Effective Use of the International Green Construction Code
Informative Note: Corresponding ASHRAE 189.1 section numbers have not been included in this Effective Use section but have been included throughout the chapters and appendices of this code.
The International Green Construction Code® (IgCC®) is a model code that provides minimum requirements to safeguard the environment, public health, safety and general welfare through the establishment of requirements that are intended to reduce the negative impacts and increase the positive impacts of the built environment on the natural environment and building occupants. The IgCC is fully compatible with the ICC family of codes, including the International Building Code® (IBC®), the International Code Council Performance Code® (ICCPC®), the International Energy Conservation Code® (IECC®), the International Existing Building Code® (IEBC®), the International Fire Code® (IFC®), the International Fuel Gas Code® (IFGC®), the International Mechanical Code® (IMC®), the International Plumbing Code® (IPC®), the International Private Sewage Disposal Code® (IPSDC®), the International Property Maintenance Code® (IPMC®), the International Residential Code® (IRC®), the International Swimming Pool and Spa Code® (ISPSC®), the International Wildland-Urban Interface Code® (IWUIC®), and the International Zoning Code® (IZC®).
The IgCC addresses site sustainability, water and energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, materials and resources, building commissioning, construction and plans for operations and maintenance for new and certain types of existing buildings, building sites and building materials, components, equipment and systems (see Section 101.3.1). The code will be promulgated on a 3-year cycle to allow for new construction methods and technologies to be incorporated into the code. Innovative approaches and alternative materials, designs, and methods not specifically addressed in this code can be approved by the code official where the proposed innovative approaches or materials, designs or methods comply with the intent of the provisions of the code (see Section 105.4).
The IgCC applies to all occupancies other than single-family dwellings and multifamily dwellings that are three stories or less in height (see Section 101.3.2). See discussion below for additional information in Appendix J for residential construction.
Arrangement and Format of the 2018 IgCC
Before applying the requirements of the IgCC, it is beneficial to understand its arrangement and format.
Chapter Subjects 1 Scope and administration 2 Reserved 3 Definitions, abbreviations and acronyms 4 Reserved 5 Site sustainability 6 Water use efficiency 7 Energy efficiency 8 Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) 9 Materials and resources 10 Construction and plans for operation 11 Normative references Normative Appendix A Climate zones and prescriptive building envelope and duct insulation tables Normative Appendix B Prescriptive equipment efficiency tables for the alternate reduced renewables and increased equipment efficiency approach in Section 701.4.1.1.2 (126.96.36.199.2) Normative Appendix C Performance option for energy efficiency Normative Appendix D Building concentrations Informative Appendix E Building envelope tables Informative Appendix F Integrated design Informative Appendix G Informative references Informative Appendix H Option for energy efficiency using the IECC prescriptive compliance path Informative Appendix I Additional guidance for functional and performance testing (FPT) and the commissioning (Cx) process Informative Appendix J Option for residential compliance using the National Green Building Standard Informative Appendix K Addenda description information Annex 1 Referenced standard reproduction annex—ASHRAE Standard 169
The following is a chapter-by-chapter synopsis of the scope and intent of the provisions of the International Green Construction Code:
Chapter 1 Scope and Administration. Chapter 1 of the IgCC establishes the limits of applicability of the code and describes the manner in which the code is to be applied and enforced. Chapter 1 is divided into two parts: Part 1 – Scope and Application (Sections 101 and 102); and Part 2 – Administration and Enforcement (Sections 103 – 109).
Section 101 identifies which buildings and structures come under its purview and Section 102 references other adopted I-Codes as applicable. Section 103 establishes the duties and powers of the code official, including enforcement and the authority granted to the code official to make inspections. Section 105 provides guidance to the code official in the approval of materials, methods of construction, designs, systems and innovative approaches where they are not specifically prescribed in the IgCC. Section 106 identifies the permitting process.
The provisions of Chapter 1 also establish the rights and privileges of the design professional, contractor and property owner.
The IgCC is intended to be adopted as a legally enforceable document and it cannot be effective without adequate provisions for its administration and enforcement.
Chapter 2 Reserved.
Chapter 3 Definitions, Abbreviations and Acronyms. All terms that are defined in the code are listed alphabetically in Chapter 3. Codes are technical documents and every word, term and punctuation mark can impact the meaning of the code text and the intended results. The code often uses terms that have a unique meaning in the code and that code meaning can differ substantially from the ordinarily understood meaning of the term as used outside of the code. Where a definition is provided for understanding a particular code provision, the term is shown in italics wherever it appears in the code. The generally understood meaning of a term or phrase might not be sufficient or consistent with the meaning prescribed by the code; therefore, it is essential that the codedefined meaning be known.
Definitions are deemed to be of prime importance in establishing the meaning and intent of the code text that uses code-defined terms. The user of the code should be familiar with and consult this chapter because the definitions are essential to the correct interpretation of the code and because the user may not be aware that a term is defined in a manner that is not commonly understood.
Chapter 4 Reserved.
