WASHINGTON — For the first time, a national model code can be adopted for code officials, builders, and designers to use an outcome-based approach when complying with local building energy codes. This new compliance pathway, which was voted to become a part of the 2015 International Green Construction Code (IgCC), gives design teams the ability to achieve compliance through actual performance and operations.
The outcome-based provision in the 2015 IgCC bridges the gap between design and operations in both new construction and retrofits. Until now, building energy codes relied on two main pathways to demonstrate compliance: performance (modelling energy consumption), and prescriptive measures (following the code-defined values for individual building components). Although these two approaches result in overall energy savings, they both fail to fully account for how buildings use power once they are completed, occupied, and maintained — all factors that have a significant impact on how much energy a building uses every year.
With the IgCC outcome-based approach, compliance is demonstrated by the building owner, who is required to provide the building’s utility bills for a 12-month period within three years — easing pressure on strapped code departments and aligning with the growing number of energy benchmarking regulations across the country.
“The introduction of an outcome-based pathway for the IgCC opens the door to more effective design strategies to save energy and lower construction costs,” said Cliff Majersik, executive director of the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT). “This option will give designers more flexibility to innovate and will lead to a stronger, healthier, and more energy-efficient built environment.”
IMT joined a diverse group of building industry stakeholders to educate the industry on the benefits of the outcome-based pathway and helped present it to the IgCC committee and International Code Council (ICC) membership for approval. The group included the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), New Buildings Institute (NBI), Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD), Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), Grundfos, Target Corp., the Green Building Initiative (GBI), and the Colorado Chapter of the ICC.
The decision to include an outcome-based pathway in the 2015 IgCC is also significant because it will directly influence future editions of the IgCC and other I-Codes such as the Energy Conservation Code. This should smooth the process of including ASHRAE Standard 189.1 and the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building program into the development of the IgCC. Earlier this year, ICC, ASHRAE, the American Institute of Architects, IES, and the U.S. Green Building Council announced a cooperative effort to develop and streamline the IgCC, Standard 189.1, and LEED into a single and comprehensive regulatory tool for building performance. This merger will make it easier for jurisdictions to adopt and move green construction standards and codes forward, as well as provide incentives for voluntary leadership and above-code options such as LEED.
For more information on the outcome-based pathway option, see this fact sheet.
Publication date: 12/22/2014