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Southeastern Regional Building Commissioner’s Association. Overview of the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) Doug Connell International Code Council September 2011. An Adoptable, Useable and Enforceable code

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southeastern regional building commissioner s association
Southeastern Regional Building Commissioner’s Association

Overview of the International Green Construction Code (IgCC)

Doug Connell

International Code Council

September 2011

what is the igcc

An Adoptable, Useable and Enforceable code

  • Intended to reduce the negative impacts of the built environment on the natural environment
  • Addresses
    • Conservation of:
      • Natural resources
      • Materials
      • Energy
      • Water
    • Air & indoor environmental quality
    • Owner education
What is the IgCC?
scope and intent
Scope and Intent
  • Consistent and coordinated with the ICC family of Codes & Standards
  • Applicable to the construction of
    • New and existing buildings
    • All buildings other than residential buildings under the scope of the IRC
  • Intended to be enforced primarily by building officials – a system already in place nation wide
  • Intended to drive green building into everyday practice
igcc concepts
IgCC Concepts
  • The IgCC is nota rating system, nor is it intended to replace them.
  • The IgCC is codewhich is intended to be adopted on mandatorybasis.
  • Unlike most rating systems, the IgCC primarily consists of minimum mandatory requirements, just as other I-Codes.
How should we compare green and sustainable codes, standards, rating systems and programs?

Building by building?

- Or -

By their ability to be adopted on a mandatory basis in all regions and potential overall reduction of negative environmental impacts?

What should the intent of a green code or program be?

To make a fewbuildingsvery green?

- Or -

To have as largeapositive impact and as little anegative impact as possible on the total natural environment? Not just local, not just the U.S., but the entire planet.

IgCC Concepts

igcc concepts1
IgCC Concepts
  • Because the IGCC is intended to apply to both private sector and government owned buildings on a mandatorybasis – it
  • Raises the floor of sustainability for all commercial buildings.
  • Positions the IGCC to achieve environmental benefits on a massive scale – a scale not possible with voluntaryrating systems.
igcc detailed and comprehensive
IgCC: Detailedand Comprehensive


  • Provides many detailed prescriptive requirements, as well as performance targets, which are quantified and enforceable.
  • Does not award innovation without merit or the implementation of theories without real world value.
  • Contains many detailed requirements, including:
    • Gray water system details
    • Irrigation system details
    • Rainwater catchment system details
    • Actual energy provisions
chapter topics
1: Administration

2: Definitions

3: Requirements determined by the jurisdiction and project electives

4: Site development & land use

5: Materials resource efficiency

6: Energy conservation and efficiency

7: Water conservation and efficiency

Chapter Topics
chapter topics1
8: Indoor environmental quality

9: Commissioning, operation and maintenance

10: Existing buildings

11: Existing building sites

12: Referenced standards


A: Optional Ordinance

B: Greenhouse Gas Reductions in Existing Buildings

C: Sustainability Measures

D: Enforcement Procedures

Chapter Topics
chapter 1 administration
Chapter 1 Administration


    • New and existing construction
    • All buildings other than those covered by the IRC
  • The IgCC is an overlay code.
  • Compliance enforced as part of other applicable codes.
  • References other I-Codes


chapter 1 administration1
Chapter 1 Administration


  • Does not circumvent the requirements of other codes, but often exceeds them.
  • Regulates sustainable aspects of construction not covered by other codes.
  • Regulates the impact of the built environment on the natural environment.
chapter 2 definitions
Chapter 2 Definitions


  • Shares some definitions which are common to other International codes.
  • Primarily provides definitions unique to the IgCC.
  • Examples:
    • Approved
    • Approved Agency
    • Building Commissioning
    • Construction Documents
    • Control
    • Daylight Control
    • Occupant Sensor Control
chapter 2 definitions1
Chapter 2 Definitions


  • Demand Response, Automated
  • Energy Management and Control System
  • Registered Designer in Responsible Charge
  • Sequence of Operation


A technique to evaluate the relevant energy and material consumed and environmental emissions associated with the entire life of a building, product, process, material, component, assembly, activity or service.

chapter 3
Chapter 3


Chapter 3 is unique in that the focus will be on stringency of the entire document as adopted by the jurisdiction.

