Opinion: On the stretch code in Marion

May 28, 2024

To the editor:

As of this week, 300 of the 351 towns and cities in Massachusetts have chosen to adopt the stretch code. Only Rochester has withdrawn; Marion should not make that mistake. The new version of this code will have little to no effect on most existing houses, continue to bring the town some significant financial benefits, and will reduce the town's long-term environmental impact.

There is a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation floating around about the code, where and when its newly increased standards for energy conservation will apply, its benefits to the town and its costs, and even what it does and does not actually mandate. Thus several upcoming information sessions have been added by the town for honest discussion of what the stretch code will and will not do.

Two of the most common misconceptions regarding residential buildings are that the updated stretch code will apply only to new houses and those undergoing major renovations of more than 1,000 square feet or 50% of the existing building. It does not mandate all new houses be all-electric.

Frequently asked questions about the stretch code from the state government are available at mass.gov/doc/stretch-energy-and-municipal-opt-in-specialized-building-code-faq/download.

Chuck Green, Marion