Organizations Create International Green Construction Code

3/16/2010

WASHINGTON, D.C.—What do organizations representing building safety professionals, energy and lighting engineers, green building practitioners, architects and technical standards developers have in common? They have all come together to green the nation’s built environment by establishing a comprehensive model green building code designed to rapidly advance green building practice across the United States.

The International Code Council (ICC), the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) just announced the launch of the International Green Construction Code (IGCC), representing the merger of two national efforts to develop adoptable and enforceable green building codes. The IGCC provides the building industry with language that both broadens and strengthens building codes in a way that will accelerate the construction of high performance green buildings across the United States.

For decades, ICC and ASHRAE have worked to develop codes and standards that have become the industry standard of care for the design, construction, operations and maintenance of residential and commercial buildings in the United States and internationally. In coordination with the efforts of ICC and ASHRAE, USGBC has been leading a nationwide green building movement centered on the LEED Green Building Rating System since LEED was launched in 2000. The convergence of these efforts in the IGCC is perhaps the most significant development in the buildings industry in the past 10 years.

New Regulatory Framework for Green Building

Leveraging ICC’s delivery infrastructure to reach all 50 states and more than 22,000 local jurisdictions with ASHRAE, USGBC and IES’s technical strengths, this partnership will accelerate the proliferation of green building codes and standards developed jointly by ICC, ASHRAE, USGBC and IES across the country and around the globe. The newly launched IGCC establishes a previously unimaginable regulatory framework for the construction of high performance commercial buildings that are safe, sustainable and by the book.

A landmark addition to the technical content of the IGCC is the inclusion of ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, as an alternate path of compliance. Standard 189.1 is a set of technically rigorous requirements, which like the IGCC, covers criteria including water use efficiency, indoor environmental quality, energy efficiency, materials and resource use, and the building’s impact on its site and its community. Standard 189.1 was written by experts representing all areas of the building industry, who contributed tens of thousands of man hours. Developed in a little over three years, the standard underwent four public reviews in which some 2,500 comments were received.

“The emergence of green building codes and standards is an important next step for the green building movement, establishing a much-needed set of baseline regulations for green buildings that is adoptable, usable and enforceable by jurisdictions,” said ICC CEO Richard P. Weiland. “The IGCC provides a vehicle for jurisdictions to regulate green for the design and performance of new and renovated buildings in a manner that is integrated with existing codes as an overlay, allowing all new buildings to reap the rewards of improved design and construction practices.”

ASHRAE Committed to New Code

“Bringing together the code expertise of ICC with the technical expertise of ASHRAE to create a comprehensive green building code will accelerate our transformation to more sustainable building practices,” Gordon Holness, ASHRAE president, said. “ASHRAE is committed to providing the design guidance building designers and engineers need to reduce the energy consumption of buildings.”

“The U.S. Green Building Council’s mission is market transformation and we’ve long recognized the need to reach beyond the market leaders served by LEED to accomplish this goal,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chairman of USGBC. “Broadening the scope of the codes and establishing a higher floor allows us to continue to raise the ceiling, a critical factor in how the building industry is working to mitigate climate change. We are thrilled to see this set of complementary green building codes and standards; our organizations working collaboratively will advance green building nationwide in a way that was never before possible.”

“IES is pleased to support the collaborative efforts of the organizations which demonstrate expertise in code and technical standards development in this comprehensive green building code,” said Rita Harrold, IES director of technology. “IES looks forward to ongoing guidance for sustainable building practices.”

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