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ICC at COP26: Building Codes Vital to Future-Proofing Communities

Oct. 28, 2021
This week in Scotland, the group will present on how contemporary building codes are essential to limiting greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing resilience.


Washington, DC. October 27, 2021 – The International Code Council, the largest international organization of building safety professionals, will be actively promoting the important role building codes need to play in helping governments and local jurisdictions around the world meet their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) at this year’s Global Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, in Glasgow.

From Nov. 1-12,  the We Mean Business Buildings Pavilion organized by the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC) and the We Mean Business Coalition will host events related to building safety and the built environment. As a sponsor, the Code Council will present in-person and virtual sessions and interact with global policymakers and stakeholders in the global building ecosystem.

“With communities searching for solutions to address energy use and reduce emissions, adopting and implementing energy codes are the natural solution,” said Judy Zakreski, ICC Vice President of Global Services. “The Code Council is proud to work with other leading voices to spur action through raising awareness and highlighting the role of energy efficient, green and resilient buildings in achieving NDCs. Governments around the world are looking for tools and solutions to curb emissions, and contemporary building codes are a logical starting point.”

During the event, Ryan Colker, ICC's Vice President, Innovation, will present a paper titled, “Pathways to Climate Resilience: The Central Role of Building Codes in Climate Adaptation and Mitigation,” on Nov. 5 at 4 pm GMT at the We Mean Business Buildings Pavilion. The presentation will be livestreamed at Noon ET and available to a global viewership.

Additionally, Zakreski will facilitate a hybrid session together with Global Resiliency Dialogue members from Australia, Canada and New Zealand on Nov. 5 to launch the Global Resiliency Dialogue’s forthcoming publication, “Delivering Climate Responsive Resilient Building Codes and Standards.”

ICC is also collaborating with leading U.S. organizations like the American Institute of Architects and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, as well as with global partners including GlobalABC and Architecture2030, to promote the vital role that the adoption and enforcement of modern building codes can play in addressing climate mitigation and adaptation. The Code Council has joined with organizations, firms, and sub-national governments responsible for planning, designing, constructing, and developing the built environment globally to sign the 1.5°C Communique calling on governments to set NDCs aligned with international climate goals.

“As society races to achieve the greenhouse gas reductions outlined in the Paris Agreement and advance resiliency against the increasing frequency and intensity of natural hazards, modern building codes and standards play a foundational role in realizing these goals,” said Colker. “As the leading developer of building codes and standards worldwide, the International Code Council is working to ensure that communities across the globe have access to the codes and standards, as well as the supporting tools and resources necessary to advance the resiliency, sustainability, and efficiency of their buildings.”

In order for countries to achieve their NDCs, leaders must be prepared to “wake the sleeping giant” that is the building and construction sector, and focus on ensuring their communities have the proper tools, resources and knowledge to create energy efficient buildings and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of building stock. After all, according to GlobalABC, the global buildings sector is responsible for 38% of global energy-related emissions. GlobalABC’s 2021 Buildings Global Status Report, which was released on Oct. 19, highlights that the challenges to reaching a net zero, energy-efficient and resilient buildings and construction sector are considerable but achievable.

Policies at the national and sub-national levels to achieve net-zero emissions and enhance community resilience must include a strong focus on current and future buildings. Building codes and the activities that support their effective use are central to the realization of a climate resilient future. The International Code Council calls on all governments to adopt and enforce building codes aligned with domestic and international goals for reduced GHG emissions and enhanced resilience.

More information on the Code Council’s involvement in COP26 and instructions for virtual participation will be provided in the coming days. 


About the International Code Council

The International Code Council is the leading global source of model codes and standards and building safety solutions. Code Council codes, standards and solutions are used to ensure safe, affordable and sustainable communities and buildings worldwide.