International Code Council Votes To Restrict City Involvement in New Building Codes
Nonprofit responsible for setting standard building codes eliminates key avenue for local leaders to advocate for climate-friendly codes
Boulder, CO – March 04, 2021
Today the International Code Council (ICC) announced that it would effectively limit the input of states and cities in the development of new building codes that can help cut energy use and emissions. The ICC decision goes against numerous local leaders, members of Congress and the US Department of Energy and caves to industry groups like the American Gas Association and National Association of Home Builders.
Model codes developed by the ICC set the benchmark for building standards and can be adopted by states and cities looking to construct more comfortable, efficient and cost-effective buildings. In late 2019, state and local leaders voted in favor of increased efficiency standards and making new buildings ready for electric vehicles and appliances.
Mike Henchen, principal on RMI’s Carbon-Free Buildings team, issued the following statement in response to today’s announcement:
“States and cities are eager to lead in combating climate change, and building codes are an important tool for reducing emissions. The ICC chose to limit the input of local leaders in favor of industry groups resistant to change. The climate crisis won’t wait for these opposing forces to come around, so the federal government and local leaders must work together to accelerate modern, healthy, zero-emissions buildings.
“RMI will continue to support policymakers in multiple states who are committed to tackling the health, economic and climate impacts of burning fossil fuels in buildings. The ICC’s decision is disappointing, but states and cities can take matters into their own hands by setting more ambitious standards for zero-emissions buildings.”
- Recent RMI analysis found that it is cheaper to build a new all-electric home, compared to building with gas, in all seven US cities we studied. Additional analysis found that switching from a gas furnace to an efficient, electric heat pump saves carbon emissions in 99% of US households.
- The New Buildings Institute and Natural Resources Defense Council wrote their own Building Decarbonization Code, which states and cities can adopt to move toward a zero-emissions building sector.
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RMI is an independent nonprofit founded in 1982 that transforms global energy systems through market-driven solutions to align with a 1.5°C future and secure a clean, prosperous, zero-carbon future for all. We work in the world’s most critical geographies and engage businesses, policymakers, communities, and NGOs to identify and scale energy system interventions that will cut greenhouse gas emissions at least 50 percent by 2030. RMI has offices in Basalt and Boulder, Colorado; New York City; Oakland, California; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing.