The ICC Board has Spoken:

Let’s Ignore Them and Get to Work

The recent International Code Council (ICC) board decision to strip decarbonization measures from the model building code is a complete dereliction of duty in service of corrupting fossil fuel industries and their supporters. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has issued a concise takedown of the disgraced board’s actions. While the board claims to work in service of model codes and standards, these actions prove otherwise. It’s up to us. So, what’s next?

To paraphrase Fredrick Douglass, powerful interests don’t make concessions unless they are demanded. But how will we?

Some will say we need to work within the ICC system. But the system is broken when the board, a group of building department officials, seizes policy power. The ICC has also slow-walked efficiency in the name of “cost-effectiveness” and other siloed obfuscations for years. At what cost to us all and to future generations? The ICC is the problem. Let’s ignore them and go straight to our policymakers to demand the necessary policy change. But what policy?

Our common quest is to provide healthy, comfortable, resilient, safe, renewable-energy-based affordable living that benefits occupants and society alike. How? It’s not a secret. To paraphrase Massachusetts official Paul Ormond, the pivotal, transformative objective is to crush the heating demand. Crushing the heating demand unlocks the web of the positive outcomes we seek, including overall de minimis peak grid load increases from buildings that avoid massive utility infrastructure costs. It delivers quality buildings as outlined in our report Safe at Home. It’s also true in mild Southern California.

This isn’t a pipe dream. We have an optimized methodology developed by the Passive House Institutea standard called Passive House—and it predictably delivers the performance we need in all climates.

We have examples of cities and states taking action, and the lessons learned from action across the US are outlined in our guide Stepping Up to Passive, based on our investigation, Policy That Works. Citizens, activists, and elected officials, you can make it happen.

The ICC has exposed its bankruptcy. Let’s not get distracted but move forward. If you’re serious about turning our sick built environment into a driver of our health and well-being, we ask you to join us.

We look forward to working with you.


Ken Levenson

Executive Director

The Passive House Network