The International Code Council (ICC) – which issues model building codes used by many municipalities – has been developing the International Green Construction Code (IGCC) since 2009. The goal is to establish minimum standards to promote sustainable construction that will work with existing building codes. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and ASTM International were involved in drafting the IGCC, which is designed to be used as an overlay in conjunction with other ICC building codes, and includes (1) core provisions intended to be mandatory in all jurisdictions, (2) enhanced mandatory provisions that a jurisdiction may opt to include by checking appropriate boxes in a table, and (3) project electives, which are selected in connection with a particular project and become mandatory for that project.
In addition, by the time IGCC Public Version 1.0 was published in March 2010, it was expanded to include ASHRAE 189.1 as an alternate compliance path. (“Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings” was developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) in conjunction with the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).) If selected, ASHRAE 189.1 applies to buildings within the scope of that standard, along with the administrative provisions in IGCC Chapter 1, and the rest of the IGCC does not apply.
Although some jurisdictions have already shown interest in incorporating the IGCC into their building codes, it has been undergoing public comment and was subject to continuing change up until now. The ICC held its Final Action Hearings in Phoenix ending November 6, 2011; a summary of final actions on proposed changes was posted November 15; and publication of the final adopted IGCC is scheduled for March 2012.
Given that over a thousand changes were considered, and some of the changes that were adopted may not be consistent, requiring some sort of reconciliation, we will have to wait for the published code in order to see exactly what was adopted. However, the end is in sight.