A BRIEF BACKGROUND ON "CODES" AND WHERE "GREEN BUILDING" GOT ITS START​

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson each wished to have the creation of building regulations. The idea was to provide a minimum standard to guarantee the well-being and safety of the public would not be compromised, especially due to lack of stable and secure building structures. As modern America progressed, most of the country became covered by a network of building regulations and codes ranging from fire and structural safety to health, security and conservation of energy. 

​​In the 1900's, model building codes were created by the code officials within various communities. They had key aid from all sectors of the building industry. Today, programs in cities, counties and states in the U.S. have codes that are the central regulatory basis.
                                                                               
1991 In Austin, Texas, USA

​“The first official green home building program in the USA began in 1991 in the city of Austin, Texas. The movement has grown slowly but surely since then and today, new homes are significantly more energy and resource efficient than they were. A past survey of National Association of Home Builder members showed that more than two-thirds are incorporating at least some of these green features into the homes they build - and that as the home building industry continues to revive, it will be significantly greener.”

​1994 Building Codes  

​​Since 1994, the International Codes, or I-Codes, have served as models for almost all state and local codes in the United States.  The 2012 edition of the I-Codes includes several landmark advances to increase energy efficiency in buildings.

​​Not only does the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) include new and higher standards for almost every component in the building envelope, but these standards are further increased in the new International Green Construction Code (IGCC), which is intended to serve as an “above the code” standard for sustainable buildings.

​Although the significant advancement in energy efficiency in the 2012 I-Codes is considered to be beneficial by energy experts, the number of new options available may be confusing to home builders and the general public.

​​The fact that there were two parallel energy codes — one in the IRC, and one in the IECC — was confusing to many builders. While the two codes were aligned on most matters, they occasionally conflicted, further adding to confusion. The 2012 code revisions have simplified the situation.   Now the IRC simply references the requirements of the IECC, residential builders have only one option.

​​The 2012 International Energy Conservation Code will require more insulation, a tighter envelope, tighter ducts, better windows, and more efficient lighting than the 2009 code. Although the significant advancement in energy efficiency in the 2012 I-Codes is considered to be beneficial by energy experts, the number of new options available may be confusing to the general public.

​​With the 2009 American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) approval of the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard, builders, remodelers, and homebuyers now have a clear definition of green residential construction and a credible certification to that standard by a qualified third party.
 
Here is a summary of the important changes for residential builders in the 2012 International codes:

          ​•  While the 2009 codes required that 50% of lighting fixtures in a new home to be so-called “high-efficacy” fixtures
             ​(fixtures using a CFL's or equivalent), the percentage has been raised to 75% in the new code. 

     ​     •  Duct tightness requirements have become more stringent.

          ​​•  Blower-door testing requirements have become mandatory and more stringent.

​          ​•  All homes in zones 3 through 8, and some homes in zones 1 and 2, will be required to have a whole-house mechanical
             ​ventilation system (Austin, Texas is in Zone 2). 

          ​•  In many climate zones, window glazing U-factor and solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) requirements
            ​  have been changed.

          ​•  Wall insulation requirements have become more stringent.

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