Section 501.3 limits the type of sites that can be built upon and the type of development that can occur.
Section 501.3.1.1 limits building sites to within the envelope of an existing building, brownfield sites, greyfield sites and certain limited types of greenfield sites.
Section 501.3.1.2 limits building development relative to elevation of the 100-year flood, near fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas and near wetlands.
Section 501.3.2 requires predesign site inventory and assessment.
Section 501.3.3 regulates plantings on the site.
Section 501.3.4 contains requirements for stormwater management systems.
Section 501.3.5 requires the mitigation of heat island effect.
Section 501.3.6 addresses light pollution.
Section 501.3.7 addresses transportation impacts.
Section 501.3.8.1 addresses building site waste management.
Section 601.3.1 reduces water use on sites by means of requirements related to landscape design and irrigation system design.
Section 601.3.2 regulates water consumption through limitations of fixture and fitting flow rates and by means of requirements related to specific equipment, appliances and HVAC systems and equipment.
Section 601.3.3 regulates water use in ornamental fountains and water features.
Section 601.3.4 requires water metering/monitoring and data collection.
Where a reclaimed water supply is available or is planned to be available within 5 years, Section 601.3.8 requires the installation of a dual water supply plumbing system wherein reclaimed water is supplied to urinals and water closets.
Chapter 7 Energy Efficiency. Chapter 7 contains requirements related to the effective use of energy in buildings and appliances and to on-site renewable energy systems. Chapter 7 references ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1 and contains many provisions that exceed those in Standard 90.1. It should also be noted that Appendix H is an alternative prescriptive energy compliance path that is built on the prescriptive provisions of the International Energy Conservation Code.
Section 701.2 requires that building projects comply with the mandatory provisions of Section 701.3 and either the prescriptive provisions of Section 701.4 or the performance provisions of Section 701.5.
Section 701.3 contains mandatory provisions that are applicable to both the prescriptive and performance compliance paths. It includes provisions related to air barriers, on-site renewable energy systems, energy consumption management and automated demand response systems.
Section 701.4 contains the prescriptive-based energy compliance path. It includes provisions related to renewable energy systems, the building envelope, HVAC systems, service water heating, power, lighting and various other equipment.
Section 701.5 contains the performance-based energy compliance path. It is based on an annual energy cost concept that builds on Normative Appendix G of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1. Compliance with Normative Appendix C of this code is also required for on-site renewable energy systems in the proposed design. Section 701.5.2 sets maximum annual carbon dioxide equivalent requirements.
Section 801.3 contains mandatory provisions related to indoor air quality, thermal environmental conditions, acoustical control, soil gas control, lighting quality, moisture control and glare control.
Section 801.4 contains prescriptive-based provisions related to indoor environmental quality. It includes requirements for daylighting, material volatile organic compound emissions and contents and lighting for presentations.
Section 801.5 contains performance-based provisions related to indoor environmental quality. It includes requirements for daylight simulation, material VOC emissions and lighting for presentations.
Section 901.2 requires that buildings comply with the mandatory provisions of Section 901.3 and either the prescriptive-based provisions of Section 901.4 or the performance-based provisions of Section 901.5.
Section 901.3 contains mandatory provisions related to the human health and environmental impacts of materials. It includes requirements for construction waste management; the extracting, harvesting and manufacturing of materials; refrigerants; the storage and collection of recyclables and discarded goods and the mercury content levels of lamps.
Section 901.4 contains prescriptive-based requirements related to the human health and environmental impacts of materials. It includes provisions for recycled and salvaged material content, regional materials, biobased products and multiple-attribute product declaration/certification.
Section 901.5 contains performance-based requirements related to the health and environmental impacts of materials. It includes provisions for life-cycle assessment that address performance metrics, procedures and reporting.
Chapter 10 Construction and Plans for Operation. Chapter 10 addresses building commissioning and functional and performance testing during construction and requires plans for the subsequent operation and maintenance of building projects.
Section 1001.3.1.1 regulates the functional and performance testing of building systems.
Section 1001.3.1.2 regulates the building commissioning process.
Section 1001.3.1.3 regulates the documentation of the commissioning process.
Section 1001.3.1.4 regulates erosion and sedimentation control during construction.
Section 1001.3.1.5 regulates indoor air quality during construction.
Section 1001.3.1.6 regulates moisture control during construction.
Section 1001.3.1.7 addresses pollution from the idling of construction vehicles during construction.
Section 1001.3.1.8 addresses contaminant entry into buildings during construction.
Section 1001.3.1.9 requires post-construction testing for radon in buildings.
Section 1001.3.1.10 requires construction waste management during construction.
Section 1001.3.2 requires plans for building project operation. These plans are intended to help and encourage building owners and facility management staff to operate and maintain building projects in a manner, and at a performance level, as was originally intended by this code.
Section 1001.3.2.3 requires that a service life plan be developed for the building project.
Section 1001.3.2.4 requires that a transportation management plan be developed.
