‘Green Construction Code’ Scrutinizes Irrigation

Irrigation Association successful on many fronts, but unable to remove 40% turfgrass limit in new site designs.

The Irrigation Association recently joined industry allies to advocate for the irrigation industry’s interests at a seven-day hearing on the International Green Construction Code. Developed by the International Code Council, the IGCC provides a standard for newly constructed commercial buildings and residential buildings three stories or more in height. Three states have already adopted the code, even though it is not yet complete.

“This is a standard that has the potential to affect irrigation practitioners across the country on large jobs that could significantly contribute to their businesses,” said John Farner, IA’s federal affairs director. “It was important to have their voices represented at this detailed hearing.

The Irrigation Association was represented in the development process by industry development director Brent Mecham (who participated as a committee member), Standards Committee chair Brian Vinchesi and federal affairs director John Farner.

“Thankfully, we were not alone,” Farner added. “We’d like to thank the American Society of Irrigation Consultants, American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers and Professional Landcare Network for supporting our efforts at the hearing. With their help, we were able to communicate the value of efficient irrigation technologies, products and services.”

At the hearing, the IA was successful in:

- Negotiating an allowance for overhead irrigation in non-turfgrass landscaped areas in addition to turfgrass planted in slopes greater than 4 feet in length per 1 foot in height. The types of overhead irrigation allowed will be based on precipitation rate.

- Defeating a proposal to require all irrigation water be non-potable.

- Defeating a proposal to establish limits on potable water use in landscape irrigation during the establishment phase of plant material and turfgrass.

- Supporting the expansion of the definition of a meter to also include some types of flow sensors.

- Maintaining the definition of potable water as water meeting the requirements of Public Health Service Drinking Water Standards or the regulations of the public health authority having jurisdiction.

Unfortunately, stakeholders representing the turfgrass industry, which included the IA, were unsuccessful in removing the requirement to limit turfgrass to 40 percent of the landscape area of the site.

Full hearing results will be posted at The IGCC Website on June 27. Comments are due Augusst 12 before the final action hearings take place in November.