ICC, ANSI, ASTM, ISO, ASHRAE - the string of monikers floating around in the world of building codes is a long one. And on March 15, another acronym was thrown into the mix with the introduction of the IGCC, or the International Green Construction Code. This measure, launched by the International Code Council (ICC), offers a much-needed simplification of the green construction process. In what BuildingGreen.com calls “a first step to greater integration,” the IGCC is the newest standard for green building codes that will minimize confusion and speed up the process for commercial development of high-performance green buildings nationwide.
The IGCC, using the ‘model’ code approach, incorporates elements of existing codes to standardize requirements for energy efficiency, water use, environmental quality and impact of the building on their communities. Compatible with Standard 189, a set of pre-established building codes, as well as voluntary ratings like Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the IGCC offers an unprecedented streamlining of green construction regulation across the United States. Designed with local, state and federal law in mind, this measure will work as an overlay to the ICC Family of Codes and will account for local conditions.
A press release from the American National Standards Institute contends that the launch of the IGCC is “the most significant development in the building industry in the past 10 years.” Indeed, it appears that the introduction of the IGCC marks a new era in the construction industry, indicating that sustainable building has become the norm for establishing building practices in the US. The IGCC reflects the goals of the AIA 2030 Challenge by using mandatory language that provides a new regulatory framework. Additionally, it offers both performance and prescriptive solutions to help builders striving to meet regulations.
While the construction industry’s alphabet soup of acronyms, agencies and regulations may remain elusive, we’re fairly certain that in years to come, the IGCC is one we won’t forget.
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