Aspen’s chief building official Stephen Kanipe recently spent a week in Dallas helping to craft a new green construction code for commercial buildings.

Kanipe sat on a panel of 12 that reviewed upwards of 1,400 changes to the first draft of the International Green Construction Code. The hearings took place May 14-21 in Dallas. Kanipe has been working with the International Code Council on green building codes for about two years.

The hearings were characterized by 13-hour days where proponents or opponents of changes to every section of the code that was up for review could make their arguments. The hall at the Sheraton Hotel also was packed with lobbyists from the construction industry and manufacturers, Kanipe said. At the end of the week, the committee had produced a new section of its commercial building code that will be up for final adoption at a meeting in Phoenix later this fall.

“The committee does the best it can to determine if the changes are awkward or forward the intent and purpose” of the green building code, Kanipe said, adding that various groups — be they builders, administrators or materials suppliers — have differing opinions on the changes.

The International Green Construction code would be applied to all buildings — except duplexes and single-family homes — in jurisdictions that adopt it. It is intended to manage how energy is delivered to a site, how a building uses water and how it’s situated toward the sun, among other elements, Kanipe said.

The International Code Committee paid for the trip, although Kanipe spent many hours of his time at work preparing for the meeting, he said. City officials granted him authority to do so because they feel it’s important for Aspen to stake out a leadership position on green building issues, Kanipe said. At the conference, he joined colleagues from building departments in Austin and Seattle, among other green conscious cities.


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