Code officials could see a new universal regulatory framework to guide the design and construction of green commercial buildings by the end of next year.

On June 29, the American Institute of Architects, along with the International Code Council (ICC) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), announced their intent to create an International Green Construction Code (IGCC).

The new code aims to cover all aspects of sustainability in the built environment, from roofing to ventilation strategies, drawing from existing codes and standards to create one universal code. The code will apply to new construction and renovations. “We hope this will bring all of the separate efforts together and put them under one umbrella to make it easier for jurisdictions to know what they are adopting,” says Adolf Zubia, ICC board president.

A 29-person drafting committee—made up of a broad range of stakeholders—will refer to an ASTM database of existing green codes and standards to “help draw up the code and identify any holes,” explains Dominic Sims, chief operating officer of the ICC.

Among the major initiatives already under way is Standard 189, a code-enforceable standard for green buildings that is being developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America. The initiative was first launched in 2006 and, following several public comment periods, its final release is expected by the end of this year.

International Green Construction Code representatives plan to meet with Standard 189 committee representatives in late July to discuss how the groups can cooperate, says Richard Weiland, the ICC’s chief executive officer. “We hope this will compliment a lot of what’s going on with Standard 189,” he says. Plus, Brendan Owens, the USGBC’s vice president of LEED technical development, is serving on the drafting committee for the International Green Construction Code.

Kent Peterson, chairman of the committee writing Standard 189 and principal of California-based P2S Engineering, says he would like to ultimately see Standard 189 language in the IGCC code and looks forward to meeting with IGCC representatives to coordinate efforts. "We want to meet to make sure we're not all going in separate directions and confusing the industry," he says.

Christine McEntee, chief executive officer of AIA, emphasizes that the code will build on other efforts and provide the strongest regulatory option. “For measurable change to occur, we believe there needs to be a regulatory framework in place at the national, state, and local levels,” she says. “Only a building code offers that tool. A code has the best chance of being truly enforced at the local level.”

McEntee says adoption of the new code will also help create a road map to AIA’s 2030 initiative, which calls for carbon neutrality of buildings by 2030.

The IGCC committee will begin a series of public meetings this summer and fall to organize the initial code language. A draft is expected to be released for public comment in April 2010, and Sims says he hopes to see a final version ready by the end of next year.



Dennis Andrejko, FAIA
Associate Professor of Architecture
University at Buffalo, Department of Architecture

Jack Bailey, IES, LC, LEED AP
International Association of Lighting Designers
One Lux Studio, LLC

Peter Bruck, CBO
Building Official
City of Rohnert Park

Frank Cole, PE, CEM, MCP
Conservation Program Engineer
New York Power Authority

David Conover 
Senior Technical Advisor/S&E V
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

David Eisenberg 
Executive Director
Development Center for Appropriate Technology

Anthony Floyd, AIA, LEED AP
Green Building Program Manager
City of Scottsdale

Sam Francis 
Northeast Regional Manager, Bldg Codes & Standards

Holly Gerberding, AIA
Coordinating Architect
City of Chicago, Department of General Services

Christopher Green, AIA, SBTC VICE CHAIR
Ago Studios, Inc.

Josh Greenfield, PE, LEED AP
Senior Associate
Primera Engineers. Ltd.

Maureen Guttman, AIA
Executive Director, Governor's Green Government Council
PA Dept of Environment Protection

Jonathan Humble, AIA
Regional Director
American Iron and Steel Institute

Ron Jones 
Green Builder, LLC

Stephen Kanipe, CBO, LEED AP
Chief Building Official
City of Aspen, Colorado

Medard Kopczyinski, CBO 
Assistant City Manager
City of Keene

Carol Marriott, PE
Director, Environmental Strategy
McQuay International

Shawn Martin 
Technical Director
Plumbing Manufacturers Institute

R. Christopher Mathis, SMArchS
M C Squared

Dennis McCabe 
Superintendent of Building Department - Planning Director
Village of East Rockaway

Ted Militiades 
Director, Office of Construction Codes
Georgia Department Of Community Affairs

Richard Morgan, PMP 
Austin Energy Green Building Manager
Austin Energy/City of Austin

Brendan Owens, PE, LEED AP
Vice President, LEED Technical Department
U.S. Green Building Council

Pat Picariello
Director, Developmental Operations
ASTM International

ICC Board of Directors
Director of Urban Development

Stephen S. Szoke, S.E., P.E. LEED-AP, CDT, IOM
Director, Codes and Standards
Portland Cement Association

David Walls 
Executive Director
California Building Standards Commission
2525 Natomas Park Drive

Bob Weber, PE, CBO
R. D. Weber & Associates, Inc.

A. Vernon Woodworth, AIA 
Associate Principal
R.W. Sullivan, Inc.