Article Date: 09/19/2014

What Impact Will the New Partnership to Facilitate Greener Buildings Actually Have?

By Steve Rizer


Five prominent organizations within the green building community have banded together to facilitate more environmentally sustainable structures across America, but how successful will the new partnership prove to be? What will the group be doing to accomplish their objectives, and will policymakers cooperate? 


At the heart of these questions is a recently announced agreement that the International Code Council (ICC); American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers Inc. (ASHRAE); American Institute of Architects (AIA); Illuminating Engineering Society of North America; and U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) made with one another. In a memorandum that representatives from each organization signed, they pledged to collaborate on the development of Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High-Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings; the International Green Construction Code (IgCC); and the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building program.


The partnership aims to create a “comprehensive framework” for jurisdictions to use in implementing and adopting green building regulations and codes and/or providing incentives for voluntary leadership programs such as LEED.


The group’s agreement outlines the development, maintenance, and implementation of new versions of Standard 189.1 and IgCC, which will be combined into one regulatory tool. The LEED program is expected to be aligned with the new code “to ensure a streamlined, effective set of regulatory and above-code options for jurisdictions across the United States,” according to partnership representatives.


AIA Chief Executive Officer Robert Ivy believes that the agreement “should lead to more rapid adoption of responsible approaches by designers, builders, developers, and a host of other building industry groups.”


ASHRAE President Tom Phoenix predicted that the groups’ work will help “reduce fragmentation of compliance documents for users who are pressing toward a more sustainable environment.”


ICC Chief Executive Officer Dominic Sims asserted that working collaboratively with his organization’s industry partners will “help improve building performance, streamline regulation, reduce cost, and allow us to focus our resources on goals we have in common. This agreement continues the partnership we began in 2012 and ensures that our members and partners have a meaningful role in shaping the future of the built environment.”


In the ConstructionPro Network member version of this article, USGBC Director of Technical Policy Jeremy Sigmon offers his prediction about what impact the agreement will have.



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