I-Codes And Obama's Better Buildings Initiative

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The International Code Council expects codes developed by its members to play a major role in any push for greater energy efficiency, including meeting the goals of the newly unveiled “Better Buildings Initiative” introduced last week by President Barack Obama. The Code Council’s codes, in place in many jurisdictions throughout the United States, address the initiative’s focus on improving energy efficiency in commercial buildings across the country.

“The International Energy Conservation Code and the International Green Construction Code Public Version 2.0 are two major resources that, with appropriate enforcement capability, can deliver on the initiative’s energy efficient goals for buildings and upgrade sustainability in existing and new American office buildings, stores, schools, city halls, county buildings, state capitols, federal buildings, universities, hospitals, and commercial buildings in general,” ICC CEO Richard P. Weiland said.

“While the use of our codes can have a major impact on energy efficiency in America, to reach the maximum benefit the most recent editions must be adopted and enforced at the federal, state and local levels,” said Code Council Board President Jimmy Brothers.

Requirements in the soon-to-be-released 2012 edition of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) are expected to improve commercial and residential building energy efficiency by 30% more than those built under the 2006 edition, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. For communities using the 2009 IECC, a savings in energy use of approximately 15% could be gained when properly applied, compared to older energy conservation standards. As a result, structures built or upgraded in jurisdictions that adopt the 2009 or the updated 2012 IECC, will consume less energy, reduce building operation cost and save money.

International Green Construction Code (IGCC) Public Version 2.0 applies to new and existing, traditional and high-performance buildings. The IGCC is designed to go beyond traditional code requirements for communities that are pursuing a sustainability goal. Cooperating sponsors of the IGCC are the American Institute of Architects (AIA), ASTM International, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES). Both the 2009 IECC and IGCC Public Version 2.0 are free downloads for governmental units, builders, and anyone interested in using the codes.

Weiland added “we will continue to reach out to the Administration and to work with federal agencies to offer the technical and professional development expertise of the Code Council to make both commercial and residential buildings more energy efficient.”

Code Council members include federal, state, and local code officials as well as building industry members from architecture, to engineering, fire service, building owners, homebuilders, building trades, and other construction industry professions.

According to a White House announcement, the Better Buildings Initiative follows on the President’s State of the Union message regarding winning the future by investing in innovative clean energy technologies and doubling the share of electricity from clean energy sources by 2035, including submittals in his 2012 budget to fund new efforts to improve energy efficiency in commercial buildings across the country. The President’s Better Buildings Initiative proposes to:

  • Achieve a 20% improvement in energy efficiency by 2020;
  • Reduce companies’ and business owners’ energy bills by about $40 billion per year; and
  • Save energy by reforming outdated incentives and challenging the private sector to act.

The International Code Council, a membership association dedicated to building safety, fire prevention, and energy efficiency, develops the codes used to construct residential and commercial buildings, including homes and schools. Most U.S. cities, counties, and states choose the International Codes, building safety codes developed by the International Code Council. The International Codes also serve as the basis for construction of federal properties around the world, and as a reference for many nations outside the United States.

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