Chapter 11 Normative References. The code contains numerous references to standards that are used to regulate materials and methods of construction. Chapter 11 contains a comprehensive list of all standards that are referenced in the code. The standards are part of the code to the extent of the reference to the standard (see Sections 102.4, 102.4.1 and 102.4.2). Compliance with the referenced standard is necessary for compliance with this code. By providing specifically adopted standards, the construction and installation requirements necessary for compliance with the code can be readily determined. The basis for code compliance is, therefore, established and available on an equal basis to the code official, contractor, designer and owner.
Chapter 11 is organized in a manner that makes it easy to locate specific standards. It lists all of the referenced standards, alphabetically, by acronym of the promulgating agency of the standard. Each agency’s standards are then listed in either alphabetical or numeric order based on the standard identification. The list also contains the title of the standard; the edition (date) of the standard referenced; any addenda included as part of the ICC adoption of the IgCC; and the section or sections of this code that reference the standard.
In the IgCC, the technical content is based on Standard 189.1, including the appendices. These appendices are identified in two categories:
• Normative appendices. As noted in Section 101.4.3, where a normative appendix is referenced in the code, it is considered part of the mandatory provisions of the code.
• Informative appendices. As noted in Section 101.4.4, these appendices provide additional information but are not mandatory provisions and therefore are not part of the code.
Normative Appendix A Climate Zones and Prescriptive Building Envelope and Duct Insulation Tables. This appendix is referenced in the definition of “climate zone” and Sections 701.4.2.1, 701.4.2.2 and 701.4.3.9. This appendix includes a mandatory reference to ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 169 to determine the applicable climate zone to be used in conjunction with Chapter 7 and includes minimum roof and duct insulation values.
Normative Appendix B Prescriptive Equipment Efficiency Tables for the Alternate Reduced Renewables and Increased Equipment Efficiency Approach in Section 701.4.1.1.2 (188.8.131.52.2). This appendix is referenced in Sections 701.4.1.1.2, 701.4.3.1, 701.4.4.1, 701.4.7.1 and 701.4.7.3.2. This appendix provides mandatory equipment efficiency information for the different types of mechanical equipment utilized for heating and cooling.
Normative Appendix C Performance Option for Energy Efficiency. This appendix is referenced in Section 701.5.1. This appendix provides a mandatory reference to ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1 for modeling requirements for on-site renewable energy systems and the required information to perform building performance calculations.
Normative Appendix D Building Concentrations. This appendix is referenced in Section 801.5.2. This appendix provides mandatory criteria to estimate building concentrations of materials for individual VOC concentrations.
Informative Appendix E Building Envelope Tables. As an informative appendix, this appendix is not referenced in the body of the code and is therefore not part of the code. This appendix provides R-values for common building assemblies such as roofs, walls, floors and doors. It also includes common fenestration values for glazed areas.
Informative Appendix F Integrated Design. As an informative appendix, this appendix is not referenced in the body of the code and is therefore not part of the code. This appendix provides details and concepts on the need for early collaboration in order to increase the predictability of project outcomes as early as possible in the design phase of the project. See Chapter 3 definition for “integrated design process.”
Informative Appendix G Informative References. Even though this is an informative appendix, it is cited in Sections 101.4.2, 701.5.1 and 701.5.2, as well as Appendices B and C. However, as an informative appendix, it is not part of the code. This appendix includes potentially useful source documents that may be consulted.
Informative Appendix H Option for Energy Efficiency Using the IECC Prescriptive Compliance Path. As an informative appendix, this appendix is not referenced in the body of the code and is therefore not part of the code. This appendix provides an option for prescriptive energy compliance that is based on requirements in the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). This approach allows the use of the prescriptive provisions of the IECC without directly relying on the energy provisions of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1.
Appendix H includes provisions related to renewable energy systems, the building envelope, HVAC systems, service water heating, power, lighting and various other equipment.
Informative Appendix I Additional Guidance for Functional and Performance Testing (FPT) and the Commissioning (Cx) Process. As an informative appendix, this appendix is not referenced in the body of the code and is therefore not part of the code. This appendix provides guidance on best practices for performance testing and commissioning. See Chapter 3 definitions for “functional and performance testing (FPT)” and “commissioning (Cx) process.”
Informative Appendix J Option for Residential Compliance Using the National Green Building Standard. This appendix is cited in an informative note in Section 101.3. As an informative appendix, this appendix is not referenced in the body of the code and is therefore not part of the code. This appendix provides an option for residential compliance using the National Green Building Standard. The provisions in the appendix are mandatory only when specifically adopted. The provisions can be adopted in total or by individual section(s) at the discretion of the authority having jurisdiction.
Informative Appendix K Addenda Description Information. As an informative appendix, this appendix is not referenced in the body of the code and is therefore not part of the code. This appendix provides the roadmap of approved addenda to the 2014 edition of Standard 189.1 which resulted in the 2017 edition of Standard 189.1 which forms the technical content for this code. As can be seen by the list, there were 75 addenda to the 2014 edition.
2018 International Green Construction Code