On November 14, the International Code Council announced that the 2015 version of the International Green Construction Code had been approved.
News of the approval has not circulated widely, likely in part because the announcement was a bit cryptic when the ICC press release reported “the 2014 Group C code development cycle results.”
Following a nearly two year voluntary consensus process, the updated IgCC includes those items that were raised at the Committee Action Hearings held in Memphis in April of this year. Each proposed change from the 2012 version of the green code was again considered at the Public Comment Hearings held in Fort Lauderdale in early October, which was followed with the first ever ‘online’ governmental consensus vote that concluded at the end of October. And the final action in the process was announced two weeks later when the ICC Validation Committee certified the vote results.
Those approved changes from the 2014 code change cycle will be published as the 2015 IgCC.
For those who cannot wait for the print of the 2015 IgCC that will be available in February 2015, click here for a comprehensive list of each change from the 2012 edition that was the final action.
The 2015 IgCC creates a regulatory framework for new and existing buildings, establishing minimum green building requirements for buildings and complementing voluntary rating systems, like LEED. The 2015 version of this form code ratchets up, significantly, the energy performance requirements from the current version. And with the delays associated with LEED v4, observers have suggested that a building constructed to this new code will be greener than a LEED 2009 building.
The 2015 IgCC acts as an overlay to the existing set of International Codes, including provisions of the International Energy Conservation Code and ICC 700 – the National Green Building Standard; and incorporates ASHRAE Standard 189.1 2014 as an alternate compliance path.
The earlier versions of the IgCC were not widely adopted. Only very limited number of jurisdictions mandate new construction and renovation of both private and public buildings must be green. And after the 2014 mid-term elections, many of today’s newly elected conservatives appear to believe that a voluntary, non-mandatory approach to environmental protection is the best hope for stewardship of our planet. It is that same belief that has led to the broad brand and wide market share acceptance of LEED as a voluntary green building rating system. So, the future of a mandatory IgCC remains in question.
This may also be the last time the ICC utilizes a voluntary consensus process for drafting the IgCC. In August the ICC, ASHRAE, the American Institute of Architects, the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, and the U.S. Green Building Council announced the signing of a memorandum to collaborate on the development of future versions of the IgCC. And while that coterie of groups collaborated in the past, there is concern that future agreements between the groups, including agreements to exchange money, may color future versions of this green code.