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USGBC & ICC Join Forces

The USGBC, a non-profit organization dedicated to sustainable and green building design, has joined forces with the International Code Council, ICC, to collaborate on the development of Standard 189.1.

The United States Green Building Council, International Code Council, ASHRAE, the American Institute of Architects and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America have announced the signing of a memorandum to collaborate on the development of Standard 189.1, the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) and the LEED green building program.

Their agreement outlines the development, maintenance and implementation of new versions of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES/USGBC Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High-Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings and the IgCC, which will be combined into one regulatory tool. The agreement will also align the LEED program with the new code.

"This landmark agreement will leverage the unique strengths of each of the five partner organizations to deliver a coordinated, integrated suite of green building tools: an ANSI standard as the basis of a regulatory code to push the market and a rating system to pull the market higher," said Brendan Owens, Vice President, LEED, and U.S. Green Building Council. "We are collectively dedicated to advancing green building practices and to advancing the broader industry's understanding about the importance of green building goals and how to achieve them."

Indeed, a landmark agreement, as it looks like this will change the face of green building, but what does this mean for the less popular Green Globes rating system by the Green Building Initiative . . .

"It's a long process to get codes adopted, so I don't think it will have a major change in the marketplace, or at least anytime soon," said Jerry Yudelson, President, Green Building Initiative. "I think it is fine to have the collaboration, but I think the real issue in green building is designing standards that people will actually use. If you look at where we are today, less than one percent of commercial buildings have been certified to any standard in the last 15 years. I think the real key is designing standards that are cost effective for a wide variety of people, whether it's retail, office buildings, schools, healthcare, all these huge markets are not really using green building certifications, and one of the reasons is they are too costly and complex. I think the real challenge for everyone in the business is try to figure out how to maintain the integrity of the standard but draw the cost down."

Although cost is reportedly a concern, to date the USGBC has certified more than 44,000 projects just within the United States, while the GBI has certified 1,000. To see a breakdown of the number of LEED certified projects in the top ten countries, please click here.

To learn more about green building rating systems, please visit or

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October 17, 2019, 10:02 pm PDT

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