ICC Announces Availability of New Green Building Code

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A new model code for constructing and remodeling buildings is expected to make buildings more efficient, reduce waste, and have a positive impact on health, safety, and community welfare. The 2012 International Green Construction Code (IgCC) will increase the energy efficiency of structures, while providing direction and oversight of green design and construction, according to the International Code Council.

“The Code Council and its sponsors announce a new green construction code that will make a contribution toward healthier, lower impact, and more sustainable building practices,” said Richard P. Weiland, CEO of the ICC which developed the new code. “The International Green Construction Code was developed during the last three years with input from code and construction industry professionals, environmental organizations, policy makers, and the public. Our community was diligent in developing a code that is not only adoptable, usable, and enforceable, but it is also flexible and adaptable. We expect this new model code, like the family of other ICC Codes, to be adopted across the country and used globally.”

For more than 100 years, building codes in the United States have evolved to incorporate critical safeguards for building occupants based on the most current building science. More recently, communities have been calling for a regulatory tool that offers minimum safeguards against building related risks for safe and sustainable construction and complements voluntary rating systems. Several state and local jurisdictions already have taken this direction by putting into place early versions of the IgCC that were released during the development of the code.

The 2012 IgCC was developed at public hearings with input from experts in code development and enforcement, architecture, engineering, building science, environmental advocacy, government, business, academia, and the public. IgCC was developed with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and ASTM International as the initial cooperating sponsors, and with the support of ASHRAE, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES).

“Coordinated with the ICC family of codes, the IgCC is designed for use in communities that are pursuing sustainable construction above and beyond the traditional level of requirements in our codes,” said William D. Dupler, ICC Board President. “This code has been developed in collaboration with our sponsors. We thank them for their valuable support and for recognizing the need to develop a comprehensive set of green regulations.”

Green construction creates jobs and contributes to economic growth according to the USGBC Green Jobs Study. In addition, there is no significant difference in the average life cycle cost for green buildings as compared to non-green buildings, according to research by the global construction consultants firm Davis Langdon.

The IgCC is the first model code to include sustainability measures for an entire construction project and its site—from design through construction, certificate of occupancy, and beyond. It establishes minimum green requirements for buildings.

The IgCC offers flexibility to jurisdictions that adopt the code by establishing several levels of compliance, starting with the core provisions of the code, and then offering “jurisdictional requirement” options that can be customized to fit the needs of a local community. A jurisdiction can also require higher performance through the use of “project electives” provisions.

The code acts as an overlay to the existing set of International Codes, including provisions of the International Energy Conservation Code and ICC-700, the National Green Building Standard, and incorporates ASHRAE Standard 189.1 as an alternate path to compliance.

The IgCC provides model code language that establishes a baseline for new and existing buildings related to energy conservation, water efficiency, site impacts, building waste, material resource efficiency, and other sustainability measures. The IgCC will be updated alongside the other model codes developed through the Code Council’s open, transparent, and consensus-based code development process.

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