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ICC’s New Green Building Code

Public Comments Needed Before May 15, 2010

The International Code Council announced the release of Public Version 1.0 of the International Green Construction Code (IGCC) which is now open for public comment (ending May 15, 2010).

The initial document (According to the ICC):

  • Will use the “model” code approach
  • Minimum and advanced levels of performance (Green and high-performance buildings)
  • Will work as an overlay to the ICC Family of Codes
  • Written in mandatory language that provides a new regulatory framework
  • Will provide performance and prescriptive solutions
  • Will account for local conditions
  • Reflect the AIA 2030 Challenge
  • Work in tandem with leading Green rating systems
  • Designed with local, state & federal law in mind

The Initial IGCC, is intended to provide a companion document to the ICC code series that will aid the municipality in these upcoming challenges.

The IGCC emphasizes building performance, including features such as a requirement for building system performance verification and building owner education to ensure the best energy-efficient practices. A key feature of the new code is a section devoted to “jurisdictional electives” that will allow customization of the code beyond its baseline provisions to address local priorities and conditions.

The IGCC initiative was launched in 2009 with Cooperating Sponsors the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and ASTM International.   According to the ICC the support of the AIA underscores its long-time leadership in the sustainability movement, including its 2030 Carbon Neutrality challenge, and its emphasis on the critical role of architects and designers in the life cycle of sustainable construction.

Principals from the ICC, AIA and ASTM pointed out how the IGCC helps further the mission of their organizations and members. “We talked to communities who indicate that their voluntary green building programs reach only, but an important, 30 percent of the built environment,” Code Council CEO Richard P. Weiland said. “This means that there is a clear need for a regulatory tool to establish a baseline to help jurisdictions meet their sustainability goals.”

AIA Executive Vice President/CEO Christine McEntee said, “The IGCC reinforces the role of the architect as a key leader in shaping the set of decisions that result in a truly green building and underlines the fact that good design matters. The AIA committed its resources to providing a strong presence at the drafting sessions to ensure that this code would truly be useful to our members and other stakeholders, and to ensure that the regulatory landscape was structured to facilitate the advancement beyond the AIA’s 2030 energy reduction goals for carbon neutral buildings. We are very pleased with the release of this initial public version and are committed to working with the ICC as the code moves forward through the review and adoption process.”

“We are proud of the valuable role that ASTM technical committees play in contributing to green building and construction initiatives,” said James A. Thomas, President, ASTM International. “Over 20 ASTM test methods, performance specifications, guides and practices are referenced in IGCC Public Version 1.0 in areas such as solar technology, environmental site assessment, and environmental aspects of cement and concrete.”

The work of the ICC/AIA/ASTM team in developing the IGCC is now joined with the Standard developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES). The IGCC will now reference the ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1-2009 for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings, Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, as an alternative jurisdictional compliance option within the IGCC.

Now is the time to provide input to the code development process on this new standard and ensure the public safety of our communities are continued.  The need to ensure that minimum codes and standards are not pushed aside because of new building techniques.

How will this new standard impact your community?


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