ICC Makes Controversial Change

Published by Architectural Record: Early in March, the board of directors of the International Code Council (ICC) moved to overhaul the process for developing its model energy code. The controversial change entails switching from a framework in which thousands of ICC members, who are government officials, voted on code updates to one that puts the power largely in the hands of committees appointed by the ICC board, with representatives from trade groups and other interests. The shift has been widely criticized by efficiency proponents who worry it will give too much say to those with a financial stake in the outcome, compromising the code’s effectiveness as a tool for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

Despite the ICC’s seemingly regressive move, champions of continued code improvement say that cities and states with ambitious climate goals have options. Jim Edelson, director of policy for the nonprofit New Buildings Institute (NBI), points to the Building Decarbonization Code that his organization developed with the Natural Resources Defense Council as a more rigorous overlay to base codes. “We see a lot of interest in alternatives to the IECC if it does not produce the desired outcomes.”

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