Focus is on adoptability through flexibility of the document to coordinate with the local jurisdictions environmental goals and specific regional geography.

Four (4) major components of Ch 3:

1. Jurisdictional Requirements.

2. Option to adopt ASHRAE Standard 189.1 (Replaces IGCC Chapters 4 through 12)

3. Project Electives.

4. Whole Building Life Cycle Assessment Project Elective.

chapter 3 jurisdictional requirements
Chapter 3 – Jurisdictional Requirements
  • Allows jurisdictions to make choices which:
      • Can tailor the code to address environmental concerns of a local nature.
      • Respond to environmentally related local political agendas.
      • Apply to all buildings constructed in the jurisdiction.
      • Determine whether certain provisions will be enforced.
table 302 1 jurisdictional requirements 22 choices affecting chapters 4 through 10
Table 302.1Jurisdictional Requirements22 Choices affecting Chapters 4 through 10


  • IgCC Table 302.1 allows regional choices, similar in concept to Table R302.1(1) in the IRC.
  • Allows jurisdictions to make choices for higher levels of stringency by:
    • Determining whether certain provisions will be enforced in the jurisdiction. (Typically yes or no answers.)
  • Decisions made in Table 302.1 apply to all buildings constructed in the jurisdiction.
  • Many of the choices in Table 302.1 may pose risks for certain jurisdictions. (Thus they may pose a barrier to adoption in some regions and are not mandatory for all jurisdictions.)
table 303 1 project electives 52 electives affecting chapters 4 through 8
Table 303.1Project Electives52 Electives affecting Chapters 4 through 8


  • Allows owners and design professionals to make choices which:
    • Encourage and drive the construction of buildings which exceed the already stringent minimum requirements of the code.
    • Encourage practices which are difficult to mandate.
    • Adds a degree of flexibility to the code.
    • Jurisdiction determines minimum number that must be satisfied in Table 302.1.
    • Owner chooses which electives will be complied with on a project by project basis.
chapter 3 jurisdictional requirements project electives whole building lca project elective
Chapter 3 Jurisdictional RequirementsProject ElectivesWhole Building LCA Project Elective


  • Even where adopted in its baseline/minimum form (where no project electives are selected and only “No” boxes checked), the IgCC is poised to produce significant environmental benefits.
    • No longer must mandatory green building requirements be limited to government buildings.
chapter 4 site development and land use
Chapter 4Site Development and Land Use

Preservation of Natural Resources

Protection by area: e.g. floodplains, conservation areas, park lands, agricultural lands, greenfields.

Site design and development requirements:

Pre-design site inventory and assessment

Stormwater management,

Landscape irrigation systems,

Management of vegetation and soils

Erosion control

Site waste management plan.

chapter 4 site development land use
Chapter 4Site Development& Land Use

Transportation impact.

Walkways and bicycle paths

Changing and shower facilities

Bicycle parking and storage

Vehicle parking

Heat island mitigation.

Site hardscape

Roof coverings

Light pollution mitigation.

Detailed site development requirements.

Subsurface graywater irrigation systems

Vegetation and soil protection

Soil reuse and restoration

Landscape, soil and water quality protection plan

Vegetative roofs

Site & land use project electives.


IgCC Chapter 5

Material Resource Conservation and Efficiency

chapter 5 material resource conservation and efficiency
Chapter 5Material Resource Conservation and Efficiency

Material and Waste Management

Waste management planfor construction phase

Post occupancy recycling areas must be shown on plans.

Materials and their properties.

55% of materials used in every project must be any combination of the following




Bio-based or


chapter 5 material resource conservation and efficiency1
Chapter 5Material Resource Conservation and Efficiency

Lamps: Limits mercury content in lamps

Service Life:Building service life plan to be included in construction documents. Not less than 25 years.

Storage and handling of materials.

Moisture Control:Requires specific inspection of foundation drainage systems, damproofing and waterproofing, flashings and roof coverings.

Strawbale construction.

Material related project electives.


IgCC Chapter 6:

Energy Conservation, Efficiency & Atmospheric Quality

chapter 6 energy conservation efficiency and atmospheric quality
Chapter 6Energy Conservation, Efficiency and Atmospheric Quality

Buildings > 25,000 sq. ft. must use the performance based compliance path

Uses Zero Energy Performance Index (zEPI) concept – encourages use of renewable energy, cogeneration and zero net energy buildings.

