ICC 700 Residential Green Certifications Will More Than Double in 2014

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Today there are 29,724 ICC 700 National Green Building Standard certified homes and lots. As the residential green code is on the cusp of eclipsing 30,000 certifications, more than a dozen governments across the country are evaluating adopting mandates or incentives tied to ICC 700.

In 2007, National Association of Home Builders and the International Code Council partnered to establish this residential green building code. The ICC 700 can be used by any builder for their individual project as a rating system (including third party approval), or be the basis for a local government residential green building code.

The current 2012 version of ICC 700 addresses what may have been the loudest criticism of the earlier version, lax energy efficiency requirements. While the original ICC 700 was tied to the International Energy Conservation Code 2006, the current version uses the IECC 2009 (estimated to result in energy efficient performance that is about 15% higher than the previous 2006 code). And many local governments have already adopted IECC 2012.

While today only a modest number of local government laws refer to the code, the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) requires compliance with the ICC 700 if a jurisdiction chooses to regulate residential buildings four stories or less. As the IgCC more broadly adopted in 2014, so will the ICC 700.

The four threshold ICC 700 levels, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Emerald are strikingly similar to the more widely known LEED for Homes.

If the philosophy of LEED for Homes is to impact the top 25% of building, ICC 700 is aiming to bring green to the mainstream. And the scope of LEED for Homes is limited to single family new construction, low and mid rise building while the scope of ICC 700 is all residential building. A recent cost comparison found as a percentage of baseline house costs, LEED Silver cost 5 – 7 % where ICC 700 Silver cost 3%.

Home Innovation Research Labs serves as the secretariat of NAHB’s ICC 700 National Green Building Standard program and tracks implementation. In 2013, there were 2,218 home/building certifications, down slightly from 2,368 in 2012. But the larger story lies in multi family housing, which represents nearly 82% of total units now certified, where 14,312 units were certified last year nearly double the 7,979 certified in 2012. So, total certifications were up in 2013.

North Carolina leads the nation in ICC 700 certifications followed by Virginia, Texas, Indiana and New York. And Maryland, where an ICC 700 home is eligible for a County enacted property tax credit, is quickly gaining.

And the real sweet spot is the number of projects registered and in process. There are 2,022 single family homes in process and 46,269 units within multi family buildings in process which are on track to more than double the number of certifications in 2014 from 2013.

Article by Stuart Kaplow, appearing courtesy Green Building Law Update.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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