ICC Considers 2015 Green Code

Energy Efficiency

Another success came with the disapproval of the proposal to eliminate the building owner’s choice to use ASHRAE Standard 189.1 as a more flexible and cost effective compliance option. The real estate industry has always supported options that give building owners and their design teams more design flexibility, which helps to reduce the costs of code compliance. ASHRAE 189.1, Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings has been allowed as an alternative compliance option in the IgCC since its inception. Standard 189.1 includes additional performance-based design options that can be employed by design teams to produce the same energy and resource savings as more expensive prescriptive compliance paths. Deleting this design option in the IgCC would therefore be potentially costly for many building owners.

A complete list of other proposals that that were both opposed by real estate interests and recommended for disapproval by ICC committees in Memphis appears at right. Advocates for the real estate industry were largely successful in gaining committee agreement with our priority positions.

Nevertheless, some proposals with negative impacts were supported by committee recommendations despite objections from real estate advocates and some code enforcement officials:

  • Disapproved proposal to allow compliance with ICC energy code (IECC) requirements in lieu of the more stringent IgCC energy provisions
  • Supported redefinition of whole building lifecycle cost analysis to include a 60-year service life threshold
  • Disapproved reduced bicycle parking where space is limited
  • Supported more restrictive roof material reflectance options
  • Disapproved proposal to exempt roof repairs and recovering from the air barrier requirements of new construction
  • Disapproved exception to waste management systems where infrastructure (recycling programs, etc.) is unavailable
  • Disapproved proposal to delete overly stringent sound transmission provisions
  • Supported more stringent daylighting requirements
  • Approved additional post occupancy commissioning requirements
  • Supported mandatory minimum energy, water, and HVAC requirements for existing buildings
  • Disapproved real estate industry proposal to delete existing building requirements from the IgCC.

In the wake of the Memphis hearings, two major challenges loom. The first is to ensure that the successes secured in Memphis are upheld and that detrimental changes are defeated in October.

The second and much more critical challenge is to educate the large number of ICC voting members representing local and state governments about the impact on real estate and related industries of negative decisions.

Reaching these code officials prior to the electronic remote voting period in the three weeks following the Fort Lauderdale hearings will be crucial to the success of our efforts to determine the requirements in the 2015 edition of the IgCC.

It is vitally important that your local code officials hear from the constituencies they serve – especially you and your fellow real estate professionals. Your interests are at stake – and so is your pocketbook.
Toolkits to help you reach key players in your area along with materials on priority lists of specific critical issues are under development by BOMA, the National Multifamily Housing Council/National Apartment Association, and the National Association of Home Builders. These tools will be available prior to the Fort Lauderdale hearings. Watch for updates from your BOMA, NMHC/NAA, and NAHB local affiliates.
You can find more information on code development at the ICC website (www.iccsafe.org) and by contacting BOMA’s Codes & Standards staff at enaden@boma.org or ronburton@ptwadvisors.com.

Ron Burton is president of PTW Advisors, LLC and
former vice president of codes, standards, and regulatory
affairs for BOMA International.

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