Slash Your Building's Waste With a Stretch Code

03/07/2018 | By Janelle Penny

Does your building exceed the baseline energy efficiency performance required by your local code? If so, it may be able to meet the more stringent requirements of the New Buildings Institute’s stretch building code strategies.

The 20 Percent Stretch Code Provisions are a set of tools to help jurisdictions increase the stringency of local codes to accelerate efficiency improvements. They’re designed to achieve a 20 percent performance improvement over existing national model energy codes, like IECC 2015 and ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2013, and include design strategies for envelope, mechanical, water heating, lighting and plug loads.

But you don’t have to wait for your area to adopt the stretch code revisions during code review – any individual building can use the stretch code as a framework, and state and local governments that choose to make the code’s adoption voluntary may even incentivize owners and builders to hit the stretch requirements.

“The stretch code provisions are designed to be flexible and allow cities and states to chart their own course toward creating a better building stock locally,” explains Mark Frankel, Technical Director of the New Buildings Institute and developer of the stretch code provisions.

New York launched a similar effort in 2015 to get the state ready for a planned zero energy code in 2030. Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued three easily quantifiable targets to bridge the gap to zero energy:

  • 1) A 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels
  • 2) 50 percent of energy requirements derived from renewable sources
  • 3) 23 percent decrease in building energy consumption from 2012 levels

In response, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) developed NYStretch-Energy, a stretch code to achieve an energy savings of roughly 10 percent above the code minimum (at the time, 2015 IECC) for all building types. The idea was that the stretch code would stay one cycle ahead of the baseline.

Ready to embrace the future of energy codes and ensure your building will be compliant during the next cycle? Check out the stretch code webinar at

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