WASHINGTON — Representatives from across the building industry, including code officials, building owners, manufacturers, designers, and energy efficiency advocates, have come together under the leadership of the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) to develop a new approach to meeting green construction code requirements. This “Outcome-Based Pathway,” which the group submitted as a proposed code change to the International Green Construction Code (IgCC), appears in the monograph of IgCC proposed changes that the International Code Council released for public review.

The Outcome-Based Pathway focuses specifically on the actual energy used in the building. The approach addresses a number of challenges facing the building industry:

• Code departments have limited resources available to enforce building codes (particularly energy codes, which are not usually seen as a life safety issue).

• Energy use is highly measurable, yet current code pathways anticipate results from designs; they do not assess actual building performance.

• Designers do not have the flexibility to use some of the latest technologies or practices to achieve energy efficiency requirements.

• Not all energy-saving strategies, such as building orientation, are effectively captured in codes.

• Energy efficiency goals increasingly rely on reductions in energy use at the systems level, but the IECC has primarily focused on a component approach.

• A growing percentage of energy uses associated with buildings are not currently covered within the existing code framework (i.e., plug loads).

“Including an outcome-based pathway in the energy provisions will give the industry an alternative means to meet performance goals in the most cost-effective manner,” said NIBS President Henry L. Green, Hon. AIA. “The U.S. Congress established the Institute to serve as an authoritative source in regards to performance criteria, standards, and other technical provisions, and we are proud to be able to bring together industry leaders to introduce a means to streamline compliance with codes.”

The proposed code change will be heard by the IgCC Energy/Water Committee during the International Code Council’s Committee Action Hearings, to be held this April 27 through May 4, in Memphis, Tenn.

For more information, visit www.nibs.org.

Publication date: 3/31/2014

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