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State of Maryland Passes Green Building Legislation

Maryland becomes first state to enable wide-scale adoption of the International Green Construction Code


International Green Construction Code

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- This week, Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland signed into law the state’s adoption of the International Green Construction Code (IGCC) enabling the adoption of the IGCC by all local governments across the state. This law is a result of legislative debate – and Maryland is the first state in the nation to make such a collective commitment to the importance of well-built buildings in addressing some of today’s biggest challenges.

"Maryland has been one of the most important cradles of the green building movement and today’s adoption of the IGCC is another important notch in the belt for a state that’s been leading the way on these issues," says Roger Platt, senior vice president of Global Policy and Law, U.S. Green Building Council. "It is only fitting that the next step toward true market transformation and the advancement of the green building movement happens in Annapolis, under Gov. Martin O’Malley’s leadership, and with the expert counsel of USGBC’s Maryland Chapter."

This law adds an important complement to the state’s existing green building policy. Current state law requires state-owned buildings and state-funded schools to be designed and built to beyond-code green building rating systems, namely the Silver level rating of USGBC’s LEED® green building rating system. State statue also offers a corporate and personal income tax credit for green buildings that, while officially available through the end of this year, fulfilled its goals by July of 2009.

The U.S. Green Building Council worked closely with five other leading building industry organizations to develop and launch the IGCC in March of 2010. The IGCC includes ANSI/ASHRAE/IES/USGBC Standard 189.1 (Standard 189) as an optional path to compliance. This set of documents was designed to provide adoptable, adaptable and enforceable code language for jurisdictions that want to begin enforcing better building practices initially pioneered in green building rating systems. Standard 189 was released in January 2010, and is currently under continuous maintenance. The IGCC is now in its second, fully published, Public Version, and is also undergoing ongoing comment and revision prior to a 2012 launch with the suite of International Codes.

With the IGCC, USGBC and its partners are pleased to usher in a new policy framework that is both distinct and complementary to beyond-code green building rating systems like LEED. Alongside government commitments to "lead by example" (by striving for beyond-code performance with LEED as a benchmarking tool) and incentives for the private sector to do the same, the adoption of green building codes and standards raises the floor for all buildings, spreading far and wide the many benefits of building green.