New green construction code debuted

Washington, D.C. The International Code Council has released the first public version of the International Green Construction Code (IGCC), intended to serve as a comprehensive standard for improving the environmental performance of new and existing commercial buildings.

The code aims to reduce energy use and cut greenhouse gases from buildings, as well as to emphasize building performance. It focuses on site development and land use, indoor air quality and promotes the use of energy-efficient appliances, renewable energy systems, water resource conservation, rainwater collection and distribution systems and the recovery of greywater.

The IGCC emphasizes building performance, including features such as a requirement for building system performance verification and building owner education to ensure the best energy-efficient practices. A key feature of the new standard is a section devoted to “jurisdictional electives” that will allow customization of the code beyond its baseline provisions to address local priorities and conditions.

The code was developed in partnership with major players in the construction and buildings spheres, including the American Institute of Architects, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerants and Air-Conditioning Engineers, the Illuminating Engineering Society and the U.S. Green Building Council.

The IGCC is open for public comments until May 14. Comments will be incorporated into a second public version to be released this fall, and the final version is expected to be published in early 2012.

Once the code has been finalized, it will be available for municipalities to adopt as their own local and regional building codes, and can be harmonized with existing codes.

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