ATLANTA - The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), International Code Council (ICC), U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) have announced the launch of the International Green Construction Code (IGCC), representing the merger of two national efforts to develop adoptable and enforceable green building codes. The IGCC is said to provide the building industry with language that both broadens and strengthens building codes in a way that will accelerate the construction of green buildings across the U.S.

According to the organizations, ICC and ASHRAE have worked for decades to develop codes and standards that have become the industry standard of care for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of residential and commercial buildings in the U.S. and internationally. In coordination with the efforts of ICC and ASHRAE, USGBC has been leading a nationwide green building movement centered on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system since LEED was launched in 2000. The IGCC is the convergence of these efforts.

Leveraging ICC’s delivery infrastructure to reach all 50 states and more than 22,000 local jurisdictions and ASHRAE’s, USGBC’s, and IES’s technical strengths, the organizations expect this partnership to accelerate the adoption of green building codes and standards across the country and around the globe.

An addition to the technical content of the IGCC is the inclusion of ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, as an alternate path of compliance. Standard 189.1 is a set of technically rigorous requirements, which like the IGCC, covers criteria including water use efficiency, indoor environmental quality, energy efficiency, materials and resource use, and the building’s impact on its site and community. Standard 189.1 was written by experts representing all areas of the building industry. Developed in a little over three years, the standard underwent four public reviews in which some 2,500 comments were received.

“The emergence of green building codes and standards is an important next step for the green building movement, establishing a much-needed set of baseline regulations for green buildings that is adoptable, usable, and enforceable by jurisdictions,” said ICC Chief Executive Officer Richard P. Weiland. “The IGCC provides a vehicle for jurisdictions to regulate green for the design and performance of new and renovated buildings in a manner that is integrated with existing codes as an overlay, allowing all new buildings to reap the rewards of improved design and construction practices.”

“Bringing together the code expertise of ICC with technical expertise of ASHRAE to create a comprehensive green building code will accelerate our transformation to more sustainable building practices,” said Gordon Holness, ASHRAE president. “ASHRAE is committed to providing the design guidance building designers and engineers need to reduce the energy consumption of buildings.”

For more information on the International Green Construction Code, visit For more information on Standard 189.1, visit

Publication date:03/15/2010