District of Columbia Adopts Innovative New Construction Codes to Promote Sustainable Building

Building standards in Washington, D.C. now among the most progressive in the Nation

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The District of Columbia has again demonstrated its commitment to being at the forefront of sustainable building practices by adopting the 2013 D.C. Construction Codes. Mayor Vincent Gray announced the adoption this past Wednesday, which takes effect today. New among the District’s codes is the D.C. Green Construction Code. Developed with the input and support of local experts and stakeholders, including members of the U.S. Green Building Council, National Capital Region (USGBC-NCR) Chapter and the national office of the U.S. Green Building Council, these codes represent the mainstreaming of many core elements of green building practice and propel the community forward in the District’s race to be the greenest and most livable city in the nation.

“The 2013 D.C. Green Construction Code demonstrates the city’s commitment to being a global leader in sustainability,” said Fulya Kocak, USGBC-NCR Chair and Director of Sustainability for Clark Construction Group. “This code will provide every member of the community a green and healthy environment to live, work, or study in this generation. This is a landmark achievement in the history of green buildings.”

Comprised of the 2012 International Green Construction Code (IgCC) with local amendments, the 2013 D.C. Green Construction Code applies to the scope of work of all construction projects greater than 10,000 square feet except single family homes, townhouses and multifamily residential construction three stories or less. Projects greater than 10,000 square feet will have several alternatives for satisfying the Green Construction Code requirements, including LEED, Enterprise Green Communities, ASHRAE 189.1, or ICC-700 certification. Also included in today’s code update is the 2013 D.C. Energy Conservation Code, slashing energy use in newly constructed and renovated buildings and sharing the benefits of efficiency across the District.

“It’s a proud day for the District of Columbia, its residents and its children,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair at the U.S. Green Building Council. “As LEED continues to accelerate new frontiers for what’s possible in green building excellence, it is a profound moment when many of our movement’s core ideas, metrics and practices are woven into the code – a city’s minimum expectation for almost every new building. Congratulations to the Mayor and to all those who contributed to this landmark achievement. This unprecedented commitment to green codes and LEED will ensure that more people will enjoy the benefits of healthier, more efficient, and lower impact buildings. Cities of the world, take note!”

“The new Green Construction Code is a groundbreaking policy that imprints sustainability into the blueprint of the city’s future,” said Director Nicholas Majett of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. “It’s an important step in getting us to the point where we won’t have to call it ‘green’ building anymore. It will just be the way it’s done—smart building, all the time.”

USGBC-NCR’s membership actively assisted in the development and adoption of these green codes. Members of the USGBC-NCR leadership served on the advisory task force that helped draft them, and others were vocal contributors during the comment period before the codes were officially adopted. USGBC-NCR has and will continue to offer education to help keep the public informed.

USGBC-NCR will be hosting a multi-part education series on the DC Green Construction Code and the DC Energy Conservation Code to help keep the community current with the not only the changes in building practices that the codes will require, but also the connection between these new codes and LEED. The next such event will take place on April 29. Further events will be announced on the USGBC-NCR website calendar.

The adoption of these codes solidifies D.C.’s position as a national leader in green building and urban design. In 2006, the District of Columbia was the first city to mandate that certain privately owned new building construction meet LEED standards, a move that was soon followed by other major cities including Boston and Los Angeles. In recent years, D.C. has consistently topped USGBC’s list of the highest ranked LEED cities in the country. In 2013 alone, 106 projects were certified in the District, adding almost 20 million total square feet of LEED-certified real estate and an impressive 32.45 square feet of LEED space per resident.  These new codes will accelerate green building in already one of the world’s greatest epicenters for healthier, more efficient, lower impact buildings.

See the full Green Construction Code in the D. C. Register

About the U.S. Green Building Council, National Capital Region Chapter

The U.S. Green Building Council, National Capital Region (USGBC-NCR), is working to make healthy, sustainable buildings a reality for the people of the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area within a generation. As one of the 77 local chapters of the USGBC, the leading authority on green building in the United States, we serve the District of Columbia, Montgomery and Prince Georges counties in Maryland, and northern Virginia. Our mission is to engage, educate and encourage our community to live within and advance sustainable, ecologically restorative and economically prosperous built environment. Our diverse membership is composed of builders, architects, environmentalists, nonprofits, and students. As part of a large network that is creating sustainable places to live and work across the entire country, we work both collaboratively and independently to fulfill our mission here in the National Capital Region. For more information on USGBC-NCR, please www.usgbcncr.org.

About LEED

The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction, maintenance and operations of green buildings. Every day, more than 1.5 million square feet of space is certified using LEED. More than 58,000 commercial and institutional projects are currently participating in LEED, comprising 10.7 billion square feet of construction space in more than 140 countries and territories. In addition, more than 50,000 residential units have been certified under the LEED for Homes rating system. Learn more at usgbc.org/LEED.