Article Date: 02/01/2013

Will Policymakers across the U.S. Embrace the New Version of the National Green Building Standard?

By Steve Rizer


Will a new-and-improved ICC (International Code Council) National Green Building Standard (NGBS, or ICC 700), which recently received American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approval and contains greener features than what was included in the original version, gain significantly more appeal among policymakers across the United States?


Since NGBS was first published in 2009, the standard has proven influential across the housing industry through voluntary initiatives, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), which partnered with ICC in 2007 to establish a “nationally recognizable standard definition of green building.” However, code adoption through local and state policymakers apparently has been a different story.


The International Green Construction Code (IgCC) requires compliance with ICC 700 if a jurisdiction chooses to regulate residential buildings of a maximum four stories in height. As of last October, the IgCC had been in use or was adopted in 10 states. Is this a large number?


To get a better idea of just how influential ICC 700 has been among local and state policymakers, ConstructionPro Week asked Kevin Morrow, NAHB’s director of energy and green building, “Approximately how many local and state jurisdictions have adopted the 2009 version of the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard, either by itself or as part of the IgCC, [and] about how many jurisdictions are expected to adopt the new version of the ICC 700 and by when?”


Here is what Morrow said in response, “When we’re talking about adoption, I don’t honestly know how many have adopted the IgCC. My impression is that not very many have adopted the IgCC as building code. As far as the ICC 700, the ICC 700 is a green building standard that is originally intended to overlay code. It’s an above-code program, and there are lots of jurisdictions that have adopted it for various incentive programs and voluntary programs around the country. Easily a couple of dozen [programs of this sort have adopted ICC 700] that I’m aware of. As far as [how many jurisdictions] have adopted it as code, I honestly can’t say. Not very many.”


In an effort to persuade more policymakers to adopt ICC 700, NAHB has posted an online guide comparing the standard with the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system at


NAHB reported that the NAHB Research Center, which serves as the secretariat of the standard as it progresses through ANSI, has certified the compliance of thousands of dwelling units and developed lots to ICC 700.


WPL Publishing has scheduled a 90-minute webinar entitled "What Happens When Green Becomes Code: Increased Standard of Care, Risk & Change in Building Practices -- Are You Prepared?" for Feb. 12 at 1:00 p.m. (EST). To register, click here.



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