Several groups that work for sustainable buildings are collaborating on aligning green building codes and standards. The International Code Council (ICC), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES), and ASHRAE are now collaborating on the next editions of the the International Green Construction Code (IgCC), ASHRAE Standard 189.1, and the LEED standard.

The collaborative work will result in a streamlined application of the code, said IES director of technology Rita Harrold.

“Different partners have different strengths,” Harrold said. “Our organizations working together will result in harmonization of technical, administrative and compliance expertise to produce a single green code, simplifying the choice among design and code options for the using community.”

The IES is an industry group composed of lighting manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers, designers, architects, consultants, electrical and building contractors, as well as people working with lighting through government, education, utilities, and energy services.

International Code Council (ICC) chief executive officer Dominic Sims noted that the collaborative process “will make it easier for owners, designers, builders and code officials to deliver sustainable, high-performing buildings.”

The ICC, with help from cooperating sponsors AIA and ASTM International, develops the International Green Construction Code. Goals for the IgCC include creating more sustainable buildings by reducing buildings’ energy usage and carbon footprint, preserving natural and material resources, and creating healthy spaces.

ASHRAE represents heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration engineers. Its members “focus on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration and sustainability within the industry,” according to the group’s web site. The group is currently revising Standard 189.1.

“We are working to align new versions of Standard 189.1—the Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings—and the IgCC into one regulatory tool,” said ASHRAE president Tom Phoenix. “This agreement also seeks to align the LEED program with the new code to ensure a streamlined, effective set of regulatory and above-code options for jurisdictions across the country.”

Similarly, the US Green Building Council’s LEED standard will more closely align with other standards after a cooperative revision.

“This partnership leverages the unique strengths of world class organizations collaborating in an unprecedented way,” said USGBC chief of engineering Brendan Owens. “Building designers and operators know the benefits of integrated design and planning very well—we’ve taken our cue from them and will create a system where the whole is substantially more effective than the sum of its individual parts.”

According to the ICC, codes and standards are related but distinct. Codes are enacted by a state or municipality to regulate building construction, and “contain references to standards to specify requirements for a particular material or method.”

Standards, in contrast, are created by industry groups to “address the standardized approach to a test method, construction material, or material design method.”

“Sharing resources will help reach the goal of environmentally friendly structures that reduce the carbon footprint and lessen energy consumption,” said ICC board of directors president Guy Tomberlin. “With increased demand for sustainable buildings, this joint effort will have a major impact on creating more green buildings.”