As we navigate the complexities of the modern built environment, crucial organizations lead the charge in shaping the future of green building. In this blog, we delve into the significant contributions of key industry players such as the International Code Council (ICC), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). Let’s explore their roles, recent achievements, and commitment to advancing green building practices.

International Code Council (ICC)

The ICC plays a pivotal role in setting international building codes, providing a foundation for sustainable construction practices worldwide. With a focus on collaboration, the ICC engages a diverse audience, including builders, architects, and policymakers. Recent achievements include noteworthy advancements in international code standards, ensuring that the built environment aligns with global sustainability targets. By fostering collaborations that promote sustainable construction, the ICC stands as a cornerstone in the evolution of green building practices.

United States Green Building Council (USGBC)

At the forefront of the green building movement, the USGBC continues to set benchmarks and redefine industry standards. Surpassing 10,000 LEED project registrations globally and achieving an all-time high in total commercial project certifications, USGBC’s recent successes highlight its commitment to excellence by providing tools and resources to make green building practices commonplace. Beyond accolades, the release of the 2024–2026 Strategic Plan positions USGBC to evolve beyond past achievements, addressing urgent challenges and opportunities in the ever-changing landscape of green building.

USGBC’s commitment extends beyond project certifications, delving into advocacy and policy initiatives. With a focus on reducing embodied carbon, USGBC collaborates with federal agencies, legislators, and stakeholders to drive legislative changes. The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) marks a significant step forward, directing federal procurements for low-carbon building materials and supporting initiatives to label and account for life cycle impacts.

Embodied carbon, often overlooked, contributes significantly to global emissions. USGBC addresses this by launching a pilot credit for LEED, encouraging developers to prioritize lower-carbon building materials. The EPA reports that homes and buildings account for over 30% of U.S. emissions, reducing embodied carbon a critical step in mitigating climate change. The IRA provisions allocate funding to label materials with low embodied carbon, standardize environmental product declarations (EPDs), and procure materials with low embodied carbon.

American Institute of Architects (AIA)

Architects shape the physical landscape, and the AIA stands as a driving force behind sustainable and eco-friendly architectural designs. Serving as an influential advocate for architects, AIA’s recent achievements showcase a commitment to pushing the boundaries of green building. Through collaborations with industry leaders, AIA contributes to the promotion and implementation of sustainable practices, emphasizing the critical role architects play in reshaping the world we live in.

In conclusion, the collaborative efforts of industry leaders like ICC, AIA, and USGBC underscore the transformative power of green building. As we celebrate their recent achievements and strategic plans for the future, it’s evident that these organizations play a crucial role in redefining the trajectory of sustainable construction. With a focus on advocacy, policy changes, and reducing embodied carbon, they pave the way for a more resilient, healthier, and equitable built environment. The collective commitment to innovation and progress ensures that the green building movement continues to flourish, setting the stage for a sustainable and thriving future.

2023 was a momentous year for decarbonization and sustainable design from the release of the White House’s definition of NetZero to monumental commitments at COP28. What will 2024 bring? We dive into our predictions and top industry trends to watch. 

What Follows A National Definition of Net Zero?

When the Biden Administration announced a forthcoming national definition of zero-emissions buildings for non-federally owned properties many were excited and concerned. In 2024, in anticipation of that definition, green building practices, and the ability to speak with confidence about green building practices, will become more commonplace within the construction and real estate industry. There will be increased awareness and transparency surrounding improved efficiencies and the ability of practices to lower carbon emissions. 

There will also be an increased interest in low-carbon buildings that exceed the baseline code. For more than a decade, ID360 has played a critical role in helping municipalities design codes as well as support architects and builders who are responsible for implementing concepts that meet or exceed these standards. These collaborations will be critical to ensure everyone is successful.

COP28 Success. Now what?

In a historic move, all nations formally agreed to transition away from fossil fuels during COP28. Now that negotiators have returned home, how do countries translate this global consensus into domestic policy and implementation?  

To achieve global net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 there must be substantive change in how the U.S. utilizes energy. We anticipate this leading to a greater focus on the built environment in 2024. The construction and design industries will be called upon to advance these objectives.  

Electrifying Progress: A Look Ahead at EV

EV had a big year in 2023 and we anticipate that to continue into 2024 as much infrastructure is under construction or still needs to be built. Effective January 1, here in California, the Air Resources Board’s Advance Clean Fleet Rule will also impact commercial EV charging sites. Although we don’t anticipate an influx of EV-related federal funding like in previous years, municipalities will be working to build the necessary infrastructure for compliance.

Education Remains Paramount

Like in previous years, the green building and decarbonization industries continue to change and evolve. Staying current can be challenging, especially in the state of California as codes and policies vary from city to city. Whether you work in construction, design, or local government, knowledge of policies and codes is vital to your day-to-day. ID360 remains committed to providing resources and tools to support our colleagues. From online, on-demand coursework through our ID360 Academy to quarterly newsletters highlighting policies we are watching, we strive to keep our industry informed.

The outlook for 2024 is bright. On every level (global, national, and local), individuals and organizations are working to implement policies and changes that will contribute to a better, more sustainable built environment. We are excited to be a part of this journey and leverage our expertise to support innovative change.