Rhode Island Adopts Green Construction Code

Rhode Island is the first state in the nation to adopt the International Green Construction Code. The Rhode Island Green Buildings Act identifies the IGCC, developed by the International Code Council, as an equivalent standard in compliance with requirements that all public agency major facility projects be designed and constructed as green buildings. The Rules and Regulations to implement the Act took effect this month. The IGCC applies to new and existing, traditional and high-performance commercial buildings. It includes ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1 as a jurisdictional compliance option.

The Rhode Island Green Buildings Act applies to any public project that is owned, leased, or controlled by the State of Rhode Island, including new construction projects larger than 5,000 gross square feet, or renovations involving more than 10,000 gross square feet of occupied or conditioned space. All qualifying public projects must be designed and constructed to “an equivalent high performance green building standard.”

“The emergence of green building codes and standards is an important next step to provide states and communities with the opportunity to build sustainable and safe buildings,” Rick Weiland, International Code Council Chief Executive Officer said. “For establishing a much-needed set of baseline regulations that are adoptable, usable and affordable, we are pleased to recognize Rhode Island under the leadership of Governor Carcieri as the first state in the nation to adopt the International Green Construction Code.”

In addition to the Code Council, cooperating sponsors of the IGCC are the American Institute of Architects, ASTM International, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES).

“It’s very exciting to me as building code commissioner to see that we are the first,” John P. Leyden, Rhode Island State Building Code Commissioner said. “A lot of the legislatures around the country are also looking for more green buildings. I think this would be perfect for other states to look at to see if it fits in with their code adoptions.”

The International Code Council, a membership association dedicated to building safety, fire prevention and energy efficiency, develops the codes used to construct residential and commercial buildings, including homes and schools. Most U.S. cities, counties and states choose the International Codes, building safety codes developed by the International Code Council. The International Codes also serve as the basis for construction of federal properties around the world, and as a reference for many nations outside the United States.