Maryland becomes first state to adopt International Green Construction Code

by Brianna Crandall — May 13, 2011—Maryland adopted on May 10 the International Green Construction Code (IGCC), enabling its adoption by all local governments across the state. 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, says the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

This law complements the state’s existing green building policy, notes USGBC. 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 and five other leading building industry organizations developed and launched the IGCC in March of 2010. The IGCC includes ANSI/ASHRAE/IES/USGBC Standard 189.1 as an optional path to compliance. Released in January 2010, 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.

With the IGCC, USGBC and its partners hope 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 standard for all buildings, extending the benefits of building green, says USGBC.