New Green Code in Progress

Dec. 30, 2011

With the surge in green building accreditation, is it time to consider certifying your facility? A study confirming the importance of green certification and a new development in green codes make one thing clear – a sustainable building is good for your bottom line.

The International Code Council (ICC) is in the final stages of approving the nation’s first model green building code. The new Green Construction Code (IgCC) sets a standard for nearly every aspect of sustainable building design, from building materials and construction practices to energy efficiency and water conservation.

To distinguish it from other green certifications, the code includes a provision called the Outcome-Based Compliance Path. This outlines metering requirements that would put equipment in place to collect data on energy performance and verify outcome-based compliance.

It also includes refined guidelines for the installation of whole building meters and a two-layered approach to sub-metering. This will maximize the benefit of gathered data while minimizing the effort required in design and construction.

Other energy efficiency stipulations in the code include:

  • Whole building life-cycle assessment is no longer a project elective and is now an exception that essentially functions as an option.
  • Stormwater management requirements were clarified and made mandatory.
  • Building envelope requirements include wall and ceiling insulation. Fenestration solar heat gain coefficients must be 10% more stringent than the requirements of the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).
  • Permitting a few expectations, air barriers will be required in all climate zones.

The code is also taking a different approach for establishing baseline energy performance. A proposed Zero Energy Performance Index (zEPI) will use an energy scale based on the average building energy performance at the turn of the millennium.

In addition to energy savings, a national survey commissioned by Sealed Air’s Diversey business finds that 70% of U.S. adults agree – environmental certification of a company building imparts a positive impression on clients.

Not only can greening your property save time, money, and energy, survey results from a sampling of 1,016 U.S. adults show considerable benefits in terms of perception:

  • Close to 70% of respondents would favor working in a green certified facility.
  • Over 60% prefer to patronize an environmentally recognized business.
  • Approximately 50% indicate that green certification improves their image of a company.

“This research suggests that green building certifications are increasingly providing a competitive advantage for businesses,” says Mike Jenkins, vice president of sector sales for the Diversey Americas business.

The survey results also identified a clear shift in green priorities with younger generations. Adults ages 18-54 are more likely to favor working in and doing business with environmentally certified buildings than those 55 and older.

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