In November 2011, the US got a national green building code for the first time when the International Green Construction Code approved it.
The historic code sets mandatory baseline standards for all aspects of building design and construction, including energy and water efficiency, site impacts, building waste, and materials.
The changes represent the largest single-step efficiency increase in the history of the national energy code. It requires homes and buildings to achieve energy savings 30% higher than the 2006 code.
The final code will be published in March, and many local and state governments have begun to officially adopt it.
Illinois is on track to be the first state in the Midwest to adopt the code, which would require new homes to pass a blower door test and meet rigorous new standards for air tightness and insulation, reports Dan Haugen in The Energy Collective.
The state will finalize the new building code this summer and implement it early next year.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 requires states to review and consider adopting the most current building codes, but doesn't mandate them. The east and west coast are ahead of the Midwest on this - some states don't even have energy codes, leaving it to local governments to decide, and others haven't been updated since 2006 or earlier, says Haugen.
Several non-profits worked together to pass the Illinois Energy Efficient Building Act, which requires the state to adopt the latest version of the international code within a year of its publication.
Still, implementing the code isn't so easy, since homebuilder associations are fighting it. They say it will add to construction costs and members don't have the skills needed. Some municipal governments are against it because they're the ones that have to enforce the law.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is putting on 30 multi-day trainings across the state as it prepares to implement 2012 IEBC rules.
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