Ask anyone in construction or building design today and they will tell you that “green building” is the most prevalent trend.
However, up until now there has been no agreed-upon standards or codes stipulating what constitutes “green.” Recently four building organizations released the International Green Construction Code (IGCC), representing the merger of two national efforts to develop adoptable and enforceable green building codes. The convergence of these efforts in the IGCC is perhaps the most significant development in the buildings industry in the past 10 years.
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) worked together to create the IGCC.
For decades, ICC and ASHRAE have worked to develop codes and standards that become the industry standard of care for the design, construction, operations and maintenance of residential and commercial buildings in the U.S. and internationally. In coordination with the efforts of ICC and ASHRAE, USGBC has been leading a nationwide green building movement centered on the LEED Green Building Rating System since LEED was launched in 2000.
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. It establishes a previously unimaginable regulatory framework for the construction of high performance commercial buildings that are safe, sustainable and by the book. Developed in a little over three years, the standard underwent four public reviews in which some 2,500 comments were received.
“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 Chief Executive Officer 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.”
“The U.S. Green Building Council’s mission is market transformation and we’ve long recognized the need to reach beyond the market leaders served by LEED to accomplish this goal,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chairman of the U.S. Green Building Council. “Broadening the scope of the codes and establishing a higher floor allows us to continue to raise the ceiling, a critical factor in how the building industry is working to mitigate climate change. We are thrilled to see this set of complementary green building codes and standards; our organizations working collaboratively will advance green building nationwide in a way that was never before possible. ”
The IGCC is available for wide distribution, providing much-needed content, code language, and vision for more safe and sustainable future. The organizations are working together to advance related education and advocacy efforts to promote adoption, enforcement and compliance with the IGCC codes that will pave the way for green buildings and neighborhoods, while creating jobs and strengthening the economy.
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