What is the anticipated cost to the property owner of complying with the code?
In almost all cases, expected energy savings from complying with the stretch energy code will exceed the cost. New construction projects that are designed to meet the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rating targets can do so cost effectively, as many builders have already demonstrated through the voluntary Energy Star Homes Program. In the case of building renovations, there are more design constraints, but lower standards to meet. Typical projects involve adding insulation and air sealing and will see relatively rapid paybacks. If major equipment upgrades are selected, then the payback could be longer. However, for renovations, equipment such as boilers and furnaces would not be required to be replaced, although the owner may have other reasons to do so.

The City of Cambridge hired the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, a nonprofit energy organization that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has used for energy expertise, to assess the impact on a triple decker building undergoing a major renovation. Using plans from an actual triple decker located on Magazine Street and assuming the project follows the performance path, the modeling indicates that it is relatively easy (e.g., add insulation and conduct air sealing) for the triple decker to achieve a HERS rating of 85.

The energy savings each year exceed the cost of financing the improvements. The savings estimate was conservative and did not include any utility energy efficiency incentives or tax incentives in the cost of meeting the code requirements. A copy of the modeling results is available from Cambridge’s Community Development Department.

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1. What is the anticipated cost to the property owner of complying with the code?
2. Will implementing the stretch code save me money on utilities?
3. What low-cost interventions can I do to meet the stretch energy code?
4. What kinds of projects trigger the stretch energy code?
5. What is the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rating?
6. What are the prescriptive measures that can satisfy the stretch energy code?
7. Can I limit a remodeling project to items of my own choosing?
8. If I’m doing a small remodeling project, like a kitchen or bathroom renovation, will I have to meet the stretch energy code?
9. Do I have to achieve a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rating if my project is only a renovation of an existing building?
10. Would existing buildings or historic buildings have to be upgraded to comply with the stretch code appendix?
11. As a residential property owner, how would I comply with the stretch energy code?
12. What categories do multifamily residential buildings fall into?
13. What training do Home Energy Rating System (HERS) raters undergo?
14. How do I find a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rater?
15. How could my contractor know how to meet the stretch energy code?
16. What kinds of technical and financial help are available to property owners and contractors?
17. How would the stretch energy code be enforced?