Building Codes: Driving Growth through Innovation, Resilience and Safety

Resilient and energy efficient building were once thought to be the elite ways to construct a new structure. Today, it is the standard way to build for communities that want to grow and proper and be safe.

The International Code Council Family of Companies has several resources available to assist jurisdictions, manufacturers and the public with these building practices. For decades, ICC’s codes and standards have addressed resilient and energy-related issues and we remain committed to working with Member Jurisdictions and industry partners to bring the right building products and practices to market, labeling new homes and structures as more efficient, and spreading the word about the need for wiser resource usage and building resilient structures.

Creating a resilient nation requires diligent planning and innovative thinking.  Incorporating new technologies in current building practices to achieve higher resiliency is exciting but can be expensive.  Thankfully, effectively utilizing current codes and standards throughout all phases of the building’s lifecycle increases the efficacy of new building technologies and offers a cost effective path toward community stability during times of disaster.  Resilience starts with strong, regularly updated, and properly implemented building codes.

Resilience is…

Efficient Disaster Mitigation & Recovery

  • Provisions in the I-Codes address disaster preparedness and recovery – from how and where to build in flood plains to constructing buildings that can better withstand natural and manmade disasters.
  • Codes are cost-effective, too. A study for FEMA done by the National Institute of Building Sciences’ Multihazard Mitigation Council showed that for every dollar spent on mitigation efforts like adopting current codes, four dollars were saved in post-disaster relief costs.

Ensuring Mental & Physical Health and Wellbeing

  • Provisions in the I-Codes address mental and physical health and well-being from dealing with sanitation and pest control to designing buildings that respond to the latest science on mood and mental health.

Improving Building Life Cycles

  • Provisions in the I-Codes enable changes to the systems inside the building or even the structure itself at some point after its initial construction and occupation including repair, alteration, change of occupancy, addition to and relocation of existing buildings.
  • As communities change, so do the buildings they use. Updated codes allow buildings to adapt, keeping a sense of continuity while also reducing blight from outdated, unused buildings.

Creating a Sustainable Community

  • Provisions in the I-Codes include sustainability measures for the entire construction project and its site making buildings more efficient and less economically and environmentally wasteful.
  • Building sustainably has effects that go beyond the walls and into the community – for example, car charging stations make it easier to own eco-friendly vehicles and smart grid demand response systems lower energy prices for the consumer and increase grid stability for the surrounding area.

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Introduction to Resilience and the Building Codes


International Green Construction Code® (IgCC®) – This was the first model code to include sustainability and resilience measures for an entire construction project and its site—from design, through construction, certificate of occupancy and beyond. The IgCC establishes a baseline for new and existing commercial buildings related to energy conservation, water efficiency, site impacts, building waste, material resource efficiency and other sustainability measures. While establishing such minimum requirements for buildings, the IgCC®  also offers flexibility to jurisdictions that adopt the code by establishing several levels of compliance; starting with the core provisions of the code, and then offering jurisdictional requirement options that can be customized to fit the needs of a local community. The code acts as an overlay to the existing set of International Codes, including provisions of the International Energy Conservation Code®  and ICC-700 National Green Building Standard, and incorporates ASHRAE Standard 189.1 as an alternate path to compliance.

Future of the IGCC

ICC and ASHRAE have signed the final agreement that outlines each organization's role in the development and maintenance of the new version of the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) sponsored by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), ASHRAE, ICC, the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The code, scheduled to be released in 2018, will be powered by ANSI/ASHRAE/ICC/IES/USGBC Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High-Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings developed using the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved ASHRAE consensus process. The joint Standing Standards Project Committee 189.1 will serve as the consensus body that will work to ensure the standard is consistent and coordinated with the ICC Family of Codes.

IECCInternational Energy Conservation Code®  (IECC®)

Sets minimum energy efficiency provisions for both residential and commercial buildings. The IECC covers new construction, additions, remodeling, window replacement and repairs of specified buildings with each implementing the green construction code that will make a contribution toward a healthier, lower impact and more sustainable building practices. Users of the code can choose between two methods for showing compliance, the prescriptive and performance paths.

2015IEBC-coverInternational Existing Building Code® (IEBC®)

Contains requirements intended to encourage the use and reuse of existing buildings. The scope covers repair, alteration, addition and change of occupancy for existing buildings and historic buildings, while achieving appropriate levels of safety without requiring full compliance with the new construction requirements contained in the other I-Codes.

