Green Buildings and Neighborhoods
Green building techniques use environmentally sustainable materials to construct buildings that conserve resources, both in their construction and in their future operation, and provide healthy living or working space. Howard County green building requirements and State and local tax credits are based on the United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Guidelines. Information about LEED Guidelines is available at: U.S. Green Building Council. Additional information about green building techniques is available through the Maryland Department of Natural Resources at: Maryland Environmental Design Program.
Green Building Requirements
Council Bill No. 47-2007, passed on July 30, 2007, establishes green building standards for public and private buildings in Howard County. Effective July 1, 2008:
- Most new publicly funded buildings (30% or more County funding), larger than 10,000 square feet must attain a LEED Silver rating.
- Most new private buildings larger than 50,000 square feet must attain a LEED Certified rating.
Green Neighborhoods | Susan Overstreet | 410-313-4345
As part of County Executive Ken Ulman’s initiative to make Howard County a model Green Community, the County Executive introduced and the County Council approved several pieces of legislation to establish a Green Neighborhood Program. Council Bill No. 48-2007, passed on July 30, 2007, creates a Green Neighborhood Allocation and Council Resolution No. 90-2007 adopts a Housing Unit Allocation Chart for Fiscal Year 2008 that contains 100 Green Neighborhood Allocations. Council Resolution No. 116-2007, adopted on October 1, 2007, creates a Green Neighborhood Checklist that provides a list of options to create a Green Neighborhood Site and Home.
A residential development project is eligible to receive Green Neighborhood Allocations if the project achieves a minimum of 90 points out of a total of 167 possible points on the Green Neighborhood Sites portion of the Green Neighborhood Checklist. A residential development project that has received Green Neighborhood Allocations must achieve a minimum of 46 points out of a total of 84 possible points from the Green Neighborhood Home portion of the Green Neighborhood Checklist, in order to be eligible for a Building Permit and subsequent Use and Occupancy Permit.
Green Neighborhood Guidance Document for Sites
In August 2008, the Department of Planning and Zoning announced the release of the Green Neighborhood Guidance Document for Sites, which outlines in detail each available credit listed on the Sites portion of the checklist, including the intent, criteria to be met, and any required submittals. The Document also provides templates for calculations and answers frequently asked questions.
The Department of Planning and Zoning authorized the Green Neighborhood Guidance Document for Sites Addendum in June 2009. The Addendum updates Credits B-4 Proximity to Community Resources, C-3b Pedestrian System (Connections), F-1 Rainwater Harvesting System and G-2 Solar Orientation.
The following are supplementary documents referenced in the Green Neighborhood Guidance Document for Sites:
Green Neighborhood Checklist
Green Neighborhood Site Compliance Checklist
Project Description Form
Habitat Management Agreement
Native Plant List
Invasive Exotic Plant List
Template A-4 a-d: Innovative Design
Template G-1: Light Pollution Reduction
Template H-1: Environmentally Preferable Site Products
Template H-2: Reduce Heat-Island Effect of Paving
Template H-4: Regionally Provided Materials
The Green Neighborhood Guidance Document for Homes is available through the Department of Inspections, Licenses, and Permits.
As an incentive to encourage green buildings that exceed Howard County LEED certification requirements, the County also offers property tax credits for green buildings. Council Bill 49-2007, passed on July 30, 2007, establishes tax credits for green buildings, effective July 1, 2008:
- Any new construction (using LEED-New Construction or LEED-Core and Shell) can receive a 5-year property tax credit. There is a 25% tax credit for LEED-Silver, 50% for LEED-Gold, and 75% for LEED-Platinum.
- Any existing building (using LEED-Existing Building) can receive a 3-year property tax credit. There is a 10% tax credit for LEED-Silver, 25% for LEED-Gold, and 50% for LEED-Platinum. Buildings can receive the 3-year tax credit after the completion of the 5-year credit, if the building is re-commissioned and receives a LEED-Existing Building certification.
Howard County also offers a three-year property tax credit for an energy conservation device that receives a LEED credit and is used in a LEED certified structure, if that structure is not eligible to receive green building property tax credits. This County tax credit ranges from 14 to 20% of the eligible cost, based on the LEED certification of the building. Section 20.119 of the County Code specifies the terms of this credit.
Additional information about Howard County tax credits is available from the Finance Department by calling 410-313-4075
As an incentive to promote green building, Maryland allows a green building tax credit for businesses that construct or rehabilitate a building conforming to specific standards intended to save energy and mitigate environmental impacts. Please visit the Maryland Energy Administration for more details about tax credits.
In addition to tax credits, the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) operates a Residential Clean Energy Grant Program which provides financial assistance for the installation of solar photovoltaic, solar water heating, geothermal heat pump and wind turbine systems at residences. MEA also offers grants to assist businesses, non-profits, and government entities through the Commercial Clean Energy Grant Program.