South Fork Towns Adopt NYStretch Energy Code

Spray foam insulation
Buildings treated with spray foam insulation can insulate as much as 50% better than traditional insulation products.
Courtesy of Greenlife Solutions

On the South Fork, where large homes abound, energy codes are getting more stringent. Both East Hampton and Southampton Towns have adopted the NYStretch Energy Code-2020, a supplement to the New York State Energy Code, in recent weeks.

Last week, the Southampton Town Board unanimously voted to modify the Home Energy Rating System, a national measurement standard known as HERS, and incorporate the new requirements, created by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. The town, which has been seeking to reduce the overall energy consumption, says that the new code is 10 to 12% more efficient than the minimum requirements of the 2020 Energy Conservation Construction Code of New York State.  

“This is one of many steps that the town and state have taken towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions and energy dependence,” Councilman John Bouvier, who sponsored the resolution, said in a statement  “It’s visionary in some ways and hopefully it will encourage other municipalities, our neighbors in this region, to continue to push toward these goals.”

During a blower door test, used on buildings in order to quantify the amount of air leakage through its enclosure, professional auditors have to depressurize a house.Courtesy of Long Island HERS


The East Hampton Town Board approved the code’s amendment last month. Its new code, effective December 31 both residential and commercial buildings, will result in an overall increase in energy efficiency of 11%, according to a statement. Buildings account for more than 30% of New York’s climate-polluting emissions, according to the state.

“The new code just adopted by the town will require all newly built and substantially reconstructed one-or-two family dwellings up to 4,500 square feet to achieve a HERS score of 50, and those over 4,500 square feet to achieve a HERS score of 31. The code also includes provisions for solar and electric vehicle charging readiness,” East Hampton Town’s statement explains.

While voluntary for towns and villages to do adopt the codes, the state is offering a Clean Energy Communities Action Grant to municipalities that take on the new code. Available money ranges from $5,000 for jurisdictions with 40,000 residents to $50,000 with more residents.

The amended code will require newly-built houses to meet requirements and for systems that affect energy use. More efficient insulation and fenestration requirements are included, along with energy monitoring, more efficient lighting power requirements and additional lighting controls. For instance, 90% of fixtures in a new home will have to meet higher efficacy standards, whereas under the 2016 code, only 75% of lighting fixtures had to meet such requirements.

The town board says this was a proactive step to promote sustainability, environmental protection and energy conservation.  “In recent years, the Town has made great strides to meet the energy and carbon neutrality goals set forth in the Town’s Sustainability Plan,” the statement says.

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