Tech Today

Green codes are coming

The green building movement is beginning to find its way into building construction codes. Construction professionals should be aware of these developments because, over time, green construction codes likely will play significant roles in many construction projects, including roofing projects.

Some recent developments include California's adoption of a state-developed green building standard and the International Code Council's (ICC's) development of the International Green Construction Code (IGCC).


In January, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced California's Building Standards Commission unanimously adopted the mandatory California Green Building Standards Code (CALGREEN), the first code in the U.S. requiring all new buildings to be more energy-efficient and environmentally responsible.

CALGREEN will require construction of every new building in California to reduce water consumption 20 percent, divert 50 percent of construction waste from landfills and involve low-pollutant-emitting materials.

CALGREEN also will require mandatory inspections of energy systems (such as heat furnaces, air conditioners and mechanical equipment) for nonresidential buildings larger than 10,000 square feet to ensure all are working at maximum capacity and according to design efficiencies.

In addition to its mandatory regulations, CALGREEN also includes more stringent voluntary provisions intended to encourage local communities to take further action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy efficiency and conserve natural resources.

CALGREEN goes into effect Jan. 1, 2011. Its mandatory provisions will be verified by local and state building departments.


Also in January, ICC's Sustainable Building Technology Committee and its work groups held their fifth meeting to develop a draft of IGCC.

IGCC is ICC's initiative to develop a green building code that is fully coordinated and integrated with ICC's other model codes, such as the International Building Code® and International Residential Code.®

IGCC's complete first draft will be available for public review March 15. Public comments are due May 14 and will be posted July 2. The comments will be considered during an ICC public hearing in Rosemont, Ill., Aug. 14-22.

A final draft of IGCC will be developed from the first draft and public hearing results. The final draft is scheduled to be published Nov. 3 for public consideration of code change proposals. Any code change proposals to the final draft are due Jan. 3, 2011. ICC tentatively plans to hold its code development hearing for final draft changes in Dallas May 15-21, 2011. ICC will take final action on the code changes at its annual conference, tentatively scheduled for Nov. 3-6, 2011.

The IGCC's first edition is scheduled to be published in March 2012.

NRCA is closely monitoring IGCC's development process and will be actively involved with ICC's public comments and code change processes for IGCC.

Stay informed

The development and implementation of green building construction codes significantly will affect building construction, including roofing.

Roofing professionals in California should familiarize themselves with CALGREEN's mandatory provisions and be prepared for the code's implementation. Elsewhere, roofing professionals should closely monitor IGCC's development and consider submitting public comments and code change proposals according to ICC's process.

Mark S. Graham is NRCA's associate executive director of technical services.



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