The International Code Council announced the release of Public Version 1.0 of the International Green Construction Code (IGCC) to regulate construction of new and existing commercial buildings. The IGCC aims to significantly reduce energy usage and greenhouse gasses. It addresses site development and land use, including preservation of natural and material resources. Enforcement of the code will improve indoor air quality and support the use of energy-efficient appliances, renewable energy systems, water resource conservation, rainwater collection and distribution systems, and the recovery of used water (graywater). Principals from the ICC, AIA and ASTM pointed out how the IGCC helps further the mission of their organizations and members.

"We talked to communities who indicate that their voluntary green building programs reach only, but an important, 30 percent of the built environment," said Code Council CEO Richard P.

Weiland. "This means that there is a clear need for a regulatory tool to establish a baseline to help jurisdictions meet their sustainability goals." 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 code 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 IGCC reinforces the role of the architect as a key leader in shaping the set of decisions that result in a truly green building and underlines the fact that good design matters," said AIA Executive Vice President/CEO Christine McEntee. "The AIA committed its resources to providing a strong presence at the drafting sessions to ensure that this code would truly be useful to our members and other stakeholders, and to ensure that the regulatory landscape was structured to facilitate the advancement beyond the AIA’s 2030 energy reduction goals for carbon neutral buildings. We are very pleased with the release of this initial public version and are committed to working with the ICC as the code moves forward through the review and adoption process." The IGCC initiative was launched in 2009 with Cooperating Sponsors the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and ASTM International. The support of the AIA underscores its long-time leadership in the sustainability movement, including its 2030 Carbon Neutrality challenge, and its emphasis on the critical role of architects and designers in the life cycle of sustainable construction.

The engagement of ASTM ensures the IGCC will make use of certain voluntary consensus standards recognized by industry, code officials, and other stakeholders for their high-degree of technical quality, relevance and their suitability to contribute to more sustainable and environmentally improved buildings.

"We are proud of the valuable role that ASTM technical committees play in contributing to green building and construction initiatives," said James A. Thomas, President, ASTM International. "Over 20 ASTM test methods, performance specifications, guides and practices are referenced in IGCC Public Version 1.0 in areas such as solar technology, environmental site assessment, and environmental aspects of cement and concrete. ASTM International looks forward to continuing these important efforts through the development of new standards that enable innovation and the environmentally improved commercial buildings of the future." The work of the ICC/AIA/ASTM team in developing the IGCC is now joined with the Standard developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES). The IGCC will now reference the ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1-2009 for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings, Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, as an alternative jurisdictional compliance option within the IGCC. The participants in designing this Standard also voiced their support for the new IGCC and its potential to significantly contribute to a more sustainable built environment.

"ASHRAE is pleased to continue its relationship with the ICC by joining the International Green Construction Code initiative," said Gordon Holness, P.E., ASHRAE President. "Our developers and stakeholders are excited about this unified approach to providing the best tools to jurisdictions wanting to ensure measurable regulation of green construction." "This new collaborative agreement brings together organizations with expertise both in technical standards and code development, a significant and welcome extension of technical standards developing activities into the area of code development to reach a broader and more diverse audience," said Illuminating Engineering Society of North America Director of Technology Rita Harrold. "IES is committed to providing ongoing technical lighting input to 189.1 and IGCC."

"Green building codes and standards working complementary to one another is a critical step towards advancing green building," said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, USGBC. "This collaboration will accelerate the adoption of green building codes and standards developed jointly by ICC, ASHRAE, USGBC and IES, across the country and around the globe as we work collectively towards transforming building design, construction and operations to green practices." Governments across America and around the globe clamoring for a green code to complement voluntary rating systems can adopt the code immediately to reduce energy usage as well as the resulting carbon footprint of thousands of commercial building projects. The IGCC also addresses residential construction by referencing the ICC 700-2008 National Green Building Standard developed by the National Association of Home Builders and the Code Council.

[Note: 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.]

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