Volume 47, Issue 5 - May 2012


ICC Publishes 2012 International Green Construction Code

The International Code Council published the 2012 International Green Construction Code (IgCC) in April. The new model code addresses the construction and remodeling of residential as well as commercial structures.

The code cites 46 ASTM International standards covering various aspects of building construction and incorporates the 2011 version of Standard 189.1 as an optional path to compliance.

The IgCC was developed by ASTM International, the American Institute of Architects, ASHRAE, the U.S. Green Building Council and the Illuminating Engineering Society.

Several industry officials have predicted that the release of the IgCC could increase energy performance requirements for the glass and glazing industry.

“The glass and glazing industry will need to comply with increasingly more stringent energy performance requirements around U-value and solar heat gain coefficient,” says Valerie Block, senior marketing specialist at DuPont Glass Laminating Solutions in Wilmington, Del. “We are seeing insulating glass units specified more frequently in South Florida—one of many examples where the glass configuration is changing to exceed the minimum energy requirements of glazing.”

However, the impact of the code on the industry will depend on how broadly it’s adopted, according to Jeff Inks, vice president of code and regulatory affairs at the Window and Door Manufacturers Association in Washington, D.C.

Right now the IgCC is not widely adopted, according to Inks. “That could or will change depending on how broadly it’s eventually adopted and how it is applied,” he says. “For example, as an option for meeting other high-performance objectives that a state or local jurisdiction may have in place, or as a mandatory requirement for some or all buildings in jurisdiction.”

In the immediate term, the 2012 IgCC probably has a more substantial impact as a codified benchmark for green construction requirements, especially for energy, according to Inks. “For fenestration, that’s 10 percent more stringent than the 2012 IECC under the prescriptive path,” he says. “The performance path is much less predictable and more varied from project to project. The type of fenestration that will be required or specified will be based on predictive modeling for whole building energy use. So it will vary from building to building.”

The IgCC can be used in conjunction with the other I-codes for new and existing buildings, according to Block. “While the new ‘green’ code does not replace the other I-codes, it incorporates the basic focus areas of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system into code language that can be enforced by building officials,” she says. “As state and local jurisdictions adopt the code, we are likely to see more and more emphasis on sustainable building design.”

ASTM and NIBS Work Together on Building Commissioning
ASTM International of West Conshohocken, Pa., and the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) of Washington, D.C., recently signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to work together to publish a building enclosure commissioning process that will follow ASHRAE Guideline 0: The Commissioning Process.

“Building Enclosure Commissioning is the next progression in giving the owner (purchaser) a higher level of confidence that they will receive a product that they expected to receive,” says Stanley Yee, building enclosure consultant with The Façade Group in Portland, Ore.

The memo aims to incorporate all building commissioning activities into a whole building commissioning process, according to information from the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and NIBS. The groups are aiming to develop a process that “ensure[s] that exterior enclosures meet or exceed the expectations of owners’ project requirements.”

The Glass Association of North America of Topeka, Kan., will partake in the commissioning process. “GANA has formed a task group to look into the building enclosure commissioning process and to work in conjunction with the industry standard making bodies,” says Urmilla Jokhu-Sowell, technical director. “With this new MOA between ASTM and NIBS, GANA will seek the opportunity to work with the development of these standards.”

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