Last week, I had the privilege of being interviewed by a film crew from the International Code Council (ICC) about my experience working with the International Green Construction Code (IGCC).

The finished video footage will present an Architect’s perspective to building officials during six nationwide seminars organized by the ICC.

The IGCC is a new building code written for adoption by building departments across the United States. The code sets minimum mandatory standards for sustainable building construction. As I posted in a previous blog, Oregon State is working to adopt the IGCC as a statewide standard.

I believe the IGCC will benefit the industry by:

  • complementing the USGBC’s LEED® ratings systems by setting minimum standards for sustainable construction, allowing LEED to raise the bar;
  • challenging and encouraging Architects, building owners, developers and contractors to design and construct buildings that are closer to net-zero environmental impact;
  • giving Architects a road map and checklist for incorporating sustainable construction best practices into their designs;
  • educating and building awareness of sustainability in the design and construction community; and
  • allowing local jurisdictions to tailor the code to their community and location.

The IGCC is challenging because:

  • 80 percent of Architects in the United States have never worked on a sustainable project. This means a majority of Architects, owners, contractors and building officials need to educate themselves about sustainable construction methodology and benefits; and
  • some areas of the country lack the larger systems and supply chains necessary to support sustainable building construction, such as recycling programs, public transportation and walkable communities, and forward-thinking municipal regulations.

I feel strongly, as does the American Institute of Architects (see article here) other organizations sponsoring the development of the code, that the IGCC provides a unique opportunity for Architects to become leaders in sustainable design and construction.

Architects have always taken a holistic approach to design, overseeing and coordinating mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems; structural design; materials selection; building exteriors; space planning and needs assessment; site development and landscaping; and construction.

Due to our involvement in all aspects of development, Architects are well trained to look at a project from all angles. Architects routinely create designs that are financially viable, aesthetically pleasing, usable by occupants, functional and, now, less harmful to the environment. The IGCC helps us do our job better.

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