Eyeing the New International Green Building Codes

Posted by Woodrow Aames ~ March 29, 2010

I was excited to hear that this month The International Code Council released the public version of its International Green Construction Code (IGCC)-the first baseline regulatory tool to help governments and communities regulate green building. The green codes are open for public comment and are available for viewing at the IGCC website. The code is the outcome of collaborative efforts by the American Institute of Architects and ASTM International.

Of course, the codes may be enacted regionally or locally as sustainability standards set by politically charged bodies, but they demonstrate voluntary consensus among architects, designers, and builders. According to The Street, the new code is linked with compliance standards already "developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Illuminating Engineers Society."

It's good news to those of us who champion green alternatives in new and renovated housing. I hope someday we can find green codes that help all homeowners who want to pursue alternative energy or green design tips for our home remodeling.

Green Renovation and Codes

Some DIYers and homeowners have already taken advantage of new laws that create tax credits for green renovation. One of my family members found a contractor to install replacement windows on her home this month--in time for this year's tax credit for energy efficient improvements.

The real breakthrough in The International Green Construction Code Public Version 1.0 is that it establishes a global foundation of codes flexible enough to model changes that can be used in concert with local, state, or federal guidelines.

It also may help to encourage contractors to offer green solutions that come with clear-cut performance standards. Given the trend by the federal government to stimulate research, development, and use of green building alternatives in commercial as well as residential building, the codes come at just the right time.

According to Code Council CEO, Richard P. Weiland, even in communities where green renovation, remodeling, or new development is promoted on a voluntary basis, only a third of the completed projects have green attributes.

I'm convinced the percentage will grow when green home designs and products are made more affordable and when they become a customary offering by home contractors. An international baseline might make all of us more comfortable knowing that we're all on the same page.

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