• Introduction

    Internationally, code officials recognize the need for a modern, up-to-date code governing the impact of buildings and structures on the environment. This first edition, the 2012 edition, of the International Green Construction CodeTM (IgCCTM), is designed to meet this need through model code regulations that contain clear and specific requirements with provisions that promote safe and sustainable construction in an integrated fashion with the ICC Family of Codes.

    This comprehensive green code establishes minimum regulations for building systems and site considerations using prescriptive and performance-related provisions. It is intended to be an overlay code to be used with, and is fully compatible with, all of the International Codes® (I-Codes®) published by the International Code Council (ICC)®, including the International Building Code®, International Energy Conservation Code®, International Existing Building Code®, International Fire Code®, International Fuel Gas Code®, International Mechanical Code®, ICC Performance Code®, International Plumbing Code®, International Private Sewage Disposal Code®, International Property Maintenance Code®, International Residential Code®, International Swimming Pool and Spa CodeTM, International Wildland-Urban Interface Code® and International Zoning Code®.

    The International Green Construction CodeTM provisions provide many benefits, among which is the model code development process that offers an international forum for building professionals to discuss performance and prescriptive code requirements. This forum provides an excellent arena to debate proposed revisions. This model code also encourages international consistency in the application of provisions.

    This code has been developed in collaboration with the following Cooperating Sponsors: The American Institute of Architects (AIA); ASTM International; the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES); and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). ICC wishes to thank these Cooperating Sponsors for recognizing the need for the development of a comprehensive set of green regulations that are enforceable, usable and adoptable.


    This first edition of the 2012 International Green Construction Code is the culmination of an effort that started in 2010 with the drafting of Public Version 1.0 (PV 1.0) by the Sustainable Building Technology Committee (SBTC) established by the ICC Board of Directors. Following that, Public Version 2.0 was created, based upon public comments submitted to PV 1.0 and approved by the IgCC Public Comment Committee. Following the issuance of PV 2.0, a full cycle of code development in accordance with ICC’s Code Development Procedures was held in 2011. This included the submission of code change proposals followed by a Code Development Hearing, the submission of public comments and a Final Action Hearing. A new edition of the code is promulgated every three years.

    This code is founded on principles intended to establish provisions consistent with the scope of a green construction code that adequately protects public health, safety and welfare; provisions that do not unnecessarily increase construction costs; provisions that do not restrict the use of new materials, products or methods of construction; and provisions that do not give preferential treatment to particular types or classes of materials, products or methods of construction. This is achieved by comprehensive provisions which are enforceable, useable and adoptable.


    The International Green Construction Code is available for adoption and use by jurisdictions internationally. Its use within a governmental jurisdiction is intended to be accomplished through adoption by reference in accordance with proceedings established in the jurisdiction’s laws. At the time of adoption, jurisdictions should insert the appropriate information in provisions requiring specific local information, such as the name of the adopting jurisdiction. These locations are shown in bracketed words in small capital letters in the code and in the sample ordinance. The sample adoption ordinance on page xiii addresses several key elements of a code adoption ordinance, including the information required for insertion into the code text.


    The International Green Construction Code is kept up to date through the review of proposed changes submitted by code enforcing officials, industry representatives, design professionals and other interested parties. Proposed changes are carefully considered through an open code development process in which all interested and affected parties may participate.

    The contents of this work are subject to change both through the Code Development Cycles and the governmental body that enacts the code into law. For more information regarding the code development process, contact the Codes and Standards Development Department of the International Code Council.

    While the development procedure of the International Green Construction Code assures the highest degree of care, the ICC, AIA, ASHRAE, ASTM International, IES and the USGBC and their members and those participating in the development of this code do not accept any liability resulting from compliance or noncompliance with the provisions given herein, for any restrictions imposed on materials or processes, or for the completeness of the text. ICC, AIA, ASHRAE, ASTM International, IES and the USGBC do not have power or authority to police or enforce compliance with the contents of this code. Only the governmental body that enacts the code into law has such authority.

    Note that, for the development of the 2015 edition of the I-Codes, there will be two groups of code development committees and they will meet in separate years. The groupings are as follows:

    Group A Codes
    (Heard in 2012, Code Change Proposals Deadline: January 3, 2012)
    Group B Codes
    (Heard in 2013, Code Change Proposals
    Deadline: January 3, 2013)
    International Building CodeAdministrative Provisions (Chapter 1 all codes except IRC and ICCPC, administrative updates to currently
    referenced standards, and designated definitions)
    International Fuel Gas CodeInternational Energy Conservation Code
    International Mechanical CodeInternational Existing Building Code
    International Plumbing CodeInternational Fire Code
    International Private Sewage
    Disposal Code
    International Green Construction Code
    ICC Performance Code
    International Property Maintenance Code
    International Residential Code
    International Swimming Pool and Spa Code
    International Wildland-Urban Interface Code
    International Zoning Code

    Italicized Terms

    Selected terms set forth in Chapter 2, Definitions, are italicized where they appear in code text. Such terms are not italicized where the definition set forth in Chapter 2 does not impart the intended meaning in the use of the term. The terms selected have definitions which the user should read carefully to facilitate better understanding of the code.