Robert J. Kobet, AIA, LEED Faculty
In a deal nearly two years in the making, the International Code Council (ICC) and ASHRAE have signed the final agreement that outlines each organization’s role in the development and maintenance of the new version of the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) sponsored by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), ASHRAE, ICC, the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The code, scheduled to be released in 2018, will be powered by ANSI/ASHRAE/ICC/IES/USGBC Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High-Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings developed using the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved ASHRAE consensus process. The joint Standing Standards Project Committee 189.1 (SSPC) will serve as the consensus body that will work to ensure the standard is consistent and coordinated with the ICC Family of Codes.
ICC Board President Guy Tomberlin says, “Our goal in this partnership all along has been to share resources to increase use of the IgCC and make it simpler for code officials, designers and contractors to build environmentally efficient structures that will lessen energy and water consumption and reduce the carbon footprint.”
The Executive Steering Committee for the effort to align 189.1, the IgCC and LEED consists of representatives of ICC, ASHRAE, USGBC, AIA and IES, and the SSPC chair. The full integration of Standard 189.1 to serve as the technical content of the IgCC will leverage ASHRAE’s technical expertise and increase the standard’s influence on sustainable buildings. ASHRAE President David Underwood says, “We look forward to continuing to engage a broad spectrum of stakeholders in development of Standard 189.1 following the ANSI consensus standards development process. The result will be a comprehensive compliance tool that can be used by jurisdictions worldwide that are committed to a more sustainable built environment.”
The new publication also will align the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) rating system program to ensure a streamlined, effective set of regulatory and above-code options. The green building certification program recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. To receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification.
“This joint initiative will forge the fundamental regulatory building blocks of green construction on which future green building leadership initiatives can grow,” says Brendan Owens, chief of engineering at USGBC. “It takes courage to think differently and to commit to a new model, and for that we thank the leadership of the partner organizations behind IgCC powered by 189.1”
Blending LEED into the IgCC in a way that enables municipalities to recognize the value of LEED certification while customizing local building codes with non-LEED issues is significant. The USGBC has long stated its goal is to no longer be needed, once green building is mainstream. The unprecedented collaboration of IgCC powered by 189.1 participants leverages the unique organizational expertise of the partners in evolving green building codes. It brings AIA, ASHRAE, ICC, IES and USGBC into strategic and tactical alignment on the relationship between 189.1 and the IgCC. The emergence of the IgCC as an alternative to LEED per se helps municipalities set the stage for more LEED certified buildings by advocating for green infrastructure such as rain water harvesting, grey water reuse, permeable paving, more effective storm water management, and other deep green building approaches that traditionally have not been codified. IgCC gives code officials and building inspectors the critical support they need to implement green building development, while indirectly encouraging LEED certified buildings and neighborhoods.
Other individuals and organizations that support this vision and would like to join the effort are invited to contact Dominic Sims at DSims@IccSafe.org or Jeff Littleton at JLittleton@ashrae.org. Green building professionals, product and material suppliers and municipal government officials will all benefit from understanding what is driving the cooperation to advance the IgCC.