Key changes in Public Version 2.0 of the International Green Construction Code (IGCC), scheduled for release in November, will include more efficient plumbing fixtures, air-handling systems, and responsibilities of design professionals and building owners.

The goal of the update is to fill in the technical or consistency gaps found in Version 1.0, and to maintain the code’s enforceability for those jurisdictions choosing to adopt or adapt it. The overall goal is to provide guidance to communities that are aggressively pursuing sustainability, so they can go beyond traditional code requirements.

Key changes in Public Version 2.0 include:

• Consistency with industry standards for air-handling systems.

• Twenty percent water savings beyond U.S. federal standards, for water closets in residential structures.

• The movement of many responsibilities from the registered design professional to the owner, to prevent potential conflicts with state and local requirements.

• New requirements for the identification and removal of materials containing asbestos.

• Land-use regulations.

• Commissioning provisions now include appliance information, radon mitigation, and documentation requirements.

Another significant revision occurred in the area of energy conservation. For instance, instead of Total Annual Net Energy Use (TANEU), the code now refers to Zero Energy Performance Index (ZEPI) - buildings cannot use more than 51 percent of the energy allowable in the 2000 International Energy Conservation Code.

Richland, Wash., became the first local government in the United States to adopt the code as a nonmandatory document for commercial buildings. Kevin Rex, city building inspection supervisor, said, “When we learned that it did not have to be a mandatory code adoption, that we could use it as a document to help everyone become familiar with green construction, we decided to adopt it.”

The IGCC applies to new and existing, traditional and high-performance commercial buildings. It addresses residential construction by referencing the ICC 700-2008 National Green Building Standard, which was developed by the National Association of Home Builders and the Code Council. In addition to the ICC, cooperating sponsors include the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), among others.

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Publication date: 09/20/2010