The nation’s capital now has a Green Construction Code in place. This is part of the Districts ongoing effort to ensure robust sustainable building practices. Even though DC ranked among the top 10 in LEED space certified per resident in 2012 and 2013, the city would like to stop relying on third party certification to validate its sustainable practices. To that effect, the district put into place a green building code that will give it more control and flexibility over its sustainable building activity. The development of the code took into account feedback from a range of stakeholders and went thru 3 rounds of public comments. On March 28, 2014, the District officially adopted the 2013 District of Columbia Construction Codes, comprised of the 2012 International Codes and the 2013 DC Construction Codes Supplement. . Included in the 2013 DC Construction Codes are the District of Columbia Green Construction Code (GCC) and Energy Conservation Code (ECC), comprised of the 2012 IgCC and IECC. The District Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) is responsible for enforcing the GCC and ECC. The green building code does include some modifications to the IgCC, it is customized for the district, taking into account the large presence of the federal government, height restrictions, historic nature of buildings, etc. The adoption of the code will give the city flexibility in terms of having its own development cycles, amendments and applicability. DCRA has published a Green Building Program Manual (GBPM) which can be downloaded from here: http://dcra.dc.gov/publication/department-consumer-and-regulatory-affairs-construction-codes-administrative-bulletin The GBPM will be updated quarterly and released as an Administrative Bulletin on the Green Building Division website to help guide project teams toward the current best practices in greening their projects consistent with legal and regulatory requirements. 2013 DC Green Construction Code
- The Green Code only applies to new construction and substantial renovations.
- The Green Code applies to all commercial buildings of 10,000 square feet or more and all multifamily residential buildings four stories or higher and over 10,000 square feet. It also applies to demolition work 10,000 SF and greater and site work 10,000 SF and greater.
- New construction, including construction of an addition, of less than 10,000 square feet of gross floor area is exempt from the requirements.
- Projects with valid permits, existing design contract, existing field application and tenant layout permits for built core and shell – can still use 2008 construction code.
- The Green Code permits use of either of the four alternative compliance paths – ASHRAE 189.1-2011, Enterprise Green Communities Certified , LEED at the Certified Level or higher, National Green Building Standard (ICC 700) at the Bronze Level or higher, and ENERGY STAR New Homes or Multifamily High-Rise Certification.
- DCRA will offer Preliminary Design Review Meetings and/or Green Review Meeting for a fee, if a project team wishes to have one.
- The code has a set of mandatory requirements, in addition to which new construction projects shall attain a total of 15 project electives, and Level 3 alterations shall attain 13 project electives. Selected project electives shall be applied as mandatory requirements for the project.
District of Columbia Construction Codes 2013 which contains the Green Construction Code Supplement can be found at: http://dcra.dc.gov/publication/district-columbia-construction-codes-2013