Hospitality developers making plans for compliance with with new ADA accessibility requirements may now have something else to consider. Last month, the International Code Council released the Synopsis of the International Green Construction Code, with the full version of the model building code expected to be released in March 2012. The IGCC has a goal of establishing a baseline standard of green building design and performance for all new and renovated commercial buildings and residential structures larger than three stories.
Unlike LEED, the IGCC is not a rating system. Rather it would establish specific "green" standards for construction that are to be adopted by local governments, integrated into existing building codes, and administered by local code officials. The "floor" established by the IGCC may be varied in two ways:
- Each local jurisdiction may decide to accommodate issues relative to that area, such as sprawl, heat island effects, stormwater runoff and water and energy minimum performance thresholds.
- Each jurisdiction may require the project developer to choose and implement one or more "electives," which are intended to encourage "the construction of higher performance buildings than would be produced by conformance with the minimum requirements of the code, just like rating systems do." Examples of electives include whole-building life-cycle assessement, enhanced site restroration, and more stringent recycled content options.
While the approach advocated by the ICC may answer some concerns put forth by critics of the LEED ratings system, that doesn't mean the process will be painless for developers. Among other things, the IGCC requires:
- Significant restrictions on greenfield development and construction in flood hazard areas.
- That at least 50% of construction-phase waste materials be diverted from landfills.
- That at least 55% of building materials are salvaged, recycled content, recyclable, biobased or indigenous.
- For all buildings and tenant spaces greater than 5,000 sq. ft., development of a greenhouse gas inventory to calculate the applicable carbon footprint.
- Capabilities for energy measuring, monitoring and reporting, or to incorporate features that readily facilitate those capabilities in the future.