2015NGBS-coverICC 700-2015 National Green Building Standard

Provides guidance for safe and sustainable building practices for residential construction, including both new and renovated single-family to high-rise residential buildings. This standard allows builders, designers and communities to choose the levels of high-performance green buildings with the following key provisions:

  • Land conservation
  • Rainwater collection
  • Construction of smaller homes to conserve resources
  • Use of low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) materials, detached garages or carports to improve indoor environmental quality
  • Homeowner education on proper maintenance and operation to maintain its green status throughout its life cycle

The standard also promotes homeowner education for the maintenance and operation of green residential buildings in order to ensure long-term benefits.

2015 International Plumbing Code3200S15_IPC_sm® (IPC®)

Incorporates innovative technologies including waterless urinals and detailed engineered designs that permit the installation of smaller, more precise water usage and water drainage systems, resulting in the savings of millions of gallons of water which helps communities be more resilient in the face of droughts.

3100S15_IRC_md-4002015 International Residential Code® (IRC®)

Contains many water efficiency provisions that are noted in the IPC. The provisions in the IRC for collecting, storing, and using various types of no-potable water recognize the growing need for water conservation and the increase in the development of water conservation programs in many regions of the United States.

2015ICCPC-coverICC Performance Code for Buildings and Facilities® (ICCPC®)

Presents users with regulations based on outcome, rather than prescription. This indispensable resource provides a broader parameter for meeting the intent of the International Codes, thereby encouraging new design methods. Promotes innovative, flexible and responsive solutions that optimize the expenditure and consumption of resources while preserving social and economic value.

2015IPMC-coverICC Property Maintenance Code® (IPMC®)

The IPMC is an essential tool for improving public health. It addresses important issues like urban blight, pest elimination, and sanitary garbage disposal to create cleaner and healthier communities.

Adoption Resources

Ensure your community is using the latest codes with the latest water conservation and efficiency best practices.  These sample ordinances will provide you the templates that will help you!

Additional tools to help you advance this important cause:

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Support Publications and Products

Additional related publications and products that can assist users in applying the codes and standards are:

Code and Commentaries

Presented in an easy-to-reference format, the IgCC® and IECC®  Code and Commentaries are a comprehensive and convenient reference for regulations in the International Green Construction Code and the International Energy Conservation Code. These publications focus on providing the full meaning and implications of the codes and are designed to suggest the most effective method of application of the code provisions.

International Energy Conservation Code®

Energy Code Essentials, 2015 edition®

Provides an easy-to-read companion guide to the IECC® for both beginning and experienced code users and accurate information on critical energy code applications in the office and in the field for residential and commercial construction.

International Energy Conservation Code Turbo Tabs

These tabs were created by industry experts who carefully identified the most referenced sections in the code in an easy-to-read format.

International Green Construction Code®

ICC G4-2012 Guideline for Commissioning

Helps the building compliance and design communities to successfully implement the building commissioning process as mandated in the 2012 International Green Construction Code (IgCC) and International Energy Conservation Code. The guideline supports the adoption and application of the IgCC and its alternate compliance paths ASHRAE 189.1 and ICC 700-2008 National Green Building Standard, as well as regional green building codes such as CALGreen.

International Green Construction Code Water Efficiency Provisions

This document consists of provisions extracted directly from the International Green Construction Code™ (IgCC™) and is designed for ease of access to its water-related provisions. The IgCC Water Efficiency Provisions document offers one of the most comprehensive model code for constructing and remodeling buildings in order to reduce water consumption. It promotes water conservation associated with both the building and the building site. These provisions address systems and components including, but not limited to: plumbing fixtures and fittings, appliances, hot water delivery systems, meters, cooling towers, water treatment systems, alternate water supplies (including rainwater, gray water, and reclaimed water), landscape irrigation systems and car washes.

International Solar Energy Provisions™

International Solar Energy Provisions

The 2015 International Solar Energy Provisions™ (ISEP™) contains the complete solar-energy-related provisions and selected standards from the 2015 International Codes® (2015 I-Codes) in one document to address the needs of the solar energy industry. The ISEP is organized such that it provides the best and most comprehensive tool for the design, installation and administration of both solar thermal (or solar heating and cooling) and photovoltaic systems.

