Changes Proposed to Energy Aspects of Green Construction Code

The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) brought together representatives from across the building industry, including code officials, building owners, manufacturers, designers and energy efficiency advocates to develop a new approach to meeting energy efficiency requirements. The group has submitted the “Outcome-based Pathway” as a proposed code change to the International Green Construction Code (IgCC).

“The IgCC is typically adopted by states or localities as an overlay code to provide a code-type methodology for either a specific building type (e.g., government facilities) or for receipt of incentives,” said Ryan Colker, director, consultative council with NIBS.

The code changes are based on targeted energy outcomes. The industry group specifically focused on an outcome-based approach to address a number of challenges facing the building industry:

  • Code departments have limited resources available to enforce building codes (particularly energy codes, which are not usually seen as a life safety issue).
  • Energy use is highly measurable, yet current code pathways anticipate results from designs; they do not assess actual building performance.
  • Designers do not have the flexibility to use some of the latest technologies or practices to achieve energy efficiency requirements.
  • Not all energy-saving strategies, such as building orientation, are effectively captured in codes.
  • Energy efficiency goals increasingly rely on reductions in energy use at the systems level, but the IECC has primarily focused on a component approach.
  • A growing percentage of energy uses associated with buildings are not currently covered within the existing code framework (i.e., plug loads).

The proposed code change will be heard by the IgCC Energy/Water Committee during the International Code Council’s Committee Action Hearings, April 27-May 4, in Memphis, Tenn.

Last year, NIBS said it was working to identify tasks within five job categories, including “energy manager.”

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