Three professional organizations have formed a joint committee to develop minimum standards for high-performance green building. The baseline guide is intended to drive green building into the mainstream construction industry by incorporating these guidelines into building codes.

The U.S. Green Building Council, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, have charged the committee’s members with creating Standard 189P by the end of next year.

“We expect the new baseline standard to set a higher floor for all building practices and really bring green to the mainstream,” says John Hogan, chair of the committee writing the standard, who announced the group’s formation last Thursday.

“The benefits of green building — clean indoor air, thermal comfort and resource efficiency — are benefits that are owed to everyone,” says Hogan. “We’re confident the process we’re following to develop this standard will make it well received in the building community.”

189P will apply to new commercial buildings and major renovation projects, addressing sustainable sites, water use, energy efficiency, a building’s impact on the atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.

Standard 189P is a significant step toward the Green Building Council’s goal of market transformation, according to the organization’s president, CEO and founding chair Rick Fedrizzi. While the baseline guide will draw from the Green Building Council’s LEED rating system as a key resource, the two systems will be separate: LEED will continue to evolve as a goal for the top 25% of building practices, while Standard 189P is intended to serve the entire construction industry.

The newly formed committee met in Seattle in August to outline next steps, including two development meetings before the end of the year.