Gov. Martin O’Malley continues to move Maryland towards a greener future as he signed into law the state’s adoption of the International Green Construction Code (IGCC). “We became the first state in America to adopt the International Green Construction Code,” O’Malley said during a May 11 speech. “This session, with your help, we also created new incentives for constructing green, high-performance homes.”

This comes as no surprise to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Officials there say they’ve noticed O’Malley’s vision for a green future and are pleased with the passing of the legislation. “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,” said Roger Platt, senior vice president of Global Policy and Law, USGBC, in a statement. “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.”

According to the International Code Council, the IGCC “provides a comprehensive set of requirements intended to reduce the negative impact of buildings on the natural environment.” Despite the new law, local jurisdictions aren’t required to adhere by the standards. Local jurisdictions can adopt these standards instead of those set forth by the Maryland Building Performance Standards.

However, according to the law, if local jurisdictions do adopt the IGCC, it can make amendments adding further provisions as long as those provisions don’t weaken or prohibit the minimum requirements set forth by the IGCC or weaken energy conservation or efficiency standards.

It’s no question though what O’Malley would prefer, as he’s made several comments this year about moving towards greener technology and cleaner energy. “Energy touches every aspect of our lives from the cost of heating our homes to sustaining our resources for future generations. We are all here today because we understand that we are in a fight for our children’s future,” O’Malley said in a statement. “Maryland is leading the nation’s efforts in clean energy and sustainability, and our State’s growing ‘green’ sector is vital to our ability to create jobs and compete globally in the new economy.”

Many of O’Malley’s policy goals fall into the range of sustaining Maryland’s environment. O’Malley wants to restore the Chesapeake, reduce greenhouse gases, move towards more energy efficiency and renewable energy, and increase mass transit ridership.

To achieve these goals, O’Malley has signed partnerships with Delaware and Virginia to advance offshore wind development, making it a requirement that 20 percent of Maryland’s energy come from renewable sources by 2022 and adopting the Clean Cars Act in 2007 to reduce amount of greenhouse gas emissions on the state’s highways.

Maryland is the first state to wholly adopt the IGCC standards. The law will take effect March 2012.


George Barnette

Special to the AFRO