News Analysis

Standard 189 Integrated into New Green Construction Code

In a surprise move, two competing initiatives with commercial green building codes, IGCC and Standard 189, have come together.

After a year-long development process, the International Code Council (ICC) released its International Green Construction Code (IGCC) on March 15, 2010. Developed in partnership with The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and ASTM International, IGCC (see EBN Aug. 2009) had been anticipated to provide competition to Standard 189—the code-ready green building standard modeled on LEED that was launched in January by three other organizations (see EBN July 2009). Instead, all six groups stood together to support IGCC’s launch. Rather than competing with Standard 189, IGCC included it as an alternate compliance path as a first step to a greater integration, connecting it to ICC’s code network that reaches all 50 states and 22,000 local jurisdictions.

“For architects, this is good news, because we had concerns all along about what competing codes mean from a regulatory perspective,” noted Paul Mendelsohn, vice president of government and community relations at AIA. Inconsistency in codes from one community to another complicates the work of designers and contractors, and competing options might have bogged down the entire code adoption process. “We saved ourselves maybe five years of fighting about it,” agrees Brendan Owens, vice president for LEED technical development at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), one of the sponsors of Standard 189. “Now we can be collaborative and go forward together much faster.”

Published March 31, 2010