How Will the International Green Construction Code Affect Your Product?

The International Code Council's newest effort is its International Green Construction Code. This new code will address communities' need to adopt model sustainable design regulations, in order to meet their sustainability goals and mandates. The intent of the code is that it "should provide a new regulatory framework built with leading recognized rating systems in mind, and that it should provide criteria to drive green building into everyday practice." In other words, it is to provide an enforceable set of requirements for sustainable commercial construction, available for cities and states to adopt into law.

The IGCC's scope (excerpted from the IGCC's Development Update page):

  • The Code should be developed to apply to commercial buildings in a manner that is consistent and coordinated with the ICC Family of Codes and Standards.
  • The Code should be applicable to the construction of buildings, structures, and systems, including alterations and additions.
  • The Code should set a baseline of green requirements that build upon the ICC Family of Codes; further options beyond the baseline should also be included.
  • The Code should address: energy use efficiency; water use
    efficiency; materials and resource use; indoor environment quality; the
    building’s impact on environment; site design; sustainable building
    owner/facility management education; and, existing buildings.
The ICC Board of Directors has convened a Sustainable Building Technology Committee (SBTC), with the goal of creating a draft IGCC to be submitted for public comment in Spring 2010. Meetings began in July of this year and will continue until January or February 2010. The third meeting begins this Thursday, October 8, in Philadelphia. After a full cycle of code development, final action hearings will be held in Fall of 2011.

Now is the time to get involved with the development of this new code. Happily for building product manufacturers, the code development process is quite accessible. To participate in the current phase (excerpted from the Development Updates page):

  • Attendance at all meetings of the SBTC and its Working Groups is welcomed. Please consult our website for more information.
  • Interested parties participating in the Working Groups are afforded the opportunity to submit comments for Working Group consideration. In all cases, Working Group recommendations will be submitted to the full SBTC for final disposition.

To follow the code's development, keep an eye on the First Draft Development page, where you'll find the latest drafts with commentary from each working group, rosters and scopes for each working group, and meeting agendas.

What should you watch for? Think beyond LEED; while this code is informed by current green building guidelines and rating systems, it is not bound by them. Look for:

  • Your product's classification in the Material Selection section;
  • Service life requirements for projects and components of projects;
  • Life cycle analysis requirements;
  • Mandatory and elective compliance;
  • Envelope energy performance,
  • Moisture management;
  • Material emissions, not just for indoor air quality but for greenhouse gas emissions.

Chusid Associates is already helping clients to shape this document. We are available for you, as well.