Buildings < 25,000 sq. ft. may use any of the following :

Performance based path

Prescriptive based path

Energy Use Intensity (EUI) path

Must be in top 10% of EPA’s Target Finder Program

Outcome based path

Estimated energy use relative to actual energy use, based on a 12 month period after C of O.

chapter 6 energy conservation efficiency and atmospheric quality1
Chapter 6Energy Conservation, Efficiency and Atmospheric Quality

Major section topics:

Energy performance and peak power.

Atmospheric impacts – reduced CO2e emissions.

Metering, monitoring and reporting.

Auto-Demand/Response strategies.

Building envelope systems.

chapter 6 energy conservation efficiency and atmospheric quality2
Chapter 6Energy Conservation, Efficiency and Atmospheric Quality

Major section topics (cont.):

Mechanical and Svc Water Heating systems

Electrical power and lighting

Appliances and equipment

Renewable energy.

Commissioning and maintenance.

Energy related project electives.


IgCC Chapter 7:

Water Resource Conservation and Efficiency

chapter 7 water resource conservation efficiency
Chapter 7Water ResourceConservation & Efficiency

Ch 7 major section topics:

Plumbing systems and conservation measures.

Landscaping and irrigation – addressed in Chapter 4.

Specific water savings measures.

Use of grey water, rain collection and storage.


Ch 7 major section topics (cont.):

  • Fixtures, fittings, equipment & appliances
  • HVAC systems and equipment efficiency
  • Water treatment system efficiency
  • Specific topics (e.g. Submetering, fountains)
  • Nonpotable water use
  • Alternative water sources

Chapter 7Water Resource Conservation & Efficiency


chapter 8 indoor environmental quality
Chapter 8Indoor Environmental Quality

Chapter 8 major section topics:

Building construction features, operations & maintenance

HVAC system requirements

Construction phase emissions and pollution control, HVAC flush out

Asbestos use prevention

Material emissions & pollutant control

IAQ measures

Sound transmission

Views to exterior and daylighting


IgCC Chapter 9:

Commissioning, Operation & Maintenance

chapter 9 commissioning operation maintenance
Chapter 9Commissioning,Operation & Maintenance


Chapter 9 major section topics:

Pre-Occupancy inspections and testing.

Owner or tenant post occupancy operations.


Building maintenance.

Education of building users.



A process that verifies and documents that the selected building systems have been designed, installed, and function according to the owner’s project requirements and construction documents, and to minimum code requirements except as noted herein.



Acceptable to the code official or authority having jurisdiction.


An established and recognized agency regularly engaged in conducting tests or furnishing commissioning services, where such agency has been approved.



A registered design professional engaged by the owner to review and coordinate certain aspects of the project, as determined by the building official, for compatibility with the design of the building or structure, including submittal documents prepared by others, deferred submittal documents and phased submittal documents.

section 902 approved agency

902.1.1 Independence. An approved agency shall be objective, competent and independent from the contractor responsible for the work being inspected. The agency shall also disclose possible conflicts of interest so that objectivity can be confirmed.

Section 902Approved Agency




section 902 approved agency1

902.1.2 Equipment. An approved agency shall have adequate equipment to perform the required commissioning. The equipment shall be periodically calibrated.

  • 902.1.3 Personnel. An approved agency shall employ experienced personnel educated in conducting, supervising and evaluating tests and commissioning.
Section 902Approved Agency




section 903 commissioning
Section 903 Commissioning


Modeled after

  • Special inspections criteria in Chapter 17 of the IBC and
  • Commissioning criteria found in the IECC

Table 903.1 – Commissioning Plan

  • List of items for which commissioning is required or encouraged
  • Contains columns which distinguish between pre-occupancy and post-occupancy commissioning
  • Commissioning requirements extend well beyond the energy realm, including site, materials and water, etc.
section 903 commissioning pre commissioning report
Section 903 CommissioningPre commissioning report


903.1.1 Pre occupancy report

The approved agency shall furnish commissioning reports.

Prior to the issuance of a Certificate of occupancy, a final commisioning report shall be submitted to and accepted by the code official.

section 903 commissioning post commissioning report
Section 903 CommissioningPost commissioning report


903.1.2 Post occupancy report

Post occupancy reports required.

