The 2008 Sustainable Northampton Plan, gave responsibility to the Northampton municipal government and several of its boards to petition the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the right to adopt a code with a stronger energy efficiency component than the standard building code. Northampton was not the only community to consider this request and as part of the Green Communities Act of 2008, Massachusetts developed a second tier building code that gives cities and towns the ability to choose stronger energy performance in buildings.
This optional energy code is known as the ‘stretch code’. This stretch code increases the energy efficiency code requirements for new construction (both residential and commercial) and for major residential renovations or additions in municipalities that adopt it.
In April 2010, the Northampton City Council adopted the Massachusetts optional stretch energy code for the city.