Statement: The ICC’s decision to end voting on building codes sidelines local officials who are advancing clean energy

Media Contacts
Brynn Furey

Josh Chetwynd

City leaders lost their power to vote on international code after winning on energy efficiency mandates

Environment America

BOSTON — The International Code Council (ICC), which is a nonprofit consortium featuring industry groups, architects and government officials, decided on Wednesday to permanently end voting on their model building code. The decision came after hundreds of elected officials registered to vote on the code standard during the most recent voting process in 2019. City leaders voted for more energy efficient buildings, and they successfully won mandates to increase efficiency and require new buildings to be electric-ready with wiring to hook up electric cars and appliances. 

That victory led to pushback from such industry groups as the National Association of Home Builders and the American Gas Association, who pressed to reverse several measures that the ICC had previously approved. As a result, the ICC decided to end the voting process, taking away one of the most critical avenues for government officials to influence their jurisdictions’ building codes. 

The ICC will now replace the old system with a standards process led by committees. One-third of those committees will be government officials — who the ICC claims will “continue to have a leading voice.” However, the ICC does not specify who will comprise the other two thirds of the committee members.

Environment America’s Energy Conservation and Efficiency Associate issued the following statement:

“Building codes play a critical role in advancing clean energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our homes and businesses. By sidelining local leaders who are advocating for greener and healthier buildings, the ICC’s decision speaks volumes about the impact of special interests. It is no coincidence that after city officials showed up in droves to vote for more energy efficient and greener building codes, the ICC opted to halt the voting process altogether.

“As the impacts of climate change are felt more and more each year, we need to make sure that newly constructed buildings play a role in guiding us from the mess that our fossil fuels dependence has put us in. A commission with this much influence on our buildings’ future should have the broadest representation possible. Certainly, local officials who understand and care about the climate implications of how we build going forward deserve a resounding voice at the table. Now, more than ever, we should be empowering our representatives to tackle climate change and transition to clean energy.”