The already code-laden healthcare environment may find new flexibility coming down the pike, at least in terms of designing and constructing sustainable facilities, with the recent introduction of the 2012 International Green Construction Code (IgCC).

The new model code for constructing and remodeling buildings has its eyes on making buildings more efficient, reducing waste, and having a positive impact on health, safety, and community welfare, according to the International Code Council.

The code was developed over the course of the last three years with input from code and construction industry professionals, environmental organizations, policy makers, and the public. Also on board with its development were the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and ASTM International as the initial cooperating sponsors, and with the support of ASHRAE, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES).

“The IgCC is the first model code to include sustainability measures for an entire construction project and its site—from design, through construction, certificate of occupancy and beyond. It establishes minimum green requirements for buildings. The IgCC offers flexibility to jurisdictions that adopt the code by establishing several levels of compliance, starting with the core provisions of the code, and then offering 'jurisdictional requirement' options that can be customized to fit the needs of a local community. A jurisdiction can also require higher performance through the use of 'project electives” provisions,' a press release states.

Part of the IgCC is a compliance option for ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1-2011, Standard for the Design of High-Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, which provides a green building foundation for those setting out to design, build, and operate high-performance buildings. It covers topic areas of site sustainability, water-use efficiency, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and the building’s impact on the atmosphere, materials, and resources.

The change allows permit applicants—rather than the authorities having jurisdiction—the option to use Standard 189.1 as the path of compliance rather than the jurisdiction itself dictating if the standard or IgCC must be chosen.

And when it comes to codes, a little flexibility may just go a long way.

For more information on the IgCC, please go here.

For more information on ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1-2011, please go here.