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Advocacy and policy

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This October it’s pumpkins, shutdown, and green building codes

Published on 10 Oct 2013 Written by Jeremy Sigmon Posted in Advocacy and policy

October is not even 10 days through and it’s already been a great month for greener building codes.  Here are four of this month’s highlights (in reverse chronological order). Thank goodness none of these required any action by the federal government!  One thing seems pretty clear to me: we’re getting a little smarter and more sophisticated about the greening the codes

Oct 10: Rollbacks Defeated & New Ground Gained in 2015-IECC: Code officials once again made great strides for minimum energy efficiency in buildings in their votes to decide the final content of several of the 2015 International Codes, including the IECC – both commercial and residential.  Not every proposal promoted by the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition’s voter guide made it through the eight grueling days of hearings that concluded today, but generally the outcomes were very positive.  I was there for part of the time, but I had NRDC’s energy efficiency advocate, Meg Waltner, sum up the week for me: “The efficiency community is extremely grateful to the forward-looking government representatives who voted against backsliding, and in favor of the energy savings that this code will ensure in buildings for years to come.” My favorite successful proposal, called RE 188, offers residential compliance flexibility for builders through HERS raters while maintaining a strong building envelope. See also, the New Buildings Institute’s Essential 7 commercial building proposals. 

Oct 5: CALGreen Upgrade Offers Clarity & Consistency: California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 341 into law – a victory for the continually improving California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen).  The bill, cosponsored by Assembly members Dickinson and Gordon, was both conceived and actively supported by USGBC California and the California Building Industry Association, among others.  The new law more closely connects state priorities for environmental leadership into the building code, establishes a clearer process for related agencies to contribute content, and integrates helpful cross-references from the green code (part 11) into other parts of the code.  Wes Sullens, Green Building Program Manager at StopWaste.Org of Alameda County and Vice-Chair of the USGBC chapter advocacy coalition, known as USGBC California added, “Now several years into our statewide green building regulatory experiment, we’re excited that this set of functional modifications will help better integrate green building into policy and practice.”

Oct 1: Hudson River Town Approves Home-Grown Green Code: Hastings-on-Hudson, New York is among the few and the brave to have developed, and now approved, a completely home-grown green building code.  The new code applies to both commercial and residential buildings and, at only 20 pages in length, establishes fundamental requirements across the building site, energy, water and materials.  It also includes a set of other measures from which projects must choose to comply.  Mayor Peter Swiderski told me, “A group of volunteer residents spent three years working on this innovative and far-sighted statement of what is in the end a statement of community values. We have created something here that is unique, practical and innovative.  We are proud.”  Read more here.

Oct 1: Dallas Green Building Program Implements IgCC in “Phase 2”: First established in April of 2008, the City of Dallas Green Building Program included two phases of implementation.  Phase 2, which includes a modified version of the International Green Construction Code, is now in its second week of implementation.  Commercial projects can choose LEED or the IgCC as a path to compliance with the code.  Residential projects can choose between LEED, GreenBuilt Texas, or other compliance pathways outlined in the program.  Assistant Director of the City’s Public Works Department Zaida Basora had this to say about this next stage of their green building work: "Thanks to all the great work of the Green Building Task Force and community input and engagement, Phase 2 implementation has started up very smoothly with a lot of public and industry support."  Find out all you need to know in this presentation.

…and we’ve still got 21 October days to go!  What’s next?

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    Jeremy Sigmon made 10 contributions in the last 6 months
  • USGBC

Jeremy Sigmon

Director, Technical Policy U.S. Green Building Council

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