ICC, IBC, IgCC, IECC, ASHRAE, LEED…what do they all mean?

Saturday August 31, 2013

By Christophor Jurin

Anyone who is involved in the construction industry or do-it-yourself roof projects, no matter how slight, has undoubtedly heard these acronyms being thrown around. With the new IgCC Green Building Code bringing major changes to building codes and guidelines it more important to understand how the different agencies affect building standards and how they are involved in setting construction guidelines and codes as well as standards for energy efficiency and "green" building concepts.

Construction Code Books

ASHRAE - American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers

ASHRAE is an association comprised of engineers who develop standards for building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality and sustainability within the industry. ASHRAE however does not develop "building codes" per say. ASHRAE instead sets "standards and practices" from which ICC tends to follow as a guide in the development of their I-Codes.

ICC - International Code Council

ICC is an association of construction industry based members that develop standards used in the design, build, and compliance process to ensure safe, sustainable and affordable construction, referred to as I-Codes. These codes are part of the ICC's extensive library of publications which includes IECC (International Energy Conservation Code) and IEBC (International Existing Building Code). The ICC codes are generally based on the ASHRAE standards and guidelines.

LEED - Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

LEED, is a voluntary program established by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) in 1993 to promote sustainable building practices. The LEED program is based on a ratings system that measures the sustainability and energy efficiency of buildings. Buildings receive points based on satisfying certain requirements which are geared toward different methods of green building practices. A building can then be "LEED Certified" giving the building owner certain benefits such as increased value, liability reduction, energy savings as well as the possibility of tax credits and other incentives.

IgCC 2012

IgCC is a model code developed by the International Code Council (ICC) in conjunction with other organizations such as AIA, ASHRAE and the USGBC. It is intended to serve as a baseline for local jurisdictions wishing to adopt "green" code requirements defining the sustainability of buildings and building sites.

These new codes address building energy conservation, water efficiency, building owner responsibilities, site impacts, building waste, and materials. In a lot of ways the IgCC codes follow the LEED standards, so if you are familiar with LEED you should already have a good idea of what the IgCC is all about.

The main difference between the LEED standards and IgCC is that the IgCC contains mandatory provisions unlike LEED which is strictly voluntary. Have you installed any LEED initiatives in your home or building?

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