IgCC Opens Compliance Pathway Based on Actual Energy Use
January 4, 2015
The 2015 International Green Construction Code (IgCC) will have a compliance option based on an outcome-based approach, officials announced recently.
Previously, building energy codes relied on two main pathways to demonstrate compliance: prescriptive measures, where individual building components met the code-defined parameters, or performance projections based on modeled energy consumption. But once people occupy a building, they often act differently than the code setters and energy modelers assumed.
The new pathway will require a building to meet baseline requirements in the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), and the owner will be issued a temporary certificate of occupancy. Within three years, the owner must provide the jurisdiction with 12 months of energy use data showing the building meets code targets—and only then will the code official issue the final certificate of occupancy.
Jim Edelson, director of codes and policy at the New Buildings Institute, which advocated for the revisions, stated in a press release, “The adoption of the outcome-based pathway presents a sea change in the way building codes can be met. Cities can now effectively drive better policies in their building sector, design teams gain flexibility to innovate, and building code officials have a streamlined process for validating that a building is operating to code.”
A major benefit of the new pathway is that it could relieve some of the pressure on resource-strapped code departments that are tasked with interpreting sophisticated building models and enforcing a myriad of code requirements. Instead, they essentially have to just check the energy bill. (Design teams should still use energy modeling—early and often—to iteratively move projects to higher levels of performance.)