Once considered too expensive, or even a niche for radical environmentalists, green building is fast becoming part of the new standard. Green construction focuses on energy efficiency, reuse of water and building materials, and designs and systems that don’t harm the environment. But through the years, so-called “green” architects, builders and engineers, either in partnership or at odds with local and national building code councils, have had to build without definitive green guidelines. Innovations led to reviews and often rejections of plans, and some eco-mavericks just built outside the traditional codes altogether.
If there were green building regulations in place, they could set the standard for what not to do, and lay the groundwork for successful models for builders to follow. Currently, there are efforts underway to attempt to set uniform standards. The International Code Council, for example, has been working on an International Green Construction Code (IGCC) since 2009 and is set to publish the code in 2012, with new green commercial regulations.
HSCA supports the safety of industrial, commercial construction, as presented by the three codes on the agenda today. But rejects the notion that any of this is necessary for safe, clean, affordable, self sustaining private home builders. We have plenty of eco-mavericks here, they are the Thomas Edisons and seekers of Walden Pond in our times.
While adopting these codes will have some benefits, we can do better than these codes by acting soon to legitimize the kinds of standards that are coming, for using local materials, and inventing new solutions to old problems. And in turn, build healthier communities.