ICC to Begin Work on Green Commercial Code

April 23, 2009

Following its work with the National Association of Home Builders to develop the National Green Building Standard for residential projects, the International Code Council has initiated a “Green Building Code Development Project” targeted at the commercial market. The objective of the project is to develop a green building code for traditional and high-performance buildings that is consistent and coordinated with the ICC family of codes and standards.

“It has become clear to us that to advance the goal of achieving more sustainable building performance, some regulatory framework is needed for areas where market forces are not enough," says Richard P. Weiland, ICC's CEO. "We face challenges not only with new construction, but with existing buildings and how we can increase their levels of safety and sustainability over time.”

“We have arrived at an opportune time to build on the information and resources available to us to design a useable code as a model for green building programs,” says Adolf Zubia, code council board president. “We plan to use the same principles that have made the code council family of codes so successful, which is the development of model regulatory material that is consistent, coordinated and developed in a consensus process.”

The decision builds on a series of actions that began in the 1970s with the creation of the International Energy Conservation Code, ICC officials explain. More recent ICC green initiatives include: signing a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Green Building Council; issuing the National Green Building Standard in partnership with the National Association of Home Builders; creating professional development programs, including training and certification, to address green systems and approaches; and creating a Sustainable Building Technology Committee.

The code likely will address energy efficiency (including solar and other advanced technologies), water use efficiency, materials and resource use conservation, indoor environmental quality and overall building impact on the environment, it is reported. It will be developed under the council’s governmental consensus process. In working on the project, ICC will seek the collaboration of key partners along with input from its members and stakeholders. This coordinated approach will ensure that code officials, design professionals and other industry experts will have a prominent and appropriate role in the development process, the organization notes.

 The initial approach will include the following components:

  • The new code will focus on the commercial market.
  • Residential issues will be addressed through ICC 700, known as the National Green Building Standard. 
  • The development approach will be the same used for any new I-Code: 
    • Convene a select drafting committee
    • Invite public comment on the initial draft
    • Place the final draft into the ICC code development process.

 An initial planning session to discuss the scope of the project was held on Earth Day, April 22, in Chicago with experts in the area of green building science. Feedback regarding this project is encouraged and requested. Comments may be sent to GreenBuildingCode@iccsafe.org.

Going forward, the Sustainable Building Technology Committee will play a key role. Persons interested in serving on this committee should submit their information to www.iccsafe.org/sbtc.

A new article on WindowandDoor.com provides more information on ICC 700, the National Green Building Standard targeting the residential construction and remodeling market.  The article highlights specific language in the document, published in March, related to windows and doors.