By Steve Rizer
A proposed change to the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) could make it considerably easier for architects and engineers to make buildings more energy efficient. Among those supporting the proposed outcome-based compliance path in IgCC is New Buildings Institute (NBI), which believes that building energy codes by nature are prescriptive, limiting the ability of architects and engineers to use integrated systems and innovative technologies necessary for lowering a building’s energy needs. An outcome-based compliance path would solve that problem, setting targets for the actual energy use of a building and determining compliance through the building’s achievement of that target once in operation, according to NBI.
The development committee reviewing new proposals for changing IgCC earlier this month voted 8-5 in support of the plan for an outcome-based compliance path (a proposal designated as “GEW-147”), which would be the first path of its kind included in a model energy code. The International Code Council (ICC), which developed IgCC, will meet for a final vote on GEW-147 and other proposed changes Oct. 1-5 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The proposal for an outcome-based compliance path needs approval by at least 50 percent of the voting body. IgCC, which is updated every three years (next in 2015), is designed to define the requirements a building needs to meet to be considered green. Local governments then can adopt IgCC for new construction and deep renovation projects in their jurisdictional areas.
“Unlike existing pathways to address energy use -- prescriptive or modeled performance options -- the outcome-based pathway allows the design team the greatest flexibility and relies on measured energy-use data that can help communities and building owners better meet their energy- and carbon-emissions-reduction goals,” NBI stated.
This action is one of several hundred proposed changes summarized in “The 2014 Report of the Committee Action Hearing on the 2012 Edition of the International Green Construction Code.”
The ConstructionPro Network member version of this article includes the transcript of an interview that ConstructionPro Week conducted with NBI Director of Codes and Policy Jim Edelson about IgCC.