New Approach to Energy-Code Compliance Clears Major Hurdle

May 15, 2014
An outcome-based compliance path would set targets for actual energy use once a building is in operation.

The International Green Construction Code (IgCC) development committee approved by a vote of 8-5 on May 4 a proposal to add what would be the first outcome-based compliance path in a model energy code.

The IgCC, which is updated every three years, defines requirements that need to be met for a new-construction or deep-renovation project to be considered green. An outcome-based compliance path would set targets for actual energy use once a building is in operation.

“Including such an approach within the 2015 IgCC will lead to a fundamental shift in how we design, construct, and operate buildings,” Ryan Colker, presidential advisor, National Institute of Building Sciences, who favors the measure, said.

The IgCC is developed by the International Code Council (ICC), which will meet for a final vote on the outcome-based compliance pathway and other proposals Oct. 1-5 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. With the IgCC committee’s recent approval, the proposal (GEW-147) needs only 50 percent of ICC voting-body approval to pass.

The IgCC committee approved the proposal after considering testimony submitted by an assortment of industry representatives, including the National Institute of Building Sciences, the New Buildings Institute (NBI), Building Owners and Managers Association International, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the International Association of Lighting Designers, Grundfos, Target Corp., and the Colorado chapter of the ICC.

“Buildings account for over 40 percent of the energy consumed in the United States,” Ralph DiNola, NBI executive director, said. “The design community has the capability to bring that number down significantly, but is limited by prescriptive codes, which can restrict the innovation necessary to create ultralow-energy buildings.”

About the Author

Scott Arnold | Executive Editor

Described by a colleague as "a cyborg ... requir(ing) virtually no sleep, no time off, and bland nourishment that can be consumed while at his desk" who was sent "back from the future not to terminate anyone, but with the prime directive 'to edit dry technical copy' in order to save the world at a later date," Scott Arnold joined the editorial staff of HPAC Engineering in 1999. Prior to that, he worked as an editor for daily newspapers and a specialty-publications company. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Kent State University.