Energy conservation is key to the new ICC-700 standard.

National Green Building Standard Approved

The National Green Building Standard, known as ICC-700, was approved Jan. 29 as an American National Standard. Developed by the International Code Council and the National Association of Home Builders, with broad input from several thousand stakeholders ranging from code officials and other building professionals to the entire spectrum of the green building community, ICC-700 provides guidance for safe and sustainable building practices for residential construction, including both new and renovated single-family to high-rise residential buildings. According to the council, this is the first and only green standard that is consistent and coordinated with ICC's family of I-Codes and standards.

“This is an enormous step forward in bringing focus to green practices for the built environment," said ICC Board President Adolf Zubia. "ICC-700 provides a benchmark for green building in the residential market, serving as a new and needed starting point for comprehensive approaches to green residential construction. This is the result of many months of hard work by our members and our partners around the country.”

Designed to provide a practical route to green, sustainable, and high-performance construction, especially in communities with little if any green/sustainable buildings or guidelines to build green, the standard promotes homeowner education for the maintenance and operation of green residential buildings in order to ensure long-term benefits. The standard’s rating system allows builders, designers and communities to choose the levels of high-performance green buildings that best suit their needs. Key provisions include land conservation, rainwater collection, construction of smaller homes to conserve resources, energy performance, the use of low volatile organic compound (VOC) materials and detached garages or carports to improve indoor environmental quality, and homeowner education on proper maintenance and operation to maintain its green status throughout its life cycle.

"The development of high performance ‘greener’ housing can have a tangible and positive impact on our environment and communities," said ICC CEO Richard P. Weiland. "This new tool for state and local governments fills an important gap to provide a measurable framework for efforts to produce green and sustainable housing. In concert with energy codes such as the International Energy Conservation Code, and rating systems such as the LEED Green Building Rating System, Energy Star, the CHPS Criteria, Green Globes or similar programs, application of ICC-700 can contribute to greater energy, water, and resource efficiency along with reduced long-term costs to consumers and to our planet.”

ICC-700 is available along with related ICC publications through the Code Council Web site at www.iccsafe.org/700.

Training on ICC-700 already is available, including a special session March 23-26 at Codes Forum in New Orleans. Additional training also is available on related topics such as current green building practices and their relationship to the International Codes, overview of the LEED green building rating systems, and developing green building ordinances to help governmental departments and agencies tasked with establishing sustainable building programs.

In addition, ICC is finalizing its Green Building Technologies Certification program for building officials, inspectors, planners, zoning personnel, mayors, city council members, developers and other interested parties. The exams will be available in March. These certifications will demonstrate the ability to understand the application of green building technology and assess adherence with green building programs.

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