The International Code Council (ICC) has finalized its new International Green Construction Code (IgCC), the first model code for green buildings. The IgCC provides comprehensive requirements for the environmental design and performance of buildings; including, land development, material selection, energy and water efficiency and indoor air quality.
In March, 2012, the ICC agreed to exclude apartments from having to comply with the IgCC where it is adopted locally.
The IgCC was originally written with the understanding that it would not cover residential development. As a result, it was developed without input from the apartment sector and includes many provisions that would be extremely onerous, and in some cases unachievable, for apartment firms. For example, it would require use of products and practices not typically used, and not fully vetted, for multifamily construction.
However, in late 2010 the ICC Board of Directors removed the multifamily exclusion. NMHC/NAA and a coalition of organizations successfully appealed the decision. As a result, the scoping of the final IgCC exempts multifamily buildings four stories or less in height. Apartments taller than four stories must comply with the IgCC, but they can comply with the NMHC/NAA-supported National Green Building Standard (ICC-700, NGBS, silver level or above) or ASHRAE 189.1 in lieu of the IgCC.
Member firms should still actively monitor any local adoption of the IgCC, however, as each jurisdiction has the discretion to require low-rise properties to comply with the IgCC by complying with the NGBS.