Meeting the Stretch Energy Code

By Aliza Heeren, Marketing and High Performance Building Fellow

This January, the Massachusetts stretch energy code updated their energy efficiency standards from the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) to the 2015 IECC, and the Center for EcoTechnology’s high performance building team is here to help you navigate the updates. These changes will require builders working in any of the 180 stretch code towns in Massachusetts to meet much stricter energy standards; such as reducing the envelope leakage down to 3.0 air changes per hour, and building an energy efficient home with a Home Energy (HERS) index that is 55 or less. To learn more about the specific changes in the new code, you can visit our blog or attend one of our energy code trainings. Once you have a grasp on the changes made, it’s time to start thinking about how you are going to meet the changes in your upcoming projects.

We spoke with one of our home energy raters, John Saveson, to learn more about his experience so far helping builders meet the new code. John commented, “recently I’ve had a couple of houses that are subject to the updated stretch code, and in both cases they are going to have to make some energy efficiency upgrades compared to what they thought they were going to be doing.” Building homes to comply with the new stretch energy code is going to be a stretch for any builder who is not already focusing on high efficiency. In the past two years alone, CET’s high performance building team has worked with about 65 homes that would not meet the new stretch code because their HERS index was above 55, and about 45 homes that would not meet it because they were over three air changes per hour.

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What You Need to Know About the New Massachusetts Energy Code

By Peggy MacLeod, Sales Representative, and Aliza Heeren, Marketing High Performance Building Fellow

As of January 1, 2017, the Massachusetts Energy Code has adopted stricter energy efficiency standards required for all new homes. The state base energy code transitioned from the 2012 International Energy Code (IECC) standards to the 2015 IECC with a few specific amendments for Massachusetts. In addition, the Massachusetts stretch energy code, which has been adopted by over 180 Massachusetts towns, made a huge leap from the 2009 IECC requirements to the 2015 IECC requirements. This stringent new standard asks a lot of building professionals, and the Center for EcoTechnology is available to help make the transition as seamless as possible. CET has years of experience in high performance building and has performed over 2,000 HERS ratings. CET experts are available to assist builders through IECC code trainings, consultations, and HERS services.

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New Uses for Your Spruces: Creative Reuse for your Christmas Tree

By Kevin Pink, Marketing and Development Specialist 

The holidays have come and gone, and with 25-30 million fresh-cut Christmas trees being purchased in the United States every year, there are soon to be a lot of spruces and firs that need to be disposed of. We’ve got some helpful hints about ways you can put your tannenbaum to good use once you’ve taken the lights and decorations off. 

Create an animal shelter.

If you don’t have your own pond, your tree makes a great shelter for land animals as well! You can also coat some branches in peanut butter or margarine to give animals a little snack along with their shelter. Squirrels, birds, rabbits and others will all appreciate a safe, warm place to ride out the winter!

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Greening Your New Year’s Party

Your Guide to a Green New Year’s Party

By Chiara Favaloro, Marketing Fellow

Follow this guide to throw a fun and sustainable New Year’s party while also saving money and reducing waste!

  • Invitations: Be sustainable from the start by sending your guests paperless invitations! You can easily create a Facebook event or design an electronic invitation that you can email, but will looks just as fancy as a paper one.
  • Decorating: When setting up your festive space, decorate sustainably by having soy or beeswax candles, strings of LED lights hung around the room, festive flowers or plants, and an organic edible fruit basket centerpiece! You can also make your own confetti out of old magazines and newspapers to throw when the clock strikes 12.
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Food Waste Initiative Creates Jobs in Massachusetts

To help businesses and institutions maximize recycling, reuse, and composting opportunities, the Center for EcoTechnology administers a program called  RecyclingWorksMA for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. The agency has just released a report highlighting the economic benefits in Massachusetts of food waste reduction initiatives. The following post, with a link to the report, was originally posted on the RecyclingWorksMA blog.

And continuing the theme of economic successes in the state that are linked to environmental and economic sustainability initiatives, the Mass. Clean Energy Energy just released it’s annual Clean Energy Industry Report, which describes significant growth in this sector over 2015!


Yesterday, December 22, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) released a new report highlighting the positive economic benefits of reducing food waste. This report studied the effects of the Massachusetts Commercial Food Waste Ban, which prohibits businesses and institutions that generate one ton or more of food waste per week from disposing of that waste in the trash. About 1,700 facilities such as universities, supermarkets, food processors, hotels, conference centers, and restaurants are subject to the ban. This ban, which went into effect in October of 2014, was the nation’s first requiring commercial entities to divert wasted food from disposal via donation, animal feed, anaerobic digestion, or composting.

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