Under its Green Building Code, the City of Portland, Maine requires all new construction and renovation projects having total construction costs of greater than $250,000 to attain United States Green Building Council’s (USBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification at the Silver level, if the project is either: (1) to be owned or occupied by the City and is of at least 5,000 square feet in floor area; or (2) to be funded in whole or in part by the City and is of at least 10,000 square feet in floor area. Buildings must also earn the minimum number of points necessary under the LEED “Optimize Energy Performance” credit to meet the targets of the 2030 Challenge established by Architecture 2030.
The Green Building Code also contains a number of submittal requirements both at the beginning and end of the development process. Upon submission of a building permit application, applicants falling under this regulation must also submit a LEED checklist and a narrative description detailing how the selected points will be achieved (including the points necessary to meet the 2030 Challenge). In order to receive a certificate of occupancy, a copy of the final LEED documentation submitted to the USGBC must also be submitted to the certifying municipal entity. If necessary, a temporary certificate of occupancy may be issued until final documentation is submitted to the USGBC.
Developers may waive the LEED certification requirement in an emergency situation or under documented circumstances showing that compliance would be cost prohibitive or create an unreasonable burden on the construction project or city; have a negative impact on an historic structure; or, if due to specific circumstances, would defeat the intent of LEED certification. However, if a waiver is granted, a reasonable effort must still be made to maximize the number of LEED points attained by the project.