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Groups Respond to Call for Green Code


By Robert J. Kobet, AIA

In a deal nearly two years in the making, the International Code Council (ICC) and ASHRAE have signed the final agreement that outlines each organization’s role in the development and maintenance of the new version of the International Green Construction Code (IgCC).

International Code Council

A new version of the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) is scheduled for release in 2018.

Sponsored by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), ASHRAE, ICC, the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the code, scheduled to be released in 2018, will be powered by ANSI/ASHRAE/ICC/IES/USGBC Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High-Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings. The standard was developed using the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved ASHRAE consensus process.

“Our goal in this partnership all along has been to share resources to increase use of the IgCC and make it simpler for code officials, designers and contractors to build environmentally efficient structures that will lessen energy and water consumption and reduce the carbon footprint,” ICC Board President Guy Tomberlin said in a statement.

The joint Standing Standards Project Committee 189.1 will serve as the consensus body that will work to ensure the standard is consistent and coordinated with the ICC Family of Codes.

The Executive Steering Committee for the effort to align 189.1, the IgCC and LEED consists of representatives of ICC, ASHRAE, USGBC, AIA and IES, and the Project Committee Chair. 

‘Comprehensive Compliance Tool’

The full integration of Standard 189.1 to serve as the technical content of the IgCC will leverage ASHRAE’s technical expertise and increase the standard’s influence on sustainable buildings.

Green Building
© / Giorez

The unprecedented collaboration of the IgCC participants leverages the unique organizational expertise of the partners in evolving green building codes.

ASHRAE President David Underwood said, “We look forward to continuing to engage a broad spectrum of stakeholders in development of Standard 189.1 […]. The result will be a comprehensive compliance tool that can be used by jurisdictions worldwide that are committed to a more sustainable built environment.”

The new publication also will align the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) rating system program to ensure a streamlined, effective set of regulatory and above-code options. The green building certification program recognizes “best-in-class” building strategies and practices, according to officials. In order to receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification.

“This joint initiative will forge the fundamental regulatory building blocks of green construction on which future green building leadership initiatives can grow,” says Brendan Owens, chief of engineering at USGBC.

“It takes courage to think differently and to commit to a new model, and for that we thank the leadership of the partner organizations behind IgCC powered by 189.1.”

Significant Step

The blending of LEED into the IgCC in a way that enables municipalities to recognize the value of LEED certification, while customizing local building codes with non-LEED issues is significant.

As USGBC faculty I’ve attended multiple training sessions, committee meetings and conference speeches where I’ve heard USGBC personnel say the USGBC’s long-term goal is that it no longer be needed, once green building is mainstream. While I have never believed that discourse, I can appreciate the unprecedented collaboration of the organizations involved in “IgCC powered by 189.1.”

Bringing the AIA, ASHRAE, ICC, IES and USGBC into strategic and tactical alignment on the relationship between 189.1 and the IgCC leverages the unique organizational expertise of the partners in evolving green building codes, but I seriously question whether USGBC will dissolve once the effort is mature and in full effect. A September 2015 report, titled “Green Building Economic Impact Study” and produced for the USGBC, suggests the green building movement is well on its way to becoming mainstream.

Moreover, the numerous other green-building rating systems that have emerged since LEED began circa 2000 will further insure the success of the green building movement.

A Green Code for All

The emergence of the IgCC as an alternative to LEED per se helps municipalities set the stage for more LEED certified buildings by advocating for green infrastructure, such as rain water harvesting, grey water reuse, permeable paving, more effective storm water management, and other deep green building approaches that traditionally have not been codified. 

Building Inspectors
© / SharpPhotoPro

IgCC will provide code officials and building inspectors the critical support they need to implement green building development, while indirectly encouraging LEED certified buildings and neighborhoods.

IgCC gives code officials and building inspectors the critical support they need to implement green building development, while indirectly encouraging LEED certified buildings and neighborhoods.

Other individuals and organizations that support this vision and would like to join the effort are invited to contact Dominic Sims or Jeff Littleton.

Green building professionals, product and material suppliers and municipal government officials will all benefit from understanding what is driving the cooperation to advance the IgCC.


Robert J. Kobet, AIA

Robert J. Kobet has enjoyed a dual career as an architect and educator. For more than 35 years Kobet practiced internationally in the fields of sustainable design and development, high-performance green buildings, LEED consulting and environmental education. He is currently enjoying a working retirement that includes a position as adjunct faculty in the Kent State University College of Architecture and Environmental Design where he teaches a variety of courses based on sustainability and regenerative environmental stewardship. For more about Kobet, please visit



Tagged categories: American Institute of Architects (AIA); Architects; Building design; Construction; Good Technical Practice; Green building; LEED; Schools; The Kobet Collaborative; Accreditation; ANSI; ASHRAE; Building codes; Certifications and standards; Engineers; Green design; International Building Code; International Green Construction Code; North America; Sustainability

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