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IGCC Releases Version 2.0: Is This The Answer For Green Cities?

IGCC is here - LEED still kicking. But, all is calm on the water.

Back in October, Chris Cheatham and I spoke at the Green Legal Matters Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. Our topic: The Green Building Legal Apocalypse.

While our title may have been nothing more than "shock science" to get people's attention, Chris and I had a genuine fear for municipalities who were mandating LEED construction. The required utilization of a privately managed certification process, intended to produce only the best buildings, raised concerns. Could a green building mandate result in a litigation phenomenon? Perhaps.


As we walked the conference, we discovered that many shared our fear. You can add to the list of cautious legal minds, Susan Dorn. Mrs. Dorn is the General Counsel of the US Green Building Council. During our presentation, we jarred her for a response to this concern. Mrs. Dorn was clear that LEED was never intended to be a building code, because we have ASHRAE Std. 189.1 and the IGCC for that role.

The International Code Council recently released the International Green Construction Code (IGCC) Public Version 2.0, without much noise. But, this marks a significant development in green building and sustainable cities. Cities now have a viable code from the code producer. They also have a code they can internally enforce.

IGCC v2.0 was the result of over a year of development and a significant public comment period culminating in a hearing last August, in Chicago. Version 2.0 includes ASHRAE Std. 189.1 and ICC 700 (The National Green Building Standard), so it is certain to pass the muster of many professionals in the green building network.

The ICC will continue to mold and shape the final adopted version of the IGCC over the course of the next year. Plans are in place to release a final, adoptable, version by the end of next year. But, already two jurisdictions have adopted the code – Richland, Washington and the State of Rhode Island.

So where do we head from here? Many hope that cities will take steps to implement the IGCC and let LEED remain where it was intended, with high-performing government buildings and selective private projects.  For now, it creates a daunting task for city leaders who are interested in mandating green construction right now, reluctant to wait another year for the IGCC.

Does LEED have competition? Or is LEED welcoming the IGCC?