Maryland has become the first state to enable local jurisdictions to adopt the International green Construction Code® (IgCC®). If adopted, the IgCC will become a part of the building codes of those adopting jurisdictions. The IgCC establishes a baseline approach for new and existing buildings regarding energy conservation, water efficiency and other "green" matters. While heartened by the Maryland legislators’ nearly unanimous actions in passing the IgCC, “green industry” commentators were not surprised. Maryland has more LEED certified projects than any other state relative to its population and boasts the first certified LEED Platinum building (the highest LEED rating possible). LEED certification is an internationally recognized, voluntary certification system administered by the U.S. Green Building Council. Receiving LEED certification provides verification that a building project was designed and constructed using strategies to improve environmentally sound performance (e.g., improved indoor environmental quality and natural resource usage efficiencies).
The IgCC is touted as a means to drive green building beyond the market segment already transformed by LEED certification. The IgCC is a mandatory set of requirements as opposed to the voluntary LEED certification process. Now, by law, Maryland governmental agencies are free to adopt and administer the IgCC as part of their building code requirements. The IgCC contains “project electives” which are intended to encourage customization for local environmental agendas and priorities such as those dealing with specific geographical conditions. Using these project electives, local jurisdictions may tailor their building code requirements in a way that best suits their community's particular needs and concerns. Choices include ways to address flood hazard avoidance, waste disposal management, water efficiency, building owner responsibilities and site impacts.
Maryland's IgCC will go into effect on March 1, 2012.