2012 IECC Represents Significant Advances in High Performance Buildings

July 28, 2011–The International Code Council today released the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), which includes efficiency improvements of up to 30% over conventional commercial building practices. The IECC is updated every three years and serves as a model for jurisdictions to use as a starting point for local code development. The 2012 version represents the largest single-step efficiency increase in the history of the IECC. Even though the efficiency gains in the new version of the model energy code are large, the 2012 IECC upgrades to equipment specifications and design strategies relating to building envelope, heating and cooling, lighting, quality assurance and renewable energy are readily available and affordable in the marketplace. “We know buildings that meet the new IECC are affordable and achievable because New Buildings Institute (NBI) has been working with utility and state efficiency programs to promote the creation of buildings designed on these same principles,” explained Dave Hewitt, NBI executive director. The 2012 IECC is largely based on NBI’s Core Performance® Guide, a direct approach to achieving energy savings in commercial buildings. Core Performance is a prescriptive alternative for LEED points and is part of energy efficiency programs across New England, eastern Canada and in Oregon. NBI estimates over 100 buildings around the country have been designed and built using Core Performance since 2008. “Increasing the efficiency of commercial energy codes provides the best opportunity to bring about significant savings and helps move our nation along the path toward low-energy buildings,” said Hewitt. “We’re thrilled that Core Performance contributed to the development of this new code version and offers design teams a running start on applying it,” he said. The energy savings in the 2012 IECC meet national calls from Congress, the Secretary of Energy and industry leaders to improve the efficiency of commercial buildings by 30 percent. Jurisdictions that aren’t ready to adopt the 2012 IECC as a base code, may consider making the standard a voluntary stretch code. Massachusetts offers such a code, also based on Core Performance, that cities can choose to adopt. Over 90 communities in the state follow the Massachusetts stretch code and local utilities offer incentives and technical assistance to commercial building owners and design teams that apply it.


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The Top Three Requirements for Sustainability – High Performance Buildings & Green

1. Facility Life-cycle Management – Visibility into accurate building information from concept to design, bidding, procurement, construction, repair, renovation, maintenance, and demolition is a basic requirement for both new and existing buildings in order to impact sustainability on any type of broad scale.  Associated physical and functional conditions, costs, and what-if analysis tools are just an examples of the information needed.

2. Efficient Project Delivery Methods. The best high performance building concepts, for new or existing buildings, are of no value if they can not be implemented in a timely, cost-effective, and quality manner.   The AEC sector is notorious for waste, poor planning, and lack of efficient business processes.   “Newer” construction delivery methods such as IPD – Integrated Project Delivery and JOC – Job Order Contracting must be employed on a widespread basis.

3. Performance-Based Building Codes and Legislation. Existing buildings are responsible for the lion’s share of carbon output and energy consumption.  Current green initiatives in the private and public sector have been mostly “window dressing”, and strong legislation is required, inclusive of ongoing monitoring and associated incentives and penalties.

Green / Sustainability Building Standards – ASHRAE

ASHRAE green building standard published – Minimum requirements for the siting, design, construction and plans for operation of high-performance buildings.

The commercial green building standard in the U.S., standard 189.1 was drafted by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) in conjunction with the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America and the U.S. Green Building Council.

“long-needed green building foundation for those who strive to design, build and operate green buildings.” – ASHRAE

Covers: site sustainability, water-use efficiency, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality and the building’s impact on the atmospshere, materials and resources.

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GSA Requires Leed Gold

GSA has recently increased its minimum requirement for new construction and substantial renovation of Federally-owned facilities to LEED® Gold …

Sustainable Design Program

Sustainable design seeks to reduce negative impacts on the environment, and the health and comfort of building occupants, thereby improving building performance. The basic objectives of sustainability are to reduce consumption of non-renewable resources, minimize waste, and create healthy, productive environments.

