Baltimore County, Maryland is part of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan area. As of 2004 Baltimore County’s population was estimated to be 763,181. Baltimore County’s boundaries do not actually include the City of Baltimore. The northern regions of Baltimore County are primarily rural, home to old deciduous forests. The County’s population density is 1,260 people per square mile, and the County has a total area of 682 square miles.
Baltimore County’s green building incentives come in the form of property tax. Properties that may receive tax breaks based on Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) compliance are divided into two groups, High Performance Buildings [commercial] and High Performance Residential. The County does not mandate compliance, however LEED accreditation comes with very significant tax breaks. The Office of Budget and Finance oversees the tax incentive program. The duration of Baltimore’s tax incentive is limited; tax credits are authorized for a maximum of five years and a minimum of three years, depending on the category of LEED design undertaken.
The tax credit is determined as a percentage of the total County property tax assessed on the high performance building, in which the percentage of tax relief increases with each higher level of LEED certification achieved. For example, LEED New Construction (NC) would allow for a 50% tax credit on LEED certified Silver buildings, 60% for LEED certified Gold, and 80% for LEED certified Platinum. Whereas LEED Core and Shell (CS) would allow for a 40% tax credit on LEED certified Silver buildings, 50% for LEED certified Gold, and 70% for LEED certified Platinum.
High Performance Buildings qualify for tax credits for achieving LEED accreditation under various LEED design standards such as: LEED for New Construction, Core and Shell, or Existing Building. High Performance Buildings are allowed a very palatable yearly maximum tax credit of $5,000,000; High Performance Homes are allowed a generous maximum of $1,000,000. The High Performance Homes standard only applies to new residential structures (New Construction), and bars existing residential homes from any tax benefit.
Both the High Performance Buildings and Homes ordinances follow the same general requirements with respect to deadline for application, proof, and review. These requirements include: only one tax credit per building; the tax credits remain with the property, and a change in ownership does not result in a lapse of the tax credit; the deadline for filing for the tax credit and application must be filed on or before June 1 immediately preceding the first taxable year for which the tax credit is sought; and decisions regarding tax credit are appealable.