US: Adopt Global Code, Leader Says

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A leading figure in the United States architecture and construction industry says the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) represents the best way forward in terms of green building standards and has called for its widespread adoption by states and local government authorities throughout the United States.

Jeff Potter, president of the American Institute of Architects, wrote recently on that multiple options regarding green building standards had created uncertainty among local authorities, and that the new code represents an answer to this.

“Currently, there is no lack of confusion on how best to make buildings energy-efficient and sustainable using regulatory approaches,” Potter says. “With a plethora of checklists and rating systems (and a lot of debate as to what approach is truly effective) it is imperative that local governments have a credible, enforceable and adoptable code in place.”

Potter says the IgCC is flexible and easily customized by local municipalities and states, yet it can be read and administered like other codes using similar distribution, training and enforcement procedures already in place across the country.

He adds that the code has been developed by consensus and is the product of a lengthy but transparent vetting process with input from a wide range of professionals associated with the building and construction process, a list that includes architects, engineers, building owners, contractors, code officials and others.

Because of this, the IgCC reflects what works in practice.

Jeff Potter

Potter says the code has been endorsed by the US Conference of Mayors and that while its adoption is not mandatory, earlier versions have been adopted within a handful of states, including Rhode Island and Maryland.

“Market forces over the past 15 years have ensured that the game has changed. Green construction practices are becoming more mainstream every day,” Potter says. “The IgCC offers much needed clarification in a regulatory framework incorporating those practices at minimum levels.”

Developed by the International Code Council and sponsored by a number of influential organisations including the American Institute of Architects, ASTM International, ASHRAE, the US Green Building Council and the Illuminating Engineering Society, the IgCC  aims to act as an overlay to existing codes around the world and create a global framework for minimum green requirements for new and existing buildings.

Following consultations in 2010 and 2011, the code was finalized earlier this year.

By Andrew Heaton
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