, instead of fully exposed. Also adds that the insulation must meet or exceed an R value of R – 3.5/inch.
  4. Removed – in conjunction with the addition of “accessible” in (3).
  5. Becomes (4) and adds uninsulated walls to the exceptions (which is less restrictive), but says for insulated roofs/walls – even if the sheathing or insulation is not exposed, insulation must meet (or exceed) IEC 2009.
  6. Becomes 5 – otherwise no change
  7. Becomes 6 – otherwise no change
  8. Becomes 7 – otherwise no change

IECC 2009 language:

104.1 General. Construction or work for which a permit is required shall be subject to inspection by the code official.

Stretch Energy Code change:

Remove section 104.1 and replace with:
104.1 General. Construction or work for which a permit is required shall be subject to inspection by the code official or approved inspection agencies.

Effect of Stretch Energy Code changes:

Adds: ” or approved inspection agencies” – allows inspection agencies such as HERS raters.

IECC 2009 language:

104.5 Approved inspection agencies. The code official is authorized to accept reports of approved inspection agencies, provided such agencies satisfy the requirements as to qualifications and reliability.

  • As an alternative to the building official conducting the inspection, he or she is permitted to accept inspections of and reports by approved inspection agencies. Appropriate criteria on which to base approval of inspection agencies can be found in Section 1703 of the IBC.

Stretch Energy Code change:

Remove section 104.5 and replace with:
104.5 Approved inspection agencies. The code official is authorized to require or accept reports of approved inspection agencies, provided such agencies satisfy the requirements as to qualifications and reliability.

Effect of Stretch Energy Code changes:

Removes the alternative clause and adds it into the base clause with the addition of the word “require” in “require or accept reports” vs. “accept reports”. (This is much clearer and easier)

IECC 2009:

SECTION 107 – FEES
… (many pages) …

SECTION 108 – STOP WORK ORDER
… (many pages) …

SECTION 109 – BOARD OF APPEALS
… (many pages) …

Stretch Energy Code change:

Delete sections 107, 108 and 109

Effect of Stretch Energy Code changes:

Unclear – possibly addressed in the non-energy portion of the building code.

IECC 2009:

CHAPTER 2 – DEFINITIONS
… (many pages) …

Stretch Energy Code addition:

CHAPTER 2 – DEFINITIONS

Insert in section 202:
FENESTRATION PRODUCT, FIELD-FABRICATED
FENESTRATION PRODUCT, SITE-BUILT
FURNACE ELECTRICITY RATIO
ON-SITE RENEWABLE ENERGY

Effect of Stretch Energy Code changes:

- Two definitions for FENESTRATION allows for distinction between pre-assembled and custom windows.
- The other definitions are new – they are referenced elsewhere in the Commercial section.

IECC 2009:

301.1 General. Climate zones from Figure 301.1 or Table 301.1 shall be used in determining the applicable requirements from Chapters 4 and 5. Locations not in Table 301.1 (outside the United States) shall be assigned a climate zone based on Section 301.3.

… (18 pages of tables, maps, and climate zone definition language) …

Stretch Energy Code change:

Delete section 301 and replace with:

Climate Zone 5 and moisture regime A (Moist) shall be used in determining the applicable requirements from Chapters 4 and 5 for locations in Massachusetts.

Effect of Stretch Energy Code changes:

- This is a significant improvement – 18 pages replaced with one sentence.
- IECC 2009 Section 301 is over-wrought in terms of how complex it makes the climate zone definition process – with counties per state listed, etc.
- This is a major simplification; it allows the MA code to be much more straightforward.
- It is also a likely recognition that our climate is changing and therefore some of the previous definitions are no longer relevant.

IECC 2009:

CHAPTER 4 – RESIDENTIAL ENERGY EFFICIENCY
… (40 pages of specs and requirements) …

Stretch Energy Code change:

Delete Chapter 4 and replace with:

CHAPTER 4 – ADVANCED RESIDENTIAL ENERGY EFFICIENCY
… (1 page of prescriptive and performance options for new construction and additions or renovations) …

Effect of Stretch Energy Code changes:

A significant modification – 40 pages of code language is replaced by 1 page.

The new code relieves the Building Inspector of enforcing many energy-related areas of the code for new buildings – and shifts the responsibility to a HERS rater doing a performance test.
The requirements for additions are the most technical – although they are spelled out clearly and refer to an existing Energy Star program that builders are already using, and for which rebates apply.

For additions, the requirements refer to two Energy Star standards:

  1. Energy Star for Homes Prescriptive Builders Option Package (BOP)
    • This program requires windows to be more efficient than before:
      • Old U-factor requirement: 0.35
      • New U-factor requirement: 0.30 (Energy Star Requirement)
    • There is a list of other equipment and appliance qualifications
    • A/C units must meet 13 SEER (efficiency rating)
    • Heating must be 85 AFUE for oil or 90 for Gas
    • Thermostats must be programmable
    • Ductwork has minimum leakage rates (requires test)
    • Insulation must “meet or exceed Sections N1102.1 and N1102.2 of the 2004 IRC”
    • Hot Water heater must have a minimum Efficiency Factor (different for Gas/Electric)
    • Lighting & Appliances – must have 5 or more Energy Star fixtures or appliances installed
  2. The Energy Star Qualified Homes Thermal Bypass Inspection Checklist
    Nothing in the checklist is new, it simply requires checking that the existing code is built to.

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