Mecklenburg County, which is located in the southwestern portion of North Carolina, contains seven municipalities and includes the state capital, Charlotte. The County has an area of 546 square miles and approximately 953,304 residents, making it the most populous county in North Carolina. As a 50% population increase is projected in the next 25 years, the County is prioritizing the protection of its natural resources. Part of this plan is the County’s Green Permit Fee Rebate Ordinance, which provides reductions or partial rebates of building permit costs as an incentive to builders who meet nationally recognized green building standards, such as LEED or Green Globe. North Carolina State Senate Bill 581 (Session Law 2007-381), which was proposed by the representative from Mecklenburg County, enabled local governments to pass such ordinances.
The Green Permit Fee Rebate Ordinance allows for a reduction or partial rebate of building permit fees on a sliding scale for buildings that are constructed or renovated and meet sustainable design criteria in four varying levels. For example, if a project meets the standards for LEED certification or achieves one Green Globe (versions not specified), then the project can receive a 10% permit fee rebate to a maximum of $50,000. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if the project meets the standards for LEED Platinum certification or achieves four Green Globes, then the project can receive a 25% permit fee rebate to a maximum of $100,000. Though not mentioned specifically in the ordinance, the town advertises that it will also consider ratings given through the green building programs of EarthCraft House (green building program out of Atlanta, Georgia), North Carolina HealthyBuilt Homes, and the National Green Building Program from NAHB (National Home Builders Association).