On December 27, Montgomery County, Maryland, will join a small group of jurisdictions at the vanguard of building regulatory policy. The county will begin implementation of the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) as the new baseline for virtually all new construction in the county above 5,000 square feet. This makes Montgomery County the first to implement the IgCC as mandatory code.
Green codes and LEED
For more than three years, USGBC has worked with a range of stakeholders from across the county’s green building community to develop and refine the new code, which is based on the 2012-IgCC. After extensive work with USGBC members and partners, with Montgomery County council members, and with the Department of Permitting Services, the new policy maintains regional consistency by including an alternate compliance pathway for LEED construction similar to those of Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
USGBC’s partnership on the IgCC is striving for more elegant solutions in future versions of the code that more clearly connect the green code baseline with beyond-code leadership with LEED. A proof-of-concept effort is already under way in California.
What it means
The new code sets a baseline requirement that new, nonresidential construction and additions of 5,000 square feet or more be designed and constructed to reduce building energy use by at least 50 percent below the average commercial building energy consumption in the base year of 2000. New projects must also mitigate heat island impacts associated with development and divert at least 50 percent of construction and demolition waste material from landfills. Residential and mixed-use buildings of five stories or more may use the National Green Building Standard (ICC-700, 2012) achieving LEED Silver certification, or comply with ASHRAE Standard 189.1, 2011.
For projects seeking to apply for LEED, Montgomery County has raised the bar to allow for LEED to serve as a compliance alternative. The county will accept LEED v4 certification at the Silver level or above, with a specific achievement threshold under the Optimize Energy Performance credit: at least 8 points under Option 1, or at least 5 points under Option 2.
Zero carbon goals
As if this weren’t enough to celebrate, Montgomery County Council adopted a resolution on December 5 to reduce the county’s greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2035. This is a landmark move for the county, committing to local government climate leadership that is urgently needed to achieve our goals under the Paris climate agreement. We look forward to working with partners and county officials to assist in meeting these new goals.
For those living and building in Montgomery County, keep an eye out for events and workshops from USGBC National Capital Region, where we will provide the resources you need to meet these new county requirements in 2018.