WASHINGTON - The International Code Council (ICC), with the support of the U.S. Green Building Council and the Green Building Initiative, has initiated the development of its International Green Construction Code (IGCC). The American Institute of Architects and ASTM International are cooperating sponsors. Based on initial information, it appears that this code would be similar to ASHRAE 189, Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, that is currently being developed.

The ICC has established the Sustainable Building Technology Committee (SBTC) to be responsible for developing its new code. According to the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), indications are that the IGCC will be different from other green building standards or rating systems because it will create a regulatory framework for new and existing commercial and high performance buildings, whereas rating systems are currently optional approaches that are not written in the form of enforceable codes. The current schedule is to have a draft code issued for public review in March or April of 2010, with the first edition of IGCC finalized and published by March 2012.

According to AHRI’s ICC code consultant who attended the first SBTC meeting, it appears that that the code will include tiers that are based on various percentages of energy savings above the International Energy Conservation Code. AHRI said these tiers will likely include minimum efficiency requirements for equipment installed in commercial buildings that are higher than the corresponding federal minimum efficiency requirements. If that occurs, AHRI noted that there will be a significant preemption issue concerning the enforceability of those efficiency requirements in the IGCC.

AHRI said that it will advise the ICC of these concerns and continue to follow the development of this new code.

Publication date:08/24/2009