The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, April 30, 2010

Selectmen oppose “stretch code”

The Board of Selectmen unanimously support all Warrant Articles for May 10 Town Meeting with two notable exceptions. When they considered the items at their April 27 meeting, Selectman John Williams opposed the non-binding consideration of the Community Preservation Act – annual project requests (Article 21), and the board – with the sole exception of Chair Timothy Hult – united to oppose Adoption of the Stretch Code (Article 28), an optional building code intended to increase the energy efficiency of new and renovated buildings.

“Most folks in Carlisle are already meeting or exceeding the energy code,” said Selectman Doug Stevenson. He expressed concern that the adoption of the supplemental stretch code would lead to growth of a “cottage industry” needed to support implementation and thereby add costs. The code requires measurement of energy performance with a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score provided by a third-party for review by the town’s building inspector.

Selectmen Peter Scavongelli concurred with Stevenson that the added requirements would add cost, and did not see the sense in adding a code that was already being met by most builders. Williams noted that he did not support the code for the reasons stated, although added that he does support the town’s energy committee. Williams added that adoption of the stretch code would impact the proposed Benfield construction somewhat, although details are still forthcoming. Selectmen Bill Tice also opposed the code.

Hult defended his position, “I believe we need to act strategically on all fronts . . . to move to significant reduction of fossil fuels.” He spoke to the town’s obligation to lead in implementing a goal that he believes will become “the code of the state.” He noted that he firmly believed that anybody has the right to build any size house on a property, but there are ramifications. He added that the standards may be unpopular but are important.

As the lone supporter among the Selectmen, Hult will introduce the article at Town Meeting.

Building Commissioner John Luther, contacted after the meeting, said he was not surprised at the lack of support for the stretch code by the Selectmen. He had provided several presentations to the Selectmen in the form of open hearings over the past few months. “I could tell by the questions they were asking that they might not support it,” said Luther, citing opposition to more regulation. Luther supports the code and noted, “It’s a great thing to go forward and reduce energy costs and reduce dependence on foreign oil. The code reduces energy bills and helps the environment.” He felt it “makes sense in Carlisle” where larger homes are being built and a 10% savings on energy can have a real impact. ∆

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