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Smart Growth

International Code Council's 2012 International Green Construction Code (IgCC)

Description A model code that contains minimum requirements for increasing the environmental and health performance of buildings' sites and structures. Generally, it applies to the design and construction of all types of buildings except single- and two-family residential structures, multifamily structures with three or fewer stories, and temporary structures.

Learn more about the International Green Construction Code.Exit
Standard Type1
  • Model code
Mandatory/ Voluntary2
  • Mandatory
Building Type(s)
  • Commercial: all
  • Industrial: all but manufacturing systems and equipment
  • Mixed use: all
  • Residential: multifamily with more than three stories
Project Types
  • New construction
  • Additions
  • Alterations
Subject Areas
  • Sustainable sites
  • Energy efficiency
  • Water efficiency
  • Materials and resource use
  • Indoor environmental quality
  • Emissions
  • Operations and maintenance
Community Adoption/Use
  • Designed to be incorporated into a jurisdiction's codes and ordinances and function as an overlay to other International Code Council model codes.
  • Requires adoption by a governing jurisdiction before it becomes mandatory.
  • Jurisdictions that do not have other International Code Council codes in place might want to make a detailed review of local building ordinances to ensure that they adequately correlate with this code.
  • In addition to the mandatory requirements, IgCC offers jurisdictions a range of options for increasing the stringency of the code or encouraging improved levels of performance in areas of particular importance to the community.
Certification/Compliance Process
  • Designed to be incorporated into a jurisdiction's codes and ordinances and enforced by building officials and inspectors.
  • All provisions of the model code are designed to be mandatory, except those the jurisdiction indicates are not applicable or those designated as project electives. Project electives give jurisdictions the flexibility to encourage the consideration and implementation of beneficial practices without making those particular practices mandatory.
Relationship to Other Standards
  • ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1-2011, Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings (ASHRAE 189.1) is an alternate compliance path to IgCC; i.e., in jurisdictions that adopt IgCC, a builder has the option to design and construct a building in accordance with the provisions of ASHRAE 189.1 rather than those of IgCC.
  • IgCC provides jurisdictions with options for mandating that residential structures comply with the National Green Building Standard (ICC 700).
  • IgCC is designed to coordinate and integrate with the family of International Code Council codes.
  • Some provisions reference standards published by other organizations, e.g., ASTM International, National Science Foundation, and South Coast Air Quality Management District.

¹ In the building community, there is no consistent use or definition of the term "standard." EPA uses the term "standard" here in a broad sense to mean "something established by authority, custom, or general consent as a model or example: CRITERION" (Merriam-Webster). EPA uses it as an umbrella term to encompass model codes, rating systems, and other publications that provide criteria for the design, construction, and maintenance of buildings.

² Any standard can be adopted as a voluntary or mandatory program. We indicate here the intent of the authors.

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