Maryland Green Building Network
April 2, 2002 – 6:30–8:30 pm
EPA Building – Annapolis, MD
Fowziyyah Ali, Rabah Interfaith CDC
Walt Auburn, MEA
Adrienne Bell, Struever Bros.
Jessica Burgard, DesignCollective
Bill DeLoache, O’Neal Inc.
Jay Hall, ICF Consulting
Jim Hanna, DHCD
Janet Harrison, Harrison Arch.
Johns Hopkins, DHCD
John Ingalls, DHMH
Malica Jaksic, DesignCollective
James Kantor, Parallax, Inc.
Charles Mazurek, DNR
Jonathan Meyer, Meyer Sons Builders
Isaac Opalinsky, Solar Works
Paivi Spoon, Prince George’s County
John Vlah, Holophane
Mary Vogel, Prince George’s County
Ø New Green Building Website: Per Sean’s e-mail, the Green Building Program released its new website. It offers both general and specific information to homeowners on how to incorporate green building principles in their projects. If anyone would like to publicize their company, product, or service, just send a quick blurb and website address to Sean and he will put it on the web. This site is for the Green Building community to outreach their services, so please take advantage of this opportunity.
Ø Green Building Conference: With support from the Maryland Energy Administration, the Green Building Program will be conducting a Green Building Conference this summer. Issues to be addressed will be What is Green Building, Why should you build green, and How to build green. As the Steering Committee proceeds, Sean will send out information, dates, registration materials, and exhibitor information.
Ø Green Building Template for Rowhouses Final Report: Stemming from the March GBN meeting on TerraLogos and DNR’s Rowhouse Template, the Final Report is in. Sean will put the entire report on the website for your review.
Ø NAHB Research Center for May: The May GBN meeting will be at the NAHB Research Center. Rich Dooley was gracious by inviting us, and attendees will be provided with a tour and presentation on the Center’s services. This should be a must-see on your calendar.
Ø Training Seminars on MD’s Energy Code: DHCD will be hosting seminars to educate contractors on current energy codes. For more information, please contact Jim Magliano at DHCD at 410.514.7216.
Maryland’s Smart Codes, Johns Hopkins (DHCD)
Johns began his presentation by describing the basics of Smart Codes. The catalyst for creating the Codes began by examining why it was easier and cheaper for developers and builders to build new facilities out in the suburbs rather than rebuilding in inner-city and/or existing buildings. Intuitively, redevelopment should occur, as there is the existing infrastructure and facilities. But, this is not the case and it was still more expensive than building new "out there".
There are many reasons for this, but the one identified most often by the development community is that there are unintentional hurdles in existing codes that keep builders from rehabing. For example, there are more than 12 separate codes: fire, plumbing, construction, etc. Plus, the codes treat existing buildings as if they were new. Therefore, if a homeowner wanted to install a ceiling fan, they also had to enlarge their windows to meet code requirements. Clearly, it was very difficult bringing these older homes to new codes.
Another problem is that each of the 157 municipalities and the 23 counties in Maryland could, and does, make their own codes. So on one side of the street a contractor had to meet one code while on the other side of the road another totally different code structure was in effect.
To address these problems, Maryland initiated and developed Smart Codes. The Code is for any existing building over 1 year old, and applies to commercial, residential, and any other type of building. Also, it is in effect statewide. If any jurisdiction amends the Codes, they lose out on State incentives. Accordingly, no jurisdiction has even showed interest in amending.
Perhaps the strongest element of the Code is that it is written ONLY for the rehab projects being addressed. In the past, if you refinished a bathroom, you had to rehab the staircase for Code. Under SC, you only have to meet the code for rehabing the bathroom.
While Smart Codes does not directly address green building principles, by constructing through SC you will earn at least 7 points under LEED. The key is that you not only reuse the existing building, you also earn by reusing the materials in the building.
Johns then went through a series of examples highlighting that SC allows most existing structures and home components to remain the same if structurally sound. For instance, under the old code, if you redo your upstairs bathroom floor, your staircase needed to meet a wide code requirement. Under SC, your current staircase is acceptable so long it is structurally sound.
Johns ended by providing a national perspective. New Jersey is actually the first state to implement a SC Program. After initial studies, they found that the cost of rehabbing reduced by 20%. Here in MD, they're expecting 10% reduction in rehab costs. Since us, NY, RI, NC, and others have implemented similar SC Programs. Another approach on the horizon is national organizations are currently writing codes that local governments could adopt in total. This opens the door down the road when MD might have to choose the existing SC or adopt one of the national models. This is somewhat premature, but the fact is that local governments are realizing the great potential of implementing this code approach. The 2 national models will be out 2003.
To get the word out on Smart Codes and their impact here in Maryland, DHCD is conducting 16 training sessions for code officials, builders, and any other interested professionals. Check out this website for details: www.dhcd.state.md.us/smartcodes. There is also a Smart Codes hotline for ANY question - regardless of difficulty at 866-424-6269. For more information, please contact Johns at Hopkins@dhcd.state.md.us.
In addition to Maryland’s Smart Codes Program, Rich Dooley of the NAHB Research Center passed along a report prepared for HUD on Smart Codes in Your Community. A copy of the report is attached.