International Solar Energy Provisions and Commentary

Provides a convenient reference for regulations in the 2015 International Solar Energy Provisions™. It includes: all I-Code solar energy provisions with commentary after each section; ICC-SRCC Standards 100, 300 and 600; and the solar energy provisions from NFPA 70: 2014 NEC®.

ICC 900/SRCC 300-2015: Solar Thermal System Standard

This standard establishes minimum criteria for the design and installation of solar thermal systems. It describes the requirements and methodology for solar thermal system design and evaluation.

ICC 901/SRCC 100-2015: Solar Thermal Collector Standard

This standard establishes minimum criteria for the design, manufacture and testing of solar thermal collectors. It addresses a wide range of solar thermal collectors, including flat panel, evacuated tube, concentrating, integrated storage and unglazed.

Home Energy Efficiency Rating Systems

ANSI/RESNET/ICC 301-2014: Standard for the Calculation and Labeling of the Energy Performance of Low-Rise Residential Buildings using an Energy Rating Index

This standard provides a consistent, uniform methodology for evaluating and labeling the energy performance of residences. The methodology compares the energy performance of an actual home with the energy performance of a reference home of the same geometry, resulting in a relative energy rating called the Energy Rating Index. Where the energy performance of the actual home and the reference home are equal, the Energy Rating Index is 100 and where the actual home requires no net purchased energy annually, the Energy Rating Index is 0 (zero).

ANSI/RESNET/ICC 380-2016: Standard for Testing Airtightness of Building Enclosures, Airtightness of Heating and Cooling Air Distribution Systems, and Airflow of Mechanical Ventilation Systems

This Standard provides a consistent, uniform methodology for evaluating the airtightness of building envelopes and heating and cooling air ducts, and the airflows of mechanical ventilation systems. These test procedures can be used as building diagnostics, in quality assurance and control, for determining compliance with codes and standards, and to determine input to energy simulations and ratings. The Standard recognizes some test procedures are easier to perform depending on house and HVAC system characteristics, and different codes and standards have specific testing requirements. Therefore, the Standard presents several alternative approaches for each measurement to allow flexibility in application of the standard.

Rainwater Harvesting and Landscape Irrigation Standards

The Rainwater Collection System Design Consensus Committee (IS-RCSDI) was appointed by the ICC Board of Directors in collaboration with CSA in late 2013 and has primary responsibility for the development of the Rainwater Collection System Design and Installation Standard.

ICC and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers released the new Landscape Irrigation Sprinkler and Emitter Standard to classify sprinkler and drip irrigation systems, set uniform testing procedures, and establish minimum design and performance requirements for commercial and residential landscape irrigation components.

Pool Solar Heating and Cooling Standard

This Pool Solar Heating and Cooling Standard is being developed through the Code Council, Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (ICC-SRCC) and the APSP. The consensus committee was appointed by the ICC Board of Directors in July 2015.

ICC Education for IgCC and IECC

Expert training from ICC is available both online and on location and provides CEU credit for renewal of certifications. These programs include:

  • IgCC Fundamentals
  • IECC Update
  • IECC Significant Changes
  • IECC Performing Residential Energy Plan Reviews
  • IECC Performing Residential Energy Inspections
  • IECC Fundamentals
  • Plus training on all I-Codes, Standards and Best Practices

Complete descriptions of education programs are available online at

ICC Certification Services

The Code Council certification program is the oldest, largest and most prestigious credentialing program for construction code administration and enforcement professionals in the United States. Code Council certification examinations are maintained to the highest standards and include continuous review by committees of experienced professionals. Becoming Code Council-certified is a significant personal and professional accomplishment, and is a key step toward enhanced professional stature.

The Code Council offers these Energy and Green related certifications:

Energy Conservation Certification

  • Commercial Energy Inspector
  • Commercial Energy Plans Examiner
  • Residential Energy Inspector/Plans Examiner
  • Commercial Energy Inspector/Plans Examiner with ASHRAE 90.1

Green Building Certification

  • Green Code IgCC Inspector/Plans Examiner with ASHRAE 189.1
  • G1 Green Building—Residential Examiner

ICC — Additional Benefits

Online Discussion Boards

ICC offers online discussion boards through the ICC website for users to discuss questions and issues related to the IECC and IgCC.  Go to

Sustainability Membership Council

Open to all ICC Members who are looking to get more involved in green and energy code enforcement and influence the direction of ICC.  An application for membership and more information about the Sustainability Membership Council is available at

