Green building techniques use environmentally sustainable materials to construct buildings that conserve resources and save energy, both in their construction and in their operation, and provide healthy living or working space.
Howard County is a leader in building “green” in public spaces:
- 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.
Howard County provides tax credits for these “high performance buildings”. Qualifying commercial and residential buildings receive tax credits when the buildings are built to certain LEED and equivalent standards. For more information about the high performance building credits, please visit Howard County’s Finance Department page.
Maryland’s state government 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. The Maryland Energy Administration offers incentives such as tax credits and rebates for energy efficiency. Please visit their website for details on state residential and business programs. and the Commercial Clean Energy Grant Program.
Howard County’s unique and voluntary Green Neighborhood Program provides allocations for the design and construction of homes meeting specific environmentally-focused criteria. These developments can use this certification in marketing their communities and may also qualify for fast track plan processing.
Howard County created a Green Neighborhood Checklist that provides a list of options to create a Green Neighborhood Site and Home. The checklist includes a variety of environmentally responsible criteria such as paths and trails, open space, environmental preservation, appropriate landscaping, water and energy efficiency and waste management.
Please visit the Green Neighborhood page of the Department of Inspection, Licenses, and Permits for more information about the Green Neighborhood guidance documents and the Green Neighborhood Checklist. Howard County’s Department of Planning and Zoning also has a webpage that includes information about Green Neighborhoods including contact info and guidance documents found under Program Documents.
Locust Chapel is the first Howard County’s neighborhood to achieve Green Neighborhood status. Locust Chapel is reducing stormwater runoff, conserving water and energy, and promoting sustainable practices like growing food. All while encouraging green and neighborly interactions between residents and their surroundings.
The neighborhood’s pavilion satisfies the “Green Spaces and Amenity Areas” credit and features a green roof, picnic tables, and solar panels to power the pavilion’s ceiling fans and lights. What water is not absorbed by the green roof is captured by rain barrels which can be used for watering landscaping or the community garden. Nature path helps connect areas of the neighborhood with a natural surface walking trail. The trail earned Locust Chapel points for the “Pedestrian System” credit.