Under the bill, owners of newly built homes that meet the "silver" standard in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED certification, awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council, could receive up to a 25 percent discount on their county property tax bill, while homes with the highest LEED rating could earn a 75 percent discount the first year.
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED certification indicates that the building being certified achieves sustainability by meeting criteria in the following categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, locations and linkages, awareness and education, innovation in design, and regional priority. Buildings are scored on a scale of 0-100; the higher the score, the better the property meets sustainability standards under the LEED rubric. The resulting scores are then classified as silver, gold, or platinum.
The proposed tax credit in Howard County would provide homeowners who have achieved different levels of certification with different tax credits. According to the Sun,
USGBC has a Maryland branch, which can provide individuals with more detailed information about LEED certification in Howard County."The legislation would give homeowners in Howard who have a LEED-certified silver rating a 25 percent tax credit. Those with "gold" certifications would receive a 50 percent discount, and "platinum" ratings would yield a 75 percent discount against county property taxes.... After the second year registering for the credit, a homeowner would have a 25 percent decrease each year, lowering their tax credit allotment. After four years, the credit would expire."