Illinois Will Be First Midwest State to Adopt Historic Green Building Code

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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Comments on “Illinois Will Be First Midwest State to Adopt Historic Green Building Code”

  1. Codeman

    It is the green code that will be published in March and it requires plants in all offices. Showers to be installed in all existing buildings to accommodate bicyclers. It requires apartments to be wired so that the energy use can be monitored by the Utility Company, and anyone else who has the ability to monitor when you are home and not home. It requires metering of all water used in your home or business, if you collect rainwater it will have to be metered also. This is the Green Construction Code. Save the planet – loose you privacy.

  2. Rona Fried

    Reaching 30% greater efficiency is actually pretty easy in new construction – it’s about much thicker walls, higher levels of insulation and efficient appliances, and it sure helps to orient buildings south to get passive solar gain, which heats the home. It’s not about plants in offices, althought they do clean the air, and although having bike racks available is great because it relieves traffic congestion and cleans the air, that’s not an essential part of the code. Energy management isn’t about being monitored by the utility, it’s about giving the homeowner more information about your energy consumption so you can control it and thus reduce it. It actually gives people more freedom – in the past, buildings have been constructed for the developer’s profit – they use cheap materials without a thought for the environment or peoples’ health.


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