Sustainable design principles include the ability to:

  • optimize site potential;
  • minimize non-renewable energy consumption;
  • use environmentally preferable products;
  • protect and conserve water;
  • enhance indoor environmental quality; and
  • optimize operational and maintenance practices.

Utilizing a sustainable design philosophy encourages decisions at each phase of the design process that will reduce negative impacts on the environment and the health of the occupants, without compromising the bottom line. It is an integrated, holistic approach that encourages compromise and tradeoffs. Such an integrated approach positively impacts all phases of a building’s life-cycle, including design, construction, operation and decommissioning.

GSA and Sustainable Design

GSA is committed to incorporating principles of sustainable design and energy efficiency into all of its building projects. The result is an optimal balance of cost, environmental, societal and human benefits while meeting the mission and function of the intended facility. It is GSA’s intent that sustainable design will be integrated as seamlessly as possible into the existing design and construction process.


GSA uses the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Green Building Rating System of the U.S. Green Building Council as a tool for evaluating and measuring achievements in sustainable design. The use of LEED® ensures that sustainable strategies are considered in the development of all GSA building projects. GSA has recently increased its minimum requirement for new construction and substantial renovation of Federally-owned facilities to LEED® Gold, the next highest level of certification.  Until recently, GSA had required LEED® Silver.  LEED® consists of a set of prerequisites and credits with specific requirements for obtaining points in order to become a certified green building.

Sustainability Matters

Sustainability Matters is a publication of case studies and best-practices that address GSA’s sustainability initiatives and strategies at all stages of a building’s lifecycle. Sustainability Matters is the first comprehensive overview by a federal agency related to the issues of building, operating and maintaining facilities sustainably.

The shortcut to this page is http://www.gsa.gov/sustainabledesign.


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What are the IECC Commerical Envelope Requirements

2009_iecc_comm_envelope (1) for   all Buildings Other Than:

•One- and two-family residential

•R-2, R-3, R-4 three stories or less in height

What is the Building Thermal Envelope?

  •Roof/Ceiling Assembly

 •Wall Assembly

 •Vertical Fenestration and Skylights

 •Floor Assembly

 •Slab Edge

 •Below Grade Wall Assembly



Green Codes / High Performance Building Codes – IGCC

The INTERNATIONAL GREEN CONSTRUCTION CODE™ public version is avialble for viewing and comment. 


It was developed by the INTERNATIONAL CODE COUNCIL, INC. with the Cooperating Sponsorship of American Institute of Architects and ASTM International.IGCC-PV1



The Emergence of Green Building Codes

ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, will serve as a compliance.

Standard 189.1 is a set of technically rigorous requirements, which covers criteria including water use efficiency, indoor environmental quality, energy efficiency, materials and resource use, and the building’s impact on its site and its community.

“The emergence of green building codes and standards is an important next step for the green building movement, establishing a much-needed set of baseline regulations for green buildings that is adoptable, usable, and enforceable by jurisdictions.

The IGCC provides a vehicle for jurisdictions to regulate green for the design and performance of new and renovated buildings in a manner that is integrated with existing codes as an overlay, allowing all new buildings to reap the rewards of improved design and construction practices.” – – Richard P. Weiland, CEO for ICC.

National Green / High Performance Building Code

The International Green Construction Code (IGCC) is supported by the International Code Council (ICC); the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE); the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC); and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES).

National Green Building Standard(ICC 700-2008)— residential green with ANSI approval, can be used vs. IGCC.

IGCC offers the ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential –  water use efficiency, indoor environmental quality, energy efficiency, materials and resource use, and the building impact.

International Green Construction Code

The International Code Council, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers, the U.S. Green Building Council, and theIlluminating Engineering Society of North America have announced the launch of the International Green Construction Code, representing the merger of two national efforts to develop adoptable and enforceable green building codes. The IGCC provides the building industry with language that both broadens and strengthens building codes in a way that will accelerate the construction of high performance green buildings across the U.S.