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So...What is a Code Innovation anyway?

A Code Innovation is a design strategy, material, or technology that was approved by one or more jurisdictions usually through a non-prescriptive performance-based code or other compliance path, as demonstrated in an individual residential, multi-family, commercial or infrastructure / public works project. When we say it covers “green or high performance” building practices, we mean that a code innovation exhibits a positive value proposition in terms of environmental, social and economic effectiveness and sustainability.
So...What is a Code Innovation anyway?

A Code innovation is a successfully permitted green or high performance building technique that challenged the code in some way

So let’s be clear:  What is a Code Innovation?

A Code Innovation is a design strategy, material, or technology that was approved by one or more jurisdictions usually through a non-prescriptive performance-based code or other compliance path, as demonstrated in an individual residential, multi-family, commercial or infrastructure / public works project.  When we say it covers “green or high performance” building practices, we mean that a code innovation exhibits a positive value proposition in terms of environmental, social and economic effectiveness and sustainability.  This definition is left somewhat ambiguous (we’re not creating a new rating system!) to provide general guidance without excluding anything unnecessarily.

The three types of Innovations are defined as:

  • A Design Strategy or Construction Technique – This is an action or way of building that has specific definable elements that contribute to the performance characteristics and conditions required for approval.
  • A Product or Material – These are physical building supplies with definable performance characteristics that contribute to a positive value proposition.
  • An Equipment or Technology – This is a specific item with a definable performance characteristic that contributes to a positive value proposition.

 

These definitions help to clarify the types of innovations we want to include as case studies in the database.  Yet, it’s impossible to draw a bright line distinguishing “in” from “out” because there is no universal set of building codes adopted by all states, cities and counties.  What would be considered “innovative” in one jurisdiction with very traditional codes, might be old hat in a progressive municipality that has adopted new green codes.  For example, code officials in Grand County Utah have developed a prescriptive path for strawbale construction that is unique and familiar there, though strawbale is way outside the box for most code officials nationwide.

Therefore, the database will consider for inclusion any past or current project that challenged the code somewhere, and that code officials and users elsewhere are likely to find informative. Even projects permitted under a prescriptive "green code" would be interesting to municipalities which have not yet adopted such a code.

We will refine our process of selecting and describing code innovations as we move forward.  Meanwhile, please enjoy!

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