Organizations representing building-safety professionals, energy and lighting engineers, green-building practitioners, architects, and technical-standard developers have come together to establish a comprehensive model green-building code designed to rapidly advance green-building practice across the United States.

The International Code Council (ICC), the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) have announced the launch of the International Green Construction Code (IGCC), representing the merger of two national efforts to develop adoptable and enforceable green-building codes. The IGCC provides the building industry with language that broadens and strengthens building codes in a way that will accelerate the construction of high-performance green buildings across the United States.

For decades, the ICC and ASHRAE have worked to develop codes and standards that become the industry standard of care for the design, construction, operations, and maintenance of residential and commercial buildings. In coordination with the efforts of the ICC and ASHRAE, the USGBC has been leading a nationwide green-building movement centered on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System since LEED was launched in 2000.

Leveraging the ICC’s delivery infrastructure to reach all 50 states and more than 22,000 local jurisdictions and ASHRAE’s, USGBC’s, and IES’s technical strengths, this partnership will accelerate the proliferation of green-building codes and standards developed jointly by the ICC, ASHRAE, the USGBC, and IES. The IGCC establishes a regulatory framework for the construction of high-performance commercial buildings that are safe, sustainable, and by the book.

An addition to the technical content of the IGCC is the inclusion of ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, as an alternate path of compliance. Standard 189.1 is a set of technically rigorous requirements, which, like the IGCC, covers criteria including water-use efficiency, indoor environmental quality, energy efficiency, materials and resource use, and a building’s impact on its site and community. Standard 189.1 was written by experts representing all areas of the building industry. Developed in a little over three years, the standard underwent four public reviews during which some 2,500 comments were received.

On March 15, ASHRAE, IES, and the USGBC joined the ICC at its Washington, DC, headquarters as they and their co-authors (the American Institute of Architects and the American Society for Testing Materials) launched the IGCC. Standard 189 .1 and the IGCC are available for distribution, providing content, code language, and a vision for a safer and more sustainable future. The organizations also are working together to advance related education and advocacy efforts to promote adoption, enforcement, and compliance with the IGCC codes that will pave the way for green buildings and neighborhoods while creating jobs and strengthening the economy.