Maine Has Already Adopted Four International Codes: Will It Adopt The New International Green Construction Code Next?
By Asha Echeverria | June 1, 2012
Effective December 1, 2010, Maine adopted the statewide Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code which consists of four International Code Council codes: 2009 International Residential Code, 2009 International Building Code, 2009 International Existing Building Code and 2009 International Energy Conservation Code. Municipalities with more than 4,000 residents are required to enforce the MUBEC if they had a building code in place before August 2008. Enforcement for municipalities with more than 4,000 residents and without an existing building code begins on July 1, 2012. Municipalities with fewer than 4,000 residents have three options: they can adopt MUBEC, the Maine Uniform Energy Code or the Maine Uniform Building Code.
In March 2012, the ICC published the International Green Construction Code 2012, an overlay code, consistent and coordinated with other ICC codes and green building standards. IgCC is being touted as the first model green building code to address green building design, construction and performance in new and existing buildings. It is intended to be a mandatory building code to be adopted by both state and local governments and administered by code officials. The IgCC advances green building beyond the voluntary ratings systems, such as LEED and Green Globes. IgCC has the potential to dramatically change the focus of sustainability efforts in Maine. The legislature may ultimately elect to add this as a fifth compulsory building code, in light of the fact that buildings are responsible for 39% of CO2 emissions, 40% of energy consumption, 72% of electricity use and 13% water consumption in the U.S., making the greening of buildings a significant environmental opportunity. However, the perceived associated construction costs may trigger significant debate on this measure if it is brought forward.
The IgCC seeks to reduce the negative effects of buildings by setting minimum standards and performance requirements for site development and land use; energy efficiency and air quality; water resource conservation; and indoor air quality for all building construction projects. A key feature of the IgCC is a section devoted to “jurisdictional electives” which would allow the model code to be customized beyond the baseline provisions to address priorities at the local or state level.
So far, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, Oregon and Rhode Island have moved toward adoption of the IgCC statewide.