In November 2003, Maine's governor signed an executive order directing that Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards be incorporated into the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of any new, expanded, or existing building owned or operated by any state agency, board, office, commission, or department, including institutions of higher learning, provided that doing so is cost-effective over the life of the building.
The order directs all branches of state government to cooperate with the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services in supplying the department with the necessary resources, information, and other assistance to meet these requirements. School administrative districts and municipalities are not required to comply with these standards under this order.
Maine Statutes Title 5, Section 1764-A also requires all planning and design for the construction of new or substantially renovated buildings owned or leased by the state include: 1) the consideration of energy efficiency, 2) an energy-use target that exceeds standards for commercial and institutional buildings by at least 20%, and 3) a life-cycle cost analysis over a minimum of 30 years that explicitly addresses the costs and benefits of efficiency improvements.
In addition, on March 17, 2005, the governor of Maine announced that the state would join the federal "Energy Star Challenge." As part of this partnership, the state is committed to encouraging building owners and operators throughout Maine to improve energy efficiency by 10% or more using performance contracting and other mechanisms. The state will also measure and track energy use and greenhouse-gas emissions from government buildings and identify the best ways to improve energy efficiency in those buildings.
The statewide energy requirements may be modified or changed by legislative action at the state level. Those changes may be proposed whenever the legislature is in session.
The Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) may adopt rules to define terms used in the legislation and to clarify the intent of the energy code. In some instances, the legislature has granted specific authority for the DECD to adopt rules within a well-defined scope. The law automatically adopts the current version of ASHRAE/IESNA 90.1 for the commercial and institutional energy code.
Local municipalities may adopt either the statewide requirements or another more restrictive standard.
The Energy Conservation Division of the DECD is responsible for administering and enforcing the energy requirements. If the building owner does not comply with these requirements, then a penalty equaling up to 5% of the value of the building may be enforced. The DECD may review plans and inspect for compliance; however, limited funding and staff have prevented plan reviews and inspections.
Enforcement is optional in towns with less than 2000 residents.
In a municipality that has more than 2000 residents and that has adopted any building code by August 1, 2008, the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code must be enforced beginning December 1, 2010.
In a municipality that has more than 2,000 residents and that has not adopted any building code by August 1, 2008, the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code must be enforced beginning July 1, 2012.
New commercial and institutional construction must conform to the current ASHRAE 90.1 standard using any of the ASHRAE compliance paths. No state-required plan reviews or permits are required. All commercial construction must be designed by an architect or engineer, and it is suggested that local code officials look for certification of compliance. Prior to installing permanent electrical service, the owner, or the owner's legal agent, of commercial or institutional buildings constructed after October 13, 1993, must certify that the building complies with the energy standards.
The building contractor and owner are encouraged to have a contract, but may agree not to have one. Residential building contractors must sign a contract for any work over $1,400. One provision of the contract is to state whether or not the building complies with the minimum energy efficiency standards. No notifications or compliance documents are submitted to the state.
In 1977, the state legislature adopted what is now Chapter 57 of the Private and Special Laws, which directed the Office of Energy Resources (OER) to establish the Maine Commission on Energy Efficiency Building Performance Standards (the Commission). The Commission was directed to investigate energy building standards and make recommendations to the next biennial legislature.
In 1979, The Energy Building Performance Standards Act (PL 503), established 10 MRSA, Chapter 214, which directed the OER to adopt voluntary energy standards for residential and commercial new construction and substantial renovations. The Act also established the Advisory Council on Energy Efficiency Building Performance Standards, which was empowered to approve all rules promulgated under Chapter 214.
The OER and the Commission recommended standards that were approved as the "Energy Conservation Building Standards." The standards applied to all buildings offered for sale or lease that were promoted as meeting these standards. It was the responsibility of the OER to administer and enforce the standards.
In 1980, the legislature adopted the voluntary standards into law.
In 1985, the legislature required that the OER establish mandatory standards for all publicly funded buildings and maintain voluntary standards for all other buildings. The Advisory Council appointed a Task Force on Energy Efficiency Building Standards to recommend current standards. New standards based on ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90A-1980 and ASHRAE/IES Standard 90B-1975 were approved effective January 1, 1987.
Effective January 1, 1989, a state law established statewide minimum standards for some residential and all commercial and institutional new construction. Residential buildings were required to be insulated to prescribed levels. Commercial and institutional buildings were required to meet the current version of ASHRAE 90.
Effective January 1, 1990, the Office of Energy Resources was closed and its responsibilities and some of the staff transferred to the DECD.
New construction or substantial renovation of any commercial building undertaken after January 1, 2004 must conform to ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2001 or 2003 IECC and ASHRAE Standard 62-2001. "Substantial Renovation" means any renovation for which the cost exceeds 50% of the buildings current value prior to renovation.
On April 24, 2008, the state legislature established the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code, setting the 2009 versions of the IECC, IBC, IRC, IEBC, and ASHRAE 90.1 as the mandatory building code standards for residential and commercial buildings statewide. This statute provides express limitations on municipal home rule authority.
Beginning July 1, 2010, the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code must be enforced in municipalities that have more than 2,000 residents and that have adopted any building code by August 1, 2008.
Beginning July 1, 2012, the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code must be enforced in municipalities that have more than 2,000 residents and that have not adopted any building code by August 1, 2008. Communities smaller than 2000 residents are exempt.
This is the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code adoption and implementation schedule:
- April 2008: Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code Act signed into law.
- Fall 2008: Technical Building Codes and Standards Board appointed by the Governor and Building Codes and Standards Staff hired by Department of Public Safety.
- February 2009: ICC releases draft 2009 versions of IBC for review and comment by the public. Board begins review, amendment, and adoption process.
- June 2009: Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code 2009 version adopted with six month grace period for continued use of existing municipal and state agency adopted building codes.
The Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code goes into effect statewide June 1, 2010, replacing all state and locally adopted versions of building codes. Local codes remain in effect until the state code is adopted.
June 1, 2010, 2009 IECC and ASHRAE 90.1-2007 to be adopted by Technical Building Codes and Standards Board
December 1, 2010, Municipal enforcement of new code began. During 2010, the State Planning Office, in consultation with the training committee of the Technical Building Codes and Standards Board, developed a training program to assist CEOs and building officials with enforcing the new code.
As of September 28, 2011, municipalities over 4,000 in population were required to enforce the new code if they had a building code in place by August 2008. Municipalities under 4,000 are not required to enforce it unless they wish to do so and have the following options:
1. Adopt and enforce the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code
2. Adopt and enforce the Maine Uniform Building Code (the building code without energy)
3. Adopt and enforce the Maine Uniform Energy Code (energy code only)
4. Have no code.