Building Code Modernization Enables More Sustainable Design and Construction

April 22, 2019

Chicago Among First Jurisdictions in Illinois to Implement Latest Version of International Energy Conservation Code

Gregg Cunningham    312.744.7384 |

CHICAGO - In celebration of Earth Day, the Chicago Department of Buildings is pleased to announce that energy design requirements will soon change for building projects in Chicago as the city moves ahead to implement the latest published edition of the International Energy Conservation Code (2018 IECC). The updated code is scheduled to take effect in Chicago on June 1, 2019. Energy code requirements for buildings help protect the environment and reduce energy consumption by providing guidelines for reducing air pollution, moderating energy demand and stabilizing energy costs and electric, oil, and gas supplies.

“The City of Chicago has long been a leader in adopting requirements for energy efficiency and sustainable design,” said Building Commissioner Judy Frydland. “In addition to making construction safer and more affordable, Chicago’s new building code adopted earlier this month will help further the City’s commitments to improving the efficiency and sustainability of our building stock in order to address climate change.”

The code applies for new commercial and residential constructions, and also for major changes in existing buildings - renovations, alterations, additions and reparations. The change from the 2015 IECC to the 2018 IECC will upgrade several requirements for commercial buildings, including enhanced requirements for the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) of glass and automatic controls in heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

An important component of the recent Chicago building code modernization ordinance passed by the City Council on April 10, 2019 involves standards for energy efficient building. Prior to the code rewrite, Chicago’s energy efficiency and sustainable design requirements were not fully integrated with the building code, sometimes making it difficult for architects and builders to comply with both sets of requirements. Under the new Chicago Building Code, Chicago’s energy conservation and core building code requirements will be coordinated and consistent for the first time. Consistent with Illinois law, the code modernization updates the City’s energy conservation code to be aligned with the latest (2018) edition of the IECC and Illinois specific amendments.

The DOB will post updated forms, reflecting the 2018 IECC-based requirements in mid-May 2019, and require these forms for permit applications on and after June 1, 2019. For the first time, Chicago’s amendments to the IECC will be published as a full document, which will be available later this summer.

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