By: Larry Eiben, K&L Gates, Chicago
The State of Illinois is part of the nationwide trend to codify new construction standards for energy efficient buildings and sustainable development. Illinois has adopted the Illinois Energy Conservation Code, which became effective January 29, 2010 and the Green Buildings Act, which became effective on July 24, 2009. The goals of these laws are to reduce energy consumption, protect the environment, cut pollution and promote sustainable development.
The Illinois Energy Conservation Code (71 Ill. Adm. Code 600) was adopted by the Illinois Capital Development Board pursuant to the authority granted to it by the Energy Efficient Building Act (20 ILCS 3125/1 et seq.), which was approved by the Illinois General Assembly on May 31, 2009. This Energy Conservation Code mandates statewide energy efficiency standards for both residential and commercial construction. Residential buildings are required to meet the efficiency standards promulgated by the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code, which is a model energy code developed by the International Code Council. Commercial buildings are required to meet the minimum standard formulated by American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (“ASHRAE”) pursuant to the ASHRAE 90.1 2007 standards. The ASHREA 90.1 standards are the same standards utilized by the U. S. Green Building Council as a baseline for certain prerequisites and credits in its LEED® ratings system. The Illinois Energy Conservation Code has the force of a building code and must be enforced by the county and municipal authorities that issue building permits.
The Green Buildings Act (20 ILCS 3130/1 et seq.), requires that all new State-funded buildings and all major renovations of existing State-owned buildings seek LEED®, Green Globes or an equivalent certification, subject to certain exceptions set forth in the statute. Any State project that involves the construction of a new building or the major renovation of an existing building up to 10,000 square feet must achieve the highest standard under the LEED® rating system for new commercial construction and major renovation projects, the Green Globes USA design program or equivalent certification. State projects that include the construction of a new building or the major renovation of a building of more than 10,000 square feet must achieve a LEED® Silver Certification for new commercial construction and major renovation projects, a Two-Globe rating in the Green Globes USA design program or an equivalent standard.