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International Code Powered By An ASHRAE Standard To Be Released This Year

This article originally appeared in the January 23 edition of the AHR Today Newsletter.


CHICAGO—One green modeling code powered by an ASHRAE standard is expected to strengthen the built industry.

The 2018 International Green Construction Code (IgCC) powered by ANSI/ASHRAE/IES/USGBC Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings, incorporates the 2015 IgCC and Standard 189.1-2017.

The new code creates a consistent message that will help the green code’s adoption, and the uniform document will make a bigger impact, said Wes Sullens, the director of codes and technical development for the U.S. Green Building Council, during ASHRAE’s press breakfast Monday morning at the 2018 AHR Expo.

Sullens called the creation of the code an “historical moment for the green code movement.”

The new IgCC is a good example of cooperation among USGBC, the International Code Council (ICC), American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), said ASHRAE President Bjarne W. Olesen, Ph.D., Fellow ASHRAE. The parties will continue to act as partners through the code development and adoption process.

A Model Code with Technical Provisions

The model code with technical provisions from Standard 189.1 is expected to be released in spring or summer of this year, said David Walls, the executive director of sustainability programs for ICC.

ICC has already received Standard 189.1 and is in the process of putting in administrative provisions to make the model building code adoptable, usable and enforceable, he said.

To help make the code adoptable, the partners will create tools to help jurisdictions adjust to the code. Some of the tools include a user’s manual, code and commentary, certification, education and training and a slideshow.

The IgCC is already adopted in more than 30 places, mostly as a voluntary code, according to Walls.

“Until it gets adopted by jurisdictions, it’s just a book on the shelf,” he said.

Standard 189.1

The updated Standard 189.1–2017 will be included in the 2018 IgCC.

Joe Winters, a principal from HOK Architects who was representing AIA at the press breakfast, said Standard 189.1 will continue to follow the ASHRAE standards appeal process.

Adhering to the standard’s three-year maintenance cycle, IgCC-2018 will incorporate an updated Standard 189.1–2017, which includes 75 addenda and updates to the commissioning process, he said.

Sullens said major changes to Standard 189.1–2017 include:

• Adding resilience to the standard’s scope;

• Requiring electrical infrastructure for EV parking and charging;

• Making all water efficiency requirements mandatory by eliminating performance option; and

• Requiring real-time display of energy use and requiring occupant indoor environmental quality (IEQ) survey.

The updated Standard 189.1–2017 includes provisions for sustainable energy including solar, wind and geothermal; transparency in materials; and resilience, Winters said.

Winters said resiliency will be further developed in the future.

Standard 189.1 was developed to coordinate with IECC and ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, Winters said.

“It’s very important to be coordinated with 90.1 because it’s really the bible of energy conservation,” he said.

Changes and Impact

This will not be the first time several standards are merged into one. In the 2000s, the first edition of the International Building Code merged three region-specific codes into one, Winters said.

“Taking those three codes and making them into one really created a better standard. This is going to do the same thing. It’s going to be better to have one standard instead of two standards,” Winters said.

Another industry segment, lighting, is also preparing for how the unity of codes in this circumstance will propel the industry.

Mark Lien, industry relations manager for IES, said the lighting community has made significant gains in the last 15 years.

A 60 watt incandescent light bulb can now be replaced by a 7.5 watt LED bulb, an 87.5% reduction in energy use, he said. Globally, the market penetration of LED light bulbs is 15%, according to Lien.

With the adoption of a uniform green building code, the lighting industry and other industry segments will be able to continue to make strides toward energy reduction and efficiency.