(Ed. update 11/20/14: The proposal has been approved and will be added to the 2015 version of IgCC.)
In May, the proposal (GEW 147-14) to incorporate an outcome-based compliance path into the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) passed the International Code Council's committee by a vote of 8-5. This was a significant hurdle to clear for the proposal, which now goes to the membership at large for a vote in mid-October, needing a simple majority of "yeas" to be incorporated into the 2015 version of the IgCC.
GEW 147-14 provides a framework for how to implement outcome-based compliance in individual jurisdictions. It provides suggested Energy Use Intensity (EUI) targets based on ASHRAE's climate zones and on energy data from the 2003 version of the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey database. (The latter provides the most current data, though the 2012 survey data is being compiled and should be available soon.) But jurisdictions can modify those targets as they see fit. Jurisdictions always have the option to adopt EUI numbers they're comfortable with, says Ron Burton, a codes and standards advocacy consultant with PTW Advisors, and a former vice president, codes, standards, and regulatory affairs with BOMA.
The proposal also specifies that buildings must collect 12 continuous months of data some time within the first 36 months of occupancy. If they comply, a final Certificate of Occupancy, to replace a temporary one, can then be issued. If not, recourse is left up to the individual jurisdictions, says Jim Edelson, director of codes and policies for the New Buildings Institute. "Enforcement is left up to code officials," he says. "The city or jurisdiction adopting the ordinances can talk about what is done if there's a violation."
The proposal's flexibility is an important issue to keep in mind: Even if the proposal passes and is incorporated into IgCC, and most experts say it's likely it will, given that it passed committee, it still can be modified to meet individual jurisdictions' needs to smooth implementation. The important thing is that the outcome-based compliance path is there as an option to be used, says Edelson.
— Greg Zimmerman