Christopher P. Soper, LEED® AP contributed to this post.
To further the efforts to reduce the negative impact that buildings can have on the environment the International Code Counsel (ICC) created the International Green Construction Code (IGCC) to serve as a resource tool to be adopted and administered by governments at any level on a mandatory basis. Specifically designed to produce environmental benefits on a massive scale beyond voluntary rating systems, the IGCC allows governments to customize and shape the code to address that jurisdiction’s specific environmental concerns and goals. The IGCC was developed by the ICC in association with ASTM International and the American Institute of Architects and can be readily used by manufacturers, design professionals and contractors.
The IGCC applies to new and existing commercial buildings and addresses fundamental aspects of green and sustainable building, including:
- Site development and land use
- Water and material resource conservation
- Indoor environmental quality
The ICC recently released Public Version 2.0 of the IGCC during the U.S. Green Building Council’s November 2010 Greenbuild conference. The most significant revision to the IGCC was in the area of energy efficiency, including a switch from Version 1.0’s total annual net energy use to a Zero Energy Performance Index. Further, Version 2.0 requires buildings to use no more than 51% of the mean energy used by similar buildings in the year 2000. Other notable changes in Version 2.0 include new asbestos removal requirements, a 20% water savings beyond U.S. federal standards for residential water closets, and a clarification of design professionals’ responsibilities to the owner to prevent conflicts with state and local requirements.
Code change proposals for Version 2.0 were received through January 3, 2011 and development hearings are scheduled for May 2011 in Dallas, Texas. The first edition of the IGCC is scheduled to be released in March 2012. Once the first edition is released, it will be updated every three years.
The IGCC was designed to be adopted as a code and establish the minimum requirements for green building design and performance. Once adopted, compliance with the code will be mandatory. The IGCC serves to complement, not replace, LEED, a voluntary rating system. While the IGCC creates the floor for green building requirements, LEED will continue to push the limits on what is possible in “voluntary above-code green building rating systems.”