Take a Peek at the Future of Building Codes – International Green Construction Code

It’s about time! The International Green Construction Code (IGCC), subtitled “Safe and Sustainable: By the Book” has just completed the public comment stage.  The draft code is a joint effort of the International Code Council (ICC), the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and ASTM International. The AIA and ASTM have played a vital role in the development of the IGCC.

The AIA presence guarantees a focus on the AIA’s 2030 Carbon Neutrality Goal. ASTM International, which carries a worldwide reputation as a standards developer, strengthens the scientific basis that will drive the Code. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) joined the ICC/AIA/ASTM team in reviewing and commenting on the Code.

This model Code focuses on new and existing commercial buildings and addresses green building design and performance. It creates a baseline for green building by making our basic practices more sustainable while leaving plenty of room for improvement. With many of the lessons learned from the sustainable construction evolution to date being made code, it gives us an opportunity to push the targets of more advanced programs “further down field.” Can you imagine what we may learn or what innovations may come from that?  You can download a copy of the proposed code for review or you can view the video.

We need a green building code.  Up until now, we have only had green standards to define and support the sustainability movement. A standard is just an agreement but a code can be enforced.  The USGBC and NAHB paved the way toward making a solid commitment to build responsibly but creating a Code on a national and international level really changes the game.

Once we have a Green Construction Code the states will need to adopt or amend it to suite their unique requirements. But at least now we have a model Code to put in front of them as a starting point. It couldn’t get here soon enough. 

What are your thoughts as to the pros and cons to an International Green Construction Code?

 

Lucas Hamilton

Lucas Hamilton is Manager, Building Science Applications for CertainTeed Corporation.

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