Housing Complex

Code Green

Three days after joining 57 other cities in a worldwide climate change-fighting club, D.C. has taken a major step in reducing its environmental footprint, releasing eco-friendly new building codes.

According to a press release from the mayor's office, the city's first Green Construction Code will apply to all commercial projects over 10,000 square feet and to all multi-family residential buildings four stories or taller. The city has also proposed to adopt the 2012 International Code Council recommendations, a slew of codes that includes energy-saving requirements. The city currently follows the 2006 ICC codes, but will "leapfrog" over the 2009 codes to adopt the 2012 ones.

An additional energy conservation code, the mayor's office says, will bring about efficiency improvements of up to 30 percent in the District's buildings.

These moves, says Mayor Vince Gray, will help the city accomplish its Sustainable DC goals.

“The District’s proposed 2013 Construction Codes makes clear our strong commitment to being a national and global leader in sustainable building practices,” Gray says in the release. “My vision for the District is for our buildings to use energy and water far more efficiently – greatly reducing our carbon emissions, conserving our natural resources and helping property owners save substantial amounts of money.”

Michael Neibauer at Washington Business Journal has a few more details:

The proposed code will require that 50 percent of construction waste is recycled, setting a new standard. Forty percent of the materials used in construction will have to be made with recycled content, used materials and components, biobased or locally manufactured (within a 500 mile radius).

Water consumption through landscaping will have to be cut in half, and the heat island mitigated through cool roofs, structure shading or pervious paving. There are new green requirements for plantings, soils, elevators, appliances, interior and exterior lighting, mechanical systems, water treatment systems and more.

Photo via flickr user bathroom improvement.

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