High Performance Building Requirements for Sustainability (HPBRS) provides mandatory language for increased resistance to disasters, reductions in the amount of repair and number of buildings that need to be reconstructed after disasters. This results in more robust durable construction as a method to minimize the amount of resources required for routine maintenance and repair. The provisions also allow buildings to be more adaptable for future reuse even when different code requirements for new occupancies may be required.

To download a free copy of the recommended modifications for high performance buildings under the purview of the International Building Code, including residential, see High Performance Building Requirements for Sustainability Summary of Significant Modifications to the 2009 International Building Code.

HPBRS and Green Building Codes

green_fisher_2To help local governments and Federal agencies develop and implement green building codes, PCA has developed High Performance Building Requirements for Sustainability, a sample ordinance written in mandatory language that amends and appends the International Code Council International Building Code (IBC) to address high performance and sustainable buildings.

The requirements include the concepts in most other sustainability or green standards that are within the purview of the building code department while enhancing disaster resistance and setting more stringent durability requirements.

PCA has aligned the provisions with the concepts of both the Whole Building Design Guide (wbdg.org) and High Performance Building Council. Enacting and enforcing these provisions provides the basis for designers and owners to obtain certification as a US Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for New Construction (LEED-NC).

The ordinance is organized by chapter and section consistent with the IBC format and is intentionally limited to issues typically within the purview of the building code and zoning and land use officials. There are no requirements for sole source certification or fees that increase the initial project design cost.

Major features of the provisions are:

  1. Requires a design service life plan.
  2. Mandatory to use the ICC International Wildland-Urban Interface Code.
  3. High performance fire safety provisions include mandatory sprinkler requirements, structural fire resistance required for all buildings, and incorporates redundant fire safety requirements (notable changes apply to residential and assisted living facilities due to the aging population)
  4. Scoping provisions for storm shelters are provided for ICC/NSSA - 500 Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters.
  5. Limitations on indoor materials for volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  6. Enhanced indoor air quality with provisions for air filtering systems, carbon dioxide detection, and recreational smoking.
  7. Improved occupant productivity and comfort with noise control provisions.
  8. Improved energy performance by exceeding the International Energy Conservation Code by 20 percent and additional requirements for daylighting, fenestration, and air barriers.
  9. Solar reflectance indices for opaque walls and roofs to minimize internal heat gain and heat island effects.
  10. Increased design wind pressure and design force by 20 percent for most buildings (there is only a 5 percent increase for critical infrastructure buildings that already have more stringent requirements)
  11. Flood resistance is increased to be at least three feet above base flood elevation or five hundred year flood elevation if known and does not permit consideration of flood protective works such as dams, levees, flood waters, etc.
  12. Building water use reduction requirements.
  13. Material resource requirements recycling, construction waste, material transportation, and pollution prevention.
  14. Requirements for site development and site improvements.

 

You Can Help

Steps can be taken to encourage the design and construction of high performance buildings that:

  • Enhance the quality places to live and work
  • Support development of sustainable communities, and
  • Provide for a healthier natural environment

A variety of strategies are available depending on type and priorities within a jurisdiction:

States – Depending on the state building code structure and processes, states may find a variety of strategies to implement or encourage the enactment of high performance building requirements.

  •  Enact these amendments and appendices for all state-owned or funded buildings.
  • Adopt these building design and construction requirements for buildings intended to be designated high performance (HP). Government owned or funded buildings and HP buildings could be easily identified as potential places of refuge in times of emergencies, being supportive of sustainable communities, and healthier and built and natural environments. Buildings designated HP will also serve as examples of high performance building for owners, designers, developers, others in the building community and the general public.
  • Forward thinking jurisdictions and jurisdictions in areas more prone to disasters may find the requirements appropriate for all new buildings.
  • States with statewide building codes but not desiring to adopt these requirements for all buildings are encouraged to enact legislation that permits local jurisdictions to amend statewide building codes to permit local enactment of these more stringent requirements for high performance buildings.

Local Jurisdictions – Due to varying concerns about the environment combined with different social, political and economic issues and priorities, applying these requirements to all new buildings may not be appropriate. Three possible strategies for consideration by counties, municipalities and other local jurisdictions are:

  •  Enact these amendments and appendices for all buildings owned or funded by the local government.
    • Adopt these building design and construction requirements for buildings intended to be designated high performance (HP). Government owned or funded buildings and HP buildings would be easily identified as potential places of refuge a in times of emergencies, being supportive of sustainable communities, and healthier built and natural environments. Buildings designated HP will also serve as examples of high performance building for owners, designers, developers, others in the building community and the general public.
    • Forward thinking jurisdictions and jurisdictions in areas more prone to disasters may find the requirements appropriate for all new buildings.

    Federal Agencies – Federal agencies should adopt these provisions for all Federal government owned or funded buildings.