Programs Codes and Standards Referenced in the Recommendations

Following are the full names and brief descriptions of the green building programs, codes and standards that are referenced in this document. Subsequent references to these products use the acronym indicated in parentheses.

  • ICC-700 National Green Building Standard (NGBS): The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the International Code Council (ICC) produced the first ANSI-approved rating system, the NGBS, for single and multifamily homes, residential remodeling and site development projects. First published in January 2009, the standard is a points-based rating system that allows the jurisdiction to set a minimum number of points for each green building category. 
  • International Green Construction Code (IGCC):  The International Green Construction Code (IGCC), published as Public Version 1.0 in March 2010, was the first green construction code written in mandatory code language for residential above three stories and commercial construction. Most of the nation’s code jurisdictions have adopted the ICC’s codes, or I-codes. The IGCC is an overlay to the I-codes, meaning that the IGCC does not replace the International Building Code; it works in conjunction with the International Building Code, the International Plumbing Code, the International Mechanical Code, and so forth. The IGCC is comprised primarily of mandatory requirements. The jurisdiction that adopts the IGCC can specify requirements in each environmental category – energy, water, materials, sites, indoor air quality, operations, and the building owner/designer chooses from the electives. Each chapter opens with the mandatory requirements for that environmental category and closes with the project electives. The jurisdiction chooses 0-14 minimum project electives; the designer chooses out of 60 electives. This is very flexible to support the interest of the private sector.
  • ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1 (Standard 189.1): Development of ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1 began in 2006 and then had four public review processes before it was finally published in 2010. Standard 189.1 has mostly mandatory provisions, however most subject areas have prescriptive and performance options for a portion of the section. There are five subject areas in Standard 189.1: site sustainability, water use efficiency, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality and the building’s impact on the atmosphere, and materials and resources. Each chapter first addresses the scope, then indicates if there are compliance paths, lists the mandatory provisions, and then breaks out the details of the prescriptive and performance compliance paths.
  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED): A program of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED is typically an alternative compliance path for community green building programs where it is not the primary program. It is highly unusual to find a jurisdiction adopting a comprehensive program that does not allow LEED as an alternative compliance path. LEED was never intended to be a code, and yet over 45 states, including 442 localities and 35 state governments, have adopted LEED into some form of legislation, ordinance, or policy as of 2010. While the code sets the minimum legal building requirements (the floor), LEED pushes the ceiling and continues to drive innovation and market transformation, as depicted in Figure 1.

Greening the CodesFigure 1. Greening the Codes (courtesy USGBC)

  • ENERGY STAR for New Homes (ENERGY STAR):  The ENERGY STAR for New Homes program, designed and maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is currently in a transition period, a shift that is necessary for it to maintain above-code status.  The ENERGY STAR Version 3.0 program is expected to take effect on January 1, 2012.  Version 3.0 is said to achieve 15% energy savings above the 2009 IECC.
  • International Energy Conservation Code (IECC):  The IECC is a model energy building code that provides minimum energy efficiency requirements for residential and commercial buildings.
  • ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1 (Standard 90.1):  Standard 90.1 provides minimum requirements for energy efficiency in all buildings except for low-rise residential.