The International Code Council has passed the midpoint in developing a draft of a new international green construction code. A report from the work group’s October meeting indicates that the group wants to produce a code that is widely adoptable, enforceable, usable, and effective.

Topics at the forefront of recent discussions about balancing effectiveness versus adoptability include:

Heat Island Mitigation – Decisions regarding to what extent solutions such as trees and landscaping should be captured as either regulatory mandates or elective alternatives. Looking beyond the building itself to site requirements is common in green programs, but largely outside the scope of traditional building codes.

Water and Natural Resource Preservation – One issue is regional and the ongoing quest for code language that works for both conservation needs in drought-prone areas, and excess on-site water accumulation and management in regions where this represents the most pressing need. Other issues again deal largely with the site rather than the “box.”

Materials Conservation – With 60% or more of landfill waste attributable to construction, the need for post-construction waste management was a key discussion point. Discussions focused on the issue of how to regulate effective solutions including: measuring the recyclability/sustainability of materials (steel, concrete, wood, glass, etc.) at the end of a building’s life cycle; and, deconstruction/reusability as a separate measurement from demolition/recyclability.

Commissioning – This continues to be a work in progress, says the ICC report, with tremendous effort going into finding a workable I-Code approach. As an overlay code, it was generally agreed that the IGCC provisions on commissioning should be formatted in much the same way as the special inspection provisions of Chapter 17 of the IBC. The IGCC provisions will require measures consistent with the need to drive effective outcomes in green and sustainable construction for the future.

The group’s next, and second-to-last, meeting is scheduled for December in Ft. Meyers, Florida. The final drafting meeting is scheduled for the end of January.

Additional information and updates are available at