Phoenix adopts Green Building Code to encourage sustainable building

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Green Building Code, the next phase of Phoenix's Green Building program, became effective July 1, 2011. This code will allow residential and commercial projects, including new construction and renovations, to be certified with a green standard without having to pay fees for certification.

In August 2010, the code development process began with a number of public meetings during the code adoption process in which proposed code amendments from interested parties were accepted and reviewed. The Green Construction Code and amendments were reviewed and approved by the Planning and Development Department Code Committee, other city departments, and the Development Advisory Board, Technical Subcommittee. The City Council approved the Green Construction Code on April 20, 2011.

According to Michael Hammett, public information officer of the City of Phoenix, last year the Planning and Development Department received $700,000 of the City’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funds to create a Green Building Program. Most of the funds were allocated for green building incentives and $100,000 was allocated to creating the Phoenix Green Construction Code.

Some highlights of the new code include 15% mandatory reduction of energy use; 20% mandatory reduction of indoor water use; 2% of annual electrical use must be provided by solar or other renewable energy sources; and an increase of the quality of indoor air.

“The creation and adoption of this code is part of the city's mission, directed by our mayor and city council, to be one of the greenest cities in the nation,” said Cindy Stotler, assistant director of Planning and Development Services. Encouraging green construction is one big step toward meeting that goal.”

According to Hammett, the Phoenix Green Construction Code will consist of amended versions of the International Green Construction Code (IGCC) for commercial and the National Green Building Standard for residential construction. These codes were selected because they are compatible with the International Codes that are already adopted by Phoenix.

“The City of Phoenix will be a leader in the green building movement with the 2011 adoption of a voluntary Green Construction Code,” said Hammett. “The Phoenix Green Construction Code will take a ‘whole project’ approach to promoting safe and sustainable construction.”

Requirements differ for commercial and residential construction projects. These codes and the Phoenix Amendments are available for review online at:

The IGCC only has one "green" designation for commercial construction, which the city will follow to certify commercial buildings. The National Green Building Standard for Residential has four levels, which the Phoenix Green Construction Code will use to certify a building. The four tiers are Bronze, Silver, Gold and Emerald.

According to Hammett, this code will allow commercial and residential projects in Phoenix to be built to a green standard and receive a certification without having to pay costly fees for third-party programs.

“Those who choose to ‘go green’ will have their projects reviewed and inspected to this standard,” said Hammett. “There are no extra fees for plan review or permits.”

The city is offering workshops and training sessions regarding the Green Construction Code.

“With the adoption of any code there is a learning curve,” explained Hammett. “We are offering workshops and training sessions to make sure everyone is educated as we move forward in this exciting new direction.”

Related Articles:
New green codes are powerful tools

Related Articles:
ICC works on prescriptive green construction code