Green Building Code
At the 2011 AIA Convention in New Orleans, there was a lot of discussion concerning the new International Green Construction Code. I attended a seminar given by a staff member of International Code Council, and spent some time talking to another staff member on the exhibit floor.
The synopsis of the new I Code for green construction is that if follows a framework closely aligned with LEED, but it’s not LEED. The ICC is interested in setting a minimum standard for green construction – LEED sets a variety of levels to attain and allows the team to decide how far they will go. As with other ICC codes, it’s up to a municipality to determine if they will adopt the code. The ICC noted that while this code is relatively new, it has been adopted by some states and municipalities, most notably the State of Maryland.
I’m glad to see the development of the International Green Construction Code, but it does mean a lot of changes for owners, designers and builders. I talked with ICC staff about the review effort required – one of the charges owners often level at LEED is that it’s so expensive. This is partly due to the cost of review by the GBCI (and more importantly, the cost of documentation). While not the same as LEED, the new Green Construction Code requires A LOT more effort on the part of plan reviewers. Exactly how this plays out is uncertain.
At the same conference the Keynote address was given by Tom Friedman, author of “Hot Flat and Crowded”. He made the point that in the future, there will be no more “green” buildings – market conditions will require all buildings to be green.
The new International Green Construction Code is beginning to mandate what Mr. Friedman is predicting.