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City of Annapolis Green Buildings: Energy Efficiency and Environmental Design

City Of Annapolis   
Urban | Suburban |
The City of Annapolis, the capital of Maryland, is set in the heart of the Chesapeake Bay. Only 29 miles east of Washington D.C., Annapolis has a population of 36,524 people, with a population density of 5,326 people per square mile. Annapolis has several public transportation options, including an eight-route bus system and railway connecting the city to nearby Washington D.C. and Baltimore.

Annapolis uses an integrated approach in regulating the planning, design, and sustainability of buildings. The city’s sustainable building law mandates that three main categories of construction meet green building requirements and standards: (1) all applications for new construction or modification to any type of building greater than 7,500 square feet; (2) all public buildings; and (3) attached single family homes. Each of the three categories sets out different expectations and requirements in construction and modifications.

The larger structures are only required to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification level, or an equivalent, which is identified by the Director of the Department of Neighborhood and Environmental Programs for the City of Annapolis. The City of Annapolis seeks to lead by example in requiring that all its buildings (construction category two) meet LEED-Silver standards or an equivalent. The ordinance mandates that category three projects (smaller-sized residential construction or modifications) simply meet standard LEED-certification. The smaller-sized residential requirement also enumerates five or more types of single or attached homes as falling into the residential category; this is very unique to Annapolis, where attached (row) homes are common and this ordinance looked to capture those building structures. Regardless of the slight deviation in categorical LEED requirements among the categories, the failure to achieve the required LEED level results in the refusal of a Certificate of Occupancy or Final Certificate of Use.

Annapolis’ ordinance emphasizes the application process for developing and constructing sustainable structures. Site plan review is a major part of the requirements for being allowed to build any of the three categories, in which, again the Director of the Department of Neighborhood and Environmental Programs supervises. As part of the application and development process, Annapolis requires a written explanation of how exactly LEED points will be achieved and a LEED score card – further demonstrating the City’s desire for not just a promise, but a definite plan of LEED point achievement.

Two committees are directly involved in establishing and improving Annapolis’ green building requirements. The Housing and Community Development Committee is a city-based committee that reviews city projects and plans, which must meet LEED-Silver requirements. The Environmental Review Committee is required to and responsible for reviewing the City’s existing environmental practices, including green building requirements set forth in the ordinance. This document provides the two ordinances establishing these committees.