NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

November 19, 2012

Stretch code meeting slated for Nov. 28

AMESBURY — On Nov. 28, a panel of state energy officials, home builders and green energy experts will meet at City Hall to discuss the state’s “Stretch Building Code” and what it would mean for Amesbury if the city adopted it.

Since the City Council announced the bill on Tuesday, many residents have already weighed in, with some expressing concern over the tighter building requirements and the potentially higher costs the code could impose on homebuilders.

City Councilor Christian Scorzoni, one of the bill’s sponsors, said he isn’t surprised by that initial reaction, but noted that there are a lot of facts to consider and recommended that residents attend the Nov. 28 session before deciding whether they think the change is a good idea.

“As a standalone measure this is complicated, and I think there could be an obvious knee-jerk reaction to more regulation,” Scorzoni said. “But there are also resources to accomplish this and a real benefit to the city overall.”

Established in 2009, the Stretch Energy Building Code is an alternative building code that emphasizes energy efficiency and has tighter building requirements for both residential and commercial projects. Communities can choose to adopt the Stretch Code over the state’s standard building code, and the idea is the code will reduce the community’s energy costs in the long run.

Denis Nadeau, the city’s building inspector, said he doesn’t have any opinion on the Stretch Code either way but added that he doesn’t think it is a bad thing. He said the new code wouldn’t have too much of an impact on new homes and that the biggest changes would be for those who remodel their houses.

“In the long run, I think most people will be happy with it,” he said.

So far, 122 communities had adopted the Stretch Code in Massachusetts, including nearby Newburyport, who adopted the code in 2010. The Stretch Code is one of five requirements to earn Green Community designation from the state, and according to Scorzoni, adopting the Stretch Code would be the biggest hurdle toward reaching that goal.

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