A Universal Sustainability Code

Posted on March 30, 2012


The big news this week was that the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) was published in its final form. Why does this matter to healthcare? Because the IgCC’s structure is code-like compared to other green design initiatives, like Green Globes or LEED for Healthcare, it will likely get more a more favorable look by jurisdictions wanting to formally install and enforce sustainable design in their localities. In other words, the IgCC reads more like fire, life safety, and other building codes already in use in municipalitites across the U.S.

The IgCC has been in development for some time, and it is far less sexy than the well-marketed and more familiar point systems of LEED. However, the collaboration behind IgCC is significant (including working with LEED’s parent, the USGBC) and adds a lot of legitimacy to the document. In addition, some states have already taken measures to adopt it as law. When part of the building code, two major impacts will be:  1) it will not be elective, and 2) it will affect all building types.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is enthusiastic about the code because, prior to the IgCC, it was not known which sustainable design document would become the frontrunner to become the dominant, national / international code. It appears the IgCC will become that code. No doubt it will receive plenty of analysis at the upcoming AIA National Convention in May.

For those in healthcare, no need to panic. The IgCC is likely not adopted where you deliver care—yet.  However, it is wise to know it is coming, and it will have an impact on future healthcare design and hospital operations.