News Brief

Local Governments To Be Disenfranchised After Voting for Green Codes

Although government officials ultimately implement the energy code, the ICC is blocking them from voting on it.

Just when local officials began to take an interest in shaping the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), the International Code Council (ICC) decided to strip them of their vote. Bowing to trade group pressure, the ICC has proposed recategorizing the creation of buildings codes as an ANSI standard process in reaction to city and government officials voting to significantly green the code in 2019.

Local and state officials had always been eligible to vote in the code provision process, but participation was low until 2019, according to HuffPost, when hundreds of new government officials registered to vote. Cities across the country had noticed that the last two rounds of codes had increased energy efficiency only 1%, so they organized to cast ballots. As a result, a slate of new measures was approved that improved energy efficiency by up to 14% for the 2021 energy code.

The National Association of Home Builders said the record turnout amounted to “political manipulation” and the Leading Builders of America, accused “proprietary interests” (like the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition) of using “subversive tactics” (like hosting webinars that encouraged government officials to vote). Through an appeals process, the new voters’ eligibility was challenged, which ultimately failed.

But then, the ICC board proposed switching the energy code from a governmental consensus process to an ANSI standard. Government officials would no longer be able to directly vote. Instead, the code would be developed by an ANSI committee, of which one-third of the seats would be reserved for government regulators.  

Written comments on the board’s proposal show 75% oppose eliminating voting, according to HuffPost. Of those in the minority, 54% are builders and 4% come from the fossil fuel industry.

The Biden administration has now even entered the fray, requesting that the ICC “provide additional explanation as to why these changes are necessary” and “not proceed with these proposed changes” until such explanation is provided.  Federal influence is limited in the area, however, as ICC is a nonprofit and codes are the purview of the states.

Published April 5, 2021

Pearson, C. (2021, March 18). Local Governments To Be Disenfranchised After Voting for Green Codes. Retrieved from

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