Building Energy Code

January 03, 2023


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. 

The stretch code and specialized code are currently based on 2021 IECC, and are located under 225 CMR 22.00 and 225 CMR 23.00 which cover residential and commercial construction respectively. 

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.

Program Overview

Implementing Sector: State
Category: Regulatory Policy
State: Massachusetts
Incentive Type: Building Energy Code
Web Site:
Start Date:
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
  • Comprehensive Measures/Whole Building
Residential Code: Ninth Edition, Massachusetts Building Code Residential Volume (780 CMR) -- Chapter 51 stipulates that new homes comply with 2015 IECC, with MA amendments.
Commercial Code: Ninth Edition, Massachusetts Base Building Code (780 CMR) -- Chapter 13 stipulates that new buildings comply with 2015 IECC and ASHRAE 90.1-2013, with MA amendments.
Code Change Cycle: The state Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) is required to revise the building code to the latest version of the IECC every three years. Public hearings are held each May and November to consider proposed modifications to the code. Most recent update effective October 20, 2017.


Name: Public Information Officer
Organization: State Board of Building Regulations and Stand
Address: 1000 Washington Street, Suite 710
Boston MA 02118
Phone: (617) 727-3200

This information is sourced from DSIRE; the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University.