GBI press room: GBI Supports Outcome-Based Code Updates

September 26, 2014

GBI Supports Outcome-Based Code Updates

The Green Building InitiativeTM (GBI) announced they are aligning with the National Institute of Building Sciences, New Buildings Institute, Institute for Market Transformation, BOMA International, National Insulation Association, Illuminating Engineering Society and International Association of Lighting Designers to support an important change to the International Green Construction Code (IgCC). The proposed change will allow achievement of sustainability results through an outcome-based pathway as an alternative to prescriptive requirements that often result in buildings that fail to perform as predicted.

The updated pathway encourages code officials and building owners to commit to meeting energy targets post occupancy by requiring submission of 12 sequential months of energy-use data in order to receive a final certificate of occupancy.
“It is evident from research and records that prescriptive-based paths for energy code compliance often fall short of their intended purpose to make buildings more energy-efficient. The proposed update would address code department challenges and achieve community energy efficiency goals through reporting of actual energy-use data,” says Tom White, Green Building Initiative’s Chief Engineer. “The proposed outcome-based pathway is predicated on buildings operating at a target level of energy use rather than expecting they will perform at the designed level.”
“There is no question about the need for an outcome-based code option or its potential effectiveness. The challenges ahead lie in its implementation and its acceptance across the broad community of people who have a stake in a more energy-efficient future, which includes all of us.”
"GBI strongly supports a focus on outcome- and performance-based results rather than prescriptive measures with no follow up,” agrees GBI President Jerry Yudelson, “that’s why Green Globes offers alternative methods of achieving certification – we know that telling people exactly how to do something through prescriptive measures doesn’t allow people to innovate or get credit for outcome-based results.”
The proposed addition to the IgCC (GEW 147) will soon be before members of the International Code Council. The IgCC serves as a model code for jurisdictions interested in implementing sustainability provisions through codes.
In addition to the proposal to the IgCC, the supporting organizations and others are discussing additional opportunities to advance the building industry focus on performance across a building’s life-cycle. A summit hosted by NIBS and NBI earlier this summer brought together stakeholders (including Yudelson) to identify a path forward. A report from the summit including recommendations is expected this Spring.