A green building code known as the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) is currently under development by the International Code Council (ICC) and slated to be published in March of 2012. This code will respond to the need for high performance measures related to site development, material resource conservation, energy conservation, water conservation, indoor environmental quality, and commissioning.
Once published, provisions of the IgCC will apply to the design, construction, addition, alteration, change of occupancy, movement, enlargement, replacement, repair, equipment, location, maintenance, removal and demolition of every building or structure or any appurtenances connected or attached to such buildings or structures and to the site on which the building is located. Most projects having to comply with the International Building Code would fall under the scope of the IgCC. Residential buildings are covered by a separate ICC standard.
In order to encourage universal adoption, the ICC has designed this code with maximum flexibility. Interplay between base code requirements, jurisdictional requirements and project electives allows each jurisdiction to customize high performance requirements tailored to their sustainable goals, community needs, and capacity of infrastructure.
How could Seattle utilize a tool such as the IgCC to achieve the City’s sustainable priorities? Adoption of this code in its entirety would not be appropriate for several reasons: Seattle’s existing codes already exceed some of the requirements of the IgCC, the IgCC works in conjunction with the International Energy Conservation Code which Washington State currently does not utilize, and there are known conflicts between some water use requirements and public health. A viable option for Seattle may be to identify and adopt those elements within the IgCC that both reflect environmental priorities and recognize local needs and resources. Due to DPD’s Priority Green incentive program and the third party verification systems, some high performance elements regulated by this code are already being learned and incorporated into local projects. Future green code requirements could work in conjunction with existing incentive programs which continue to encourage ingenuity and sustainable efforts above and beyond code.
DPD will continue to identify how code can best be used to address climate change. When options have been identified, opportunities for public comment will become available.
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