Rhode Island is the first state to adopt the International Green Construction Code (IGCC). Under the Rhode Island Green Buildings Act, all public agency major facility projects must be designed and constructed as green buildings, and the IGCC is now identified as an equivalent standard in compliance with this requirement. The rules and regulations to implement the act took effect in October. In August, Richland, Wash., became the first city to adopt the IGCC as a nonmandatory document for commercial buildings.

The Rhode Island Green Buildings Act applies to any public project that is owned, leased, or controlled by the state, including new construction projects larger than 5,000 gross square feet, or renovations involving more than 10,000 gross square feet of occupied or conditioned space. Other standards recognized under the legislation include the USGBC’s LEED rating system and the Northeast Collaborative for High-Performance Schools Protocol.

The act was passed by Rhode Island’s General Assembly and was signed into law by the governor in late 2009, and applies to buildings that entered the design phase after Jan. 1, 2010. Under the act, the state’s Department of Administration is required to publish an annual report documenting operational savings resulting from the legislation.

The IGCC was released for public review in March 2010, with a goal of final publication in 2012. It applies to new and existing commercial buildings. The requirements of the 2012 International Energy Conservation Codes provide a baseline energy provision for the IGCC, and ASHRAE Standard 189.1-2009 for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings, Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings is integrated into the IGCC’s technical content as an alternative compliance path.