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Code Green

The First Green Building Code

We're green, not mean!

The International Green Construction Code will be the first green building code.
Image Credit: IGCC

With a bold plan to increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon footprint, the International Code Council (ICC) has launched a Green Construction Code. This is a first!

Having written building code for almost a century, members of the ICC are now entering the world of environmental protection and building sustainability…and in a big way! A recent press release acknowledged that buildings consume about 40% of energy used and produce about the same in carbon emissions. Richard Weiland, CEO of ICC, said, “We believe the time has come for us to develop a code that will stand as a useful and credible regulatory framework for creating a greener commercial building stock.”

ICC will not be alone in this effort. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and ASTM International will have visible participation in the development of this code as well. In fact, during the announcement, representatives from all three organizations were present. In addition, Weiland made a point of comparing the AIA’s 2030 carbon neutrality goals with the green code initiative.

The new code will be called International Green Construction Code (IGCC): Safe and Sustainable by the Book. In fact, it already has a website. This code will be developed by a newly created Sustainable Building Technology Committee (SBTC) appointed by the Board of Directors of ICC. The 28-member committee represents interests across the green building landscape. It has a target date of 2010 for a first draft and will focus mostly on traditional commercial buildings, additions, and alterations. It will address residential construction by referencing the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard. It will be coordinated with the other I codes, and will provide criteria to measure compliance.

It will use the model code approach that will allow jurisdictions to adopt and will cover energy-use efficiency, water-use efficiency, building materials, indoor air quality, environmental impact, site design, and owner education. It will set minimum and advanced levels of performance written in mandatory language, while still providing both prescriptive and performance solutions. It will account for local conditions such as weather or geographical considerations. It will comply with local, state and federal laws.

The committee’s work begins on July 28-30 at the Wyndham O’Hare Hotel in Rosemont, Ill. Visit the SBTC website for meeting dates and times.


  1. Nick Marks | | #1

    Green Construction Code, what's new and how international is it
    What's new of this code compared with the European Building code for sustainable building and reduction of CO2 and the EC energy label? And how international is this code? Is there the wish of combining the European rules or higher their standards?

  2. Lynn Underwood | | #2

    Glad to see your interest in
    Glad to see your interest in International Codes. First, the IGCC is not complete in fact its not yet written. That is the reason for establishing the draft that model code. Second, the committee members are well-aware of other national or continental codes and are sure to consider those when writing this one. This code springs from ICC that does have international influence (see: having adoptions in several nations and influence in product evaluation around the World. In addition, their influence is felt around the World...even in Afghanistan! I envision that the IGCC will surpass the International Energy Conservation Code requirements by addressing those issues you mention (CO2 reduction and sustainable design). I encourage you to watch the progress of this committee at the referenced website. I think you will be pleasently surprised.

  3. Anonymous | | #3

    Papercrete home construction
    Are there any codes available for Papercrete construction? If not how does one approach a county assessor, and the building permit person?

    The location is high dessert in a midwestern state. Sandy soil, only 13 inches of rain a year, very much in the wilderness. Off grid totally, so need to address solar and windpower.


  4. John | | #4

    C02 is not a pollutant, nor there global warming. I'm fine for saving energy but not at my expense or taxes.

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