On March 27, to very little fanfare, the International Code Council (ICC) announced the availability of the 2012 International Green Construction Code (IgCC). The IGCC acts as an overlay code to the existing set of International Codes, including provisions of the International Energy Conservation Code and ICC-700, the National Green Building Standard.

According to the ICC, the IgCC is the first model code to include sustainability measures for an entire construction project and its site — from design, through construction, certificate of occupancy, and beyond. It establishes minimum green requirements for buildings. Goals of the code include making buildings more efficient, reducing waste, and having a positive impact on health, safety and community welfare.

These are admirable goals, but it remains to be seen just what impact the code will have on construction and the roofing industry in particular. The minimum requirements regarding recycling, recycled content, and transportation could have profound effects on numerous parts of the process. Commentators have argued that in some cases purchasing products within 500 miles of the project site will be impossible. Others have maintained that that the IgCC conflicts with some existing codes. Of course, as with any policy, there could be unforeseen complications.

There is the cautionary tale of the archaeologists who encouraged the local villagers to help them unearth antiquities by offering them a small fee for each artifact they uncovered. At the laboratory, the archaeologists discovered many of the fractures on these ancient relics were recent. They soon realized the villagers had been breaking the priceless treasures up into smaller bits — because they were paid by the piece.

 We may look back at March 27, 2012, as a momentous day for the industry. Let’s hope it’s for the right reasons.