International Green Construction Code Gains Momentum throughout U.S.
Use of IgCC from Arizona to Florida Continues to Set the Bar for Sustainable Construction
Green building is becoming the new standard for environmentally and safety conscious U.S. cities and states, as more jurisdictions use the new International Green Construction Code (IgCC) to address sustainable construction for new and existing buildings. Boynton Beach, Fla., and Phoenix are the most recent in a series of local and state governments to adopt the IgCC, according to the International Code Council.
“The use of the IgCC is a critical step to ensure that communities build sustainable and safe buildings,” ICC CEO Richard P. Weiland said. “We are pleased to recognize Boynton Beach and Phoenix for demonstrating their commitment to sustainability in both the construction and retrofitting of buildings.”
Boynton Beach is the first city in Florida to adopt the IgCC as the core of its local voluntary green code that went into effect in April. The Phoenix City Council unanimously approved the adoption of the IgCC and ICC 700, the National Green Building Standard, effective July 1.
The IgCC applies to new and existing, traditional and high-performance commercial buildings and includes ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1 as a compliance option. Coordinated with the ICC family of codes, the IgCC is designed to go beyond traditional code requirements for communities that are pursuing safe and sustainable construction.
Other jurisdictions using the IgCC include:
- Richland, Wash., adopted the IgCC as a non-mandatory document for commercial buildings.
- Kayenta Township, Ariz., adopted Public Version 2.0 on a voluntary basis and may be incorporated into the community’s Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance.
- In Keene, N.H., the IgCC is an “Allowable Green Building System” in the city’s Sustainable Energy Efficient Development zone, a voluntary urban incentive-based area that promotes green building and redevelopment in its downtown.
- The Fort Collins, Colo., City Council voted to approve significant extractions from the IgCC and the National Green Building Standard, ICC 700, as part of green building code amendments to the city’s building codes, effective in January 2012.
- The state of Rhode Island Green Buildings Act identifies the IgCC as an equivalent standard in compliance with requirements that all public agency major facility projects be designed and constructed as green buildings. It includes ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1 as a jurisdictional compliance option.
- The state of Maryland adopted the IgCC to apply to all commercial buildings as well as residential properties more than three stories high.
Updates to the IgCC
The IgCC Public Version 2.0 offers a Zero Energy Performance Index (zEPI), requiring buildings to use no more than 51 percent of the energy allowable in the 2000 International Energy Conservation Code. In May, hundreds of code changes were heard at public code development hearings in Dallas. Significant changes to Public Version 2.0 recommended by the IgCC Committees include:
- The scope of the IgCC was revised to exclude Group R-2 and R-4 occupancies three stories or less in height above grade plane and all Group R-3 occupancies.
- Whole building life-cycle assessment is no longer a project elective and it is now an exception that essentially functions as an option.
- Stormwater management requirements were refined; most significantly they are now mandatory and not a jurisdictional option.
- Building envelope requirements including wall and ceiling insulation; fenestration solar heat gain coefficients will be 10 percent more stringent than the requirements of the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).
- Air barriers will be required in all climate zones, eliminating the exception for climate zones 1-3 presently in the International Energy Conservation Code.
- The code will specify a single standard reference design for heating, cooling and service water heating systems using technologies with high, full fuel cycle efficiency as the baseline in each building component category.
- For dwelling unit and guest room showers, the shower flow rate is limited to 2.0 gpm for every 2,600-square-inches of floor area or portion thereof, while this changes for a 2,600-square-inch shower with multiple shower outlets.
- A new method was approved for determining pipe sizes and limitation on lengths necessary to provide for fast hot water delivery for hot water systems having hot water recirculation systems. This will make it easier for designers to provide hot water systems that are user-friendly so that less water is wasted.
- Relocated existing buildings are required to comply with Chapter 10, Existing Buildings.
Final code development hearings for the IgCC will be held this fall in Phoenix. The IgCC will be published in 2012.
The IgCC’s cooperating sponsors are the American Institute of Architects, ASTM International, the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers, the U.S. Green Building Council, and the Illuminating Engineering Society.
The International Code Council, a membership association dedicated to building safety, fire prevention and energy efficiency, develops the codes used to construct residential and commercial buildings, including homes and schools. Most U.S. cities, counties and states choose the International Codes, building safety codes developed by the International Code Council. The International Codes also serve as the basis for construction of federal properties around the world, and as a reference for many nations outside the United States.