Tool 3 | Renewable Energy in the IgCC

Approved GEW-133-14 AMPC and GEW-137-14


Over the past several years, onsite renewable energy systems have been evolving and are being deployed at an increasing rate that exceeds the ability of construction codes to keep pace. The 2015 International Code Council family of codes is addressing this need by updating and coordinating enforceable code requirements for the safe installation of onsite renewable energy systems:

  • 2015 International Building Code (IBC)
    • Commercial code revised to include references to structural aspects of the installation of on-site renewable energy systems and clear pointers to fire and electrical safety considerations in the IFC.
  • 2015 International Residential Code (IRC)
    • One and two family residential code revised to establish a new section for renewable energy systems that is formatted to allow expansion to new technologies along with updated fire, electrical and structural provisions.
  • 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC)
    • Commercial and residential energy codes clarified to include on-site renewable energy systems as an option and provides installation references to the IBC, IFC and IRC, as applicable.
  • 2015 International Fire Code (IFC):
    • Fire code revised to reflect most updated measures to insure safe installation from a fire and electrical perspective.

Next Steps

The Final Action Hearings have concluded with the last step being  electronic voting through October 29.

Explanation of GEW-133-14 Public Comment

The published 2012 IgCC Section 610 presents a mandatory requirement for an onsite renewable system. However, due to technical updates in the 2015 IBC, 2015 IRC, 2015 IFC and 2015 IECC, the section needs a major reorganization, update, and correlation with underlying codes.

GEW133-14 Public Comment represents a consolidation and clarification of the current, confusing IgCC section for on-site renewable energy systems. At the ICC Spring Committee Hearings this proposal was narrowly disapproved. As stated in the 2014 Report of the Committee Action Hearings Results, “The committee acknowledged that the provisions of Section 610 need improvement. GEW 133 had more committee members (lost by only 1 vote) feel that it provided the better foundation for the next code.”

GEW-133-14 Public Comment reflects a comprehensive revision to the section, based on committee comments, stakeholder testimony and newly approved and published 2015 code revisions for building, energy, fire, building and electrical code compliance for a variety of renewable energy systems. Companion changes to this Section 610 rewrite are included for Chapter 2 Definitions: onsite renewable energy systems, renewable energy credits, and renewable energy sources.

Most importantly, in order to assure maximum flexibility and design choice, three exceptions are granted, including the use of Renewable Energy Credits (RECS) as an alternate method to meet the onsite renewable energy system requirement under certain specific building and associated site conditions. An enforceable REC qualification is added. This Public Comment provides maximum flexibility by incorporating multiple types of on-site renewable energy systems, such as photovoltaic solar, solar thermal, wind, geothermal, biomass or biogas.

Explanation of GEW-137-14

This proposal includes only the language for that part of GEW-133 that improves the qualification of Renewable Energy Credits that are able to be substituted for installed renewable energy systems. The RECs language in the IgCC should be corrected regardless of whether GEW-133 is approved.