The International Code Council and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers Inc. have merged their efforts, rather than compete, to develop the nation’s first “green” model code for commercial buildings. The model code, released on March 15, is open for public comment through May 14 but now is available to jurisdictions. Version 2.0, based on public input, will be released by Nov. 3. The goal is to develop an adoptable and enforceable model code.

“Bringing together the code expertise of ICC with the technical expertise of ASHRAE to create a comprehensive green building code will accelerate our transformation to more sustainable building practices,” says Gordon Holness, president of Atlanta-based ASHRAE. Richard Weiland, CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based ICC, says the merger is an effort to dispense with some of the “potential confusion” associated with two different model codes.

The code covers water-use efficiency, indoor environmental quality, energy efficiency, materials and resource use. It includes prescriptive and performance paths. It also offers ASHRAE’s Standard 189.1, released in January, as an “alternative” path to compliance. Standard 189.1, developed with the U.S. Green Building Council, the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America and the American National Standards Institute, underwent four public reviews over three years.

The merger avoids “five to 10 years of inefficiency” in green code development, says Brenden Owen, a USGBC vice president.