Within 30 months of the issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy a post commissioning report shall be submitted to the owner and made available to the code official.


TABLE 903.1



TABLE 903.1


chapter 10 existing buildings
Chapter 10Existing Buildings


  • Loosely based on the provisions of the IBC for existing buildings:
    • For alterations/renovations: whatever is changed must meet current IgCC requirements.
    • Unaltered components can remain as they are.
    • Additions are treated much like new construction: applicable requirements of the IgCC must be satisfied.
  • Section 1002.1: Prohibits the construction of additions to buildings in flood hazard areas.
    • Exception: where all habitable space is located at least 1 foot above flood elevation.
chapter 10 existing buildings1
Chapter 10Existing Buildings


  • Alterations to Existing Buildings:
    • Basic prescriptive requirements addressing:
      • Leaks
      • Defective equipment and systems
    • Extensive prescriptive list limited to 10% of the cost of alterations.
    • Triggered by any change of occupancy or alteration.
what about residential properties

The ICC co-developed the National Green Building Standard (NGBS), otherwise known as ICC 700-2008, with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).  It is not referenced in the IgCC. Residential buildings that are not covered in the IRC must the IGCC.

What about residential properties?
who is supporting the icc in this effort

The AIA and ASTM-International are the “Cooperating Sponsors” for this initiative, and as such have an active role in the development process.  Other organizations who participated in the development include the U.S. Green Building Council (the purveyor of the LEED rating system), the Green Buildings Initiative (GBI), ASHRAE as well as state and local officials. Well over 100 organizations and individuals participated in the development effort.

  • Standard 189.1, included as a jurisdictional compliance option, was developed by ASHRAE, USGBC and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES). Those organizations have now joined in the effort to promote the IGCC.
Who is supporting the ICC in this effort?
how does the development process work

The ICC Board created a Sustainable Building Technology Committee (SBTC) composed of 28 individuals from multiple sectors, to draft Public Version 1.0. The SBTC conducted open meetings around the U.S. between July 2009 and January 2010, creating IGCC Public Version 1.0 as a tool for jurisdictions wishing to develop a code based on the ICC process.

A Public Version 2.0 was released in November 2010 after public comments and hearings. It is published for comments now.

In 2011, Code Development and Final Action Hearings will deliver the 2012 IGCC.

How does the development process work?
how does the development process work1

This process tracks the development of the other codes in the I-Codes series.  Once the 2012 Code is issued, it will be revisited every three years along with the other I-Codes, through the two-hearing process used to update all of the I-Codes.

How does the development process work?

The IGCC creates a regulatory framework for new and existing commercial and high-performance buildings.  Rating systems are not written in the form of enforceable codes, acting as optional approaches, such as awarding points based on the inclusion of certain design elements and other features with the assumption is that the combination and concentration of favored elements will result in a positive environmental impact.  The IGCC will build on that foundation to ensure that measurable building performance and an adherence to building safety will be featured in the model code language. It is anticipated that the IGCC will look to existing rating systems and standards as resources in developing the regulatory framework.

What is the difference between the IGCC and other systems and standards such as LEED, Green Globes, etc. ?
how will the igcc differ from other international codes such as the international building code ibc

One of the values of the IGCC is that it will be designed to coordinate and integrate with existing I-Codes.  The IGCC includes various levels for jurisdictions to apply unique “green” requirements to commercial buildings. The IGCC will not replace the IBC but rather can be adopted and used in conjunction with the adopted IBC, as well as all the other I-Codes.

How will the IGCC differ from other International Codes such as the International Building Code (IBC)?
why is the icc promoting its green construction code when other options already exist

The development of a code occurs when there is a clear need indicated from regulators and others in the building safety industry.  In the case of the IGCC, there has been an increasing call for an actual code that is clear and enforceable.  We have heard this not only from our members in local and state government, but from stakeholders across the spectrum. This is why the AIA and the ASTM have joined the ICC as “Cooperating Sponsors.” For example, architects want a code book that will guide their design activities just like the other I-Codes. The inclusion of ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1 provides the jurisdiction the option of using either the IGCC or Standard 189.1.

Why is the ICC promoting its Green Construction Code when other options already exist?