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Landmark Green-Building Code Launched

Friday, March 12, 2010

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Organizations representing the green-building industry, architects, safety professionals, energy and lighting engineers, and technical-standards developers announced the launch of a comprehensive model green-building code that seeks to “rapidly advance green building practice across the U.S.” 

The launch of the International Green Construction Code (IGCC) was announced by 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). The action represents the merger of two national efforts to develop “adoptable and enforceable green building codes,” the organizations said in a joint announcement.

“The convergence of these efforts in the IGCC is perhaps the most significant development in the buildings industry in the past 10 years,” the organizations said in the statement issued last week.

“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 U.S.,” the statement said.

Representatives of ASHRAE, IES, USGBC, and ICC are scheduled to convene Monday at ICC’s Washington, D.C., headquarters to formally launch the IGCC. They will be joined by co-authors the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM). The organizations said the IGCC will be available for wide distribution, “providing much-heeded content, code language, and vision for more safe and sustainable future.”

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, and was developed in just over three years. The standard underwent four public reviews in which some 2,500 comments were received.

The ICC and ASHRAE have worked for decades to develop codes and standards that become the industry standard for the design, construction, operations and maintenance of residential and commercial buildings in the U.S. and internationally. In coordination with the work of ICC and ASHRAE, USGBC has been leading a nationwide green-building movement centered on the LEED Green Building Rating System, which was launched in 2000.

The organizations said the International Green Construction Code will leverage ICC’s vast delivery infrastructure to reach all 50 states and more than 22,000 local jurisdictions. Combined with the technical expertise of ASHRAE, USGBC, and IES, the 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 groups said in the statement. The International Green Construction Code “establishes a previously unimaginable regulatory framework for the construction of high-performance commercial buildings that are safe, sustainable and by the book,” they said.

“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.”

Gordon Holness, ASHRAE president, said, “Bringing together the code expertise of ICC with technical expertise of ASHRAE to create a comprehensive green-building code will accelerate our transformation to more sustainable building practices.”

Also adding statements of support for the new international green-building code were USGBC President Rick Fedrizzi and IES Director of Technology Rita Harrold.

The organizations said they are also working together to advance related education and advocacy efforts to promote adoption, enforcement, and compliance with the IGCC codes, which they said “will pave the way for green buildings and neighborhoods, while creating jobs and strengthening the economy.

More information on IGCC: www.iccsafe.org/cs/IGCC/Pages/default.aspx.

More information on Standard 189.1: www.ashrae.org/greenstandard.

   

Tagged categories: Green building; ICC; International Building Code; Sustainability

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