A US National Green Building Code is Underway

Green Building. Image Source: Public domain.

A sign that a country is taking sustainable and green construction seriously is if it starts creating legal documents to further its cause. Such is the effort of the International Green Construction Code, which has recently approved a National Green Building Code in the US after two years of research and development. It will apply to all commercial and residential buildings, whether new or renovated, that are at least three stories high.

The National Green Building Code is the first comprehensive law on green construction in the US and covers all key aspects of architectural design, construction, energy use, water efficiency, waste management, and site aspect among others. The Code represents a serious shift in construction standards toward energy conservation and green construction.

While most local governments and states have already expressed their willingness to adopt the code and have in fact done so, it will not be officially published until March 2012.

Construction designers and construction companies are bound to ask: how does the National Green Building Code differ from the LEED? One significant difference is that LEED is voluntary. While a lot of buildings are constructed in consonance with LEED standards, many buildings don’t.

The new code, on the other hand, has mandatory “floors” standards that must be reached by every residential and commercial building that qualifies. LEED and the code don’t have to clash though. By setting “floors”, LEED can set higher standards that will eventually result in buildings being rewarded for exceeding the minimum standards raised by the National Green Building Code. While the code sets the minimum, the LEED represents the ideal.

Among the mandatory requirements of the national code are the disqualifications of the use of greenfields or undeveloped lands for infrastructure, subject to certain exceptions. In terms of materials, 55% of materials must be based on recycled, recyclable, bio-based, or salvaged content. The building must also have a lifespan of at least 6 years. In terms of energy and water efficiency, there are standards for lighting, sub-metering, mechanical systems, demand-response automation, rainwater storage, and graywater systems. There are also elective choices, at least one of which must be chosen by the green building.

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1 Response to “A US National Green Building Code is Underway”


  1. 1 Mashiur November 16, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Environmentalism is a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservationand improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the concerns of non-human elements


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