The ICC Family of Companies

There are three ICC subsidiaries that support the green, sustainable and energy fields and are dedicated to the construction of safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures:

ICC-Evaluation Service (ICC-ES) Environmental Programs

evaluation-serviceICC-ES is the leader in the technical evaluations of building products, components, methods and materials. In response to the increased demand for the evaluation of "green" building products, ICC-ES developed the Environmental Programs that provides manufacturers with independent and comprehensive evaluation and/or certification for their products that meet specific sustainability targets. We offer the following services under the ICC-ES VAR Environmental Report and Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) Programs:

ICC-ES VAR Environmental Reports

Evaluation of assemblies for compliance with the provisions of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), the ICC-ES VAR Environmental Program creates reports that are used by code officials, government agencies, architects, engineers, specifiers and many others as an independent, third-party assessment of a product or assembly.  ICC-ES VAR evaluates products to green building codes such as:

  • International Green Construction Code (IgCC)
  • California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen)
  • ASHRAE 189.1


Evaluates products to green building rating systems and standards such as:

  • S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
  • Green Building Initiative's GBI-01 Green Building Assessment Protocol for Commercial Buildings Standard
  • ICC700-2012 National Green Building Standard

ICC-ES EPD Program

Conducts a Type III environmental declaration program that certifies a manufacturer's EPD as conforming to the requirements of the ISO 14025 Environmental Declaration standard.

IAS Accreditation (IAS) Programs

PrintA nonprofit, internationally recognized accreditation body which accredits a wide range of companies and organizations including; governmental entities, commercial businesses and professional associations. IAS offers multiple programs that accredit organizations whose services may be used by businesses and regulators engaged in providing energy-efficient, sustainable infrastructure. It is committed to facilitate the needs of industry and regulators by identifying energy-related and sustainability standards and by offering accreditation under these “green” standards to testing laboratories and inspection agencies. Recognizing that environmental issues were becoming increasingly important in the construction industry, IAS’s green initiatives convened a “Green” forum in conjunction with the public hearings of the IAS Accreditation Committee. The forum was used to launch an initiative to address environmental concerns and to benefit the organizations that IAS accredits, the construction industry and manufacturers who need independent verification that their products, services and systems truly meet sustainable standards.

IAS offers accreditation for the following sustainable, green and environmental programs:

Solar Rating & Certification Corporation (SRCC)

ICC-SRCC_Vert_RGB_HomepgThe only national certification program established solely for solar thermal products. It is also the only national certification organization whose programs are the direct result of the combined efforts of state organizations and an industry association involved in the administration of standards. SRCC will allow manufacturers to get renewable energy products into the marketplace quickly with wide acceptance by code officials who recognize the ICC-ES and SRCC marks. Products are evaluated to the requirements of the Uniform Solar Energy Code, the International Plumbing Code and the International Green Construction Code for solar thermal products and systems that are SRCC certified and rated. SRCC programs ensure that the products comply in jurisdictions throughout the United States.

ICC Co-Leading Effort to Create Nation's First Whole-Community Resilience Metric

ICC is co-leading the effort to organize an inclusive nationwide coalition to create and develop the country’s first Whole-Community Resilience Metric. From building science to education and healthcare to finance, a Resilience Metric for the whole community should reflect the strengths and weaknesses of that community, its trajectory, and its ability to positively respond to and rapidly recover from disruptive events. ICC supports the creation of a neutrally-facilitated, stakeholder-driven, collaborative process that creates a practical and useful structure that incentivizes resilience action by America’s communities.

Creation of a national community resilience metric requires broad engagement of stakeholders with strong equity in America’s communities.  ICC and its partners plan to engage stakeholders from different industries and different political persuasions. From commercial real estate to environmental advocates, ICC hopes to make this deliverable as palatable, constructive, and inclusive as possible.

Current Coalition Partners include:














To learn more about this project, please contact ICC’s Director of Resilience Initiatives, Bryan Soukup, at

About ICC

The International Code Council is a member-focused association. It is dedicated to developing model codes and standards used in the design, build and compliance process to construct safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures. Most U.S. communities and many global markets choose the International Codes.

Our vision: Protect the health, safety and welfare of people by creating safe buildings and communities.

Our mission: To provide the highest quality codes, standards, products and services for all concerned with the safety and performance of the built environment.

For more information visit: / 888-ICC-SAFE (422-7233)