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Incentives/Policies for Energy Efficiency

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Howard County - High Performance and Green Building Property Tax Credit   

Last DSIRE Review: 07/23/2012
Program Overview:
State: Maryland
Incentive Type: Property Tax Incentive
Eligible Efficiency Technologies: Comprehensive Measures/Whole Building
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Passive Solar Space Heat, Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Photovoltaics, Wind, Biomass, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Daylighting, Small Hydroelectric
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Residential, Multi-Family Residential
Amount:High Performance Buildings (except R-2, R-3 buildings): credit of 10% to 75% of taxes owed for 3 to 5 years; varies by building type and building rating
High Performance R-2, R-3 Buildings: credit of 19% to 100% of taxes owed for 4 years; varies by building rating and declines for each year claimed (i.e., the Year 2 % is less than Year 1)
Green Buildings (w/energy conservation devices): credit of 14% - 20% of cost of device for 3 years; varies by building rating
Maximum Incentive:High Performance Buildings (except R-2, R-3 buildings): none specified
High Performance R-2, R-3 Buildings: $5,000 per building or owner-occupied unit
Green Buildings (w/energy conservation devices): limited to assessed property taxes on the structure
Equipment Requirements:High Performance Buildings: Building must meet minimum LEED Silver (2009 CS, EB, or LEED for Homes); NGBC Silver or equivalent standard allowed if adopted by the director of inspections, licenses and permits
Green Buildings (w/energy conservation devices): Buildings must be LEED certified at a minimum.
Start Date:High Performance Buildings: 07/01/2008
High Performance R-2, R-3 buildings: 06/30/2012
Web Site:
Authority 1:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
Expiration Date:
Howard County Code § 20.129B
07/30/2007 (subsequently amended)
07/01/2008 (general); 06/30/2012 (R-2, R-3 buildings)
06/30/2017 (R-2, R-3 buildings)
Authority 2:
Date Enacted:
Howard County Code § 20.119
2002 (subsequently amended)

The state of Maryland permits local governments (Md Code: Property Tax § 9-242) to offer property tax credits for high performance buildings and energy conservation devices (Md Code: Property Tax § 9-203) if they choose to do so. Howard County has exercised this option by offering property tax credits for new and existing multi-family residential and commercial buildings that meet certain high performance building standards, and for the installation of energy conservation devices in LEED-certified structures. The property tax credit for energy conservation devices in green buildings (the Green Building Tax Credit) was initially enacted in 2002, while the High Performance Building Tax Credit was enacted in 2007 (effective beginning in July 2008). Minor amendments were made in 2009 to update the High Performance Buildings Tax Credit to reflect current green building standards. More substantive amendments were made in December 2011 to extend the property tax credit to residential structures classified as R-2 or R-3 under the Howard County Building Code, effective for tax years beginning after June 30, 2012 and extending through June 30, 2017.

High Performance Buildings Tax Credit
This tax credit generally uses the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED rating system as a metric for determining how "green"' a building is, although buildings that achieve comparable ratings under other green building standards are also eligible for the tax credit. Tax credits are available for buildings that achieve minimum ratings under the 2009 LEED Core and Shell (CS), Existing Building (EB) or LEED for Homes categories (R-2 and R-3 buildings), or that meet a comparable standard adopted by the director of inspections, licenses and permits. The amount and term of the tax credit varies based on the type project, the rating it achieves, and in the case of R-2 and R-3 buildings declines in successive years, as detailed in the table below.

Certification Type Amount Term
2009 LEED-CS Platinum 75% 5 years
2009 LEED-CS Gold 50% 5 years
2009 LEED-CS Silver 25% 5 years
2009 LEED-EB Platinum 50% 3 years
2009 LEED-EB-Gold 25% 3 years
2009 LEED-EB Silver 10% 3 years
LEED for Homes Platinum Y1: 100%; Y2: 75%; Y3: 50%; Y4: 25% 4 years
LEED for Homes Gold Y1: 90%; Y2: 68%; Y3: 45%; Y4: 23% 4 years
LEED for Homes Silver Y1: 75%; Y2: 56%; Y3: 38%; Y4: 19% 4 years

Tax credits claimed under this program remain attached to the property and are not affected by any change in building ownership. The program is administered by the Howard County Department of Finance. Credits for R-2 and R-3 buildings are limited to $5,000 per building or owner-occupied unit per fiscal year. No maximum credit limits are specified for other types of buildings. The Department of Finance is permitted adopt guidelines, regulations, or procedures to administer the program.

Green Buildings Tax Credit
A separate property tax credit is available for the installation of energy conservation devices that receive LEED credit and provide heating, cooling, or hot water in LEED-certified buildings. This credit, which may be claimed for three consecutive years, is only available to property owners that are not eligible for the high performance building property tax credit described above. The definition of energy conservation device includes but is not limited to solar and geothermal energy systems. The amount of the tax credit is determined as a percentage of the cost of a qualifying energy conservation device which varies based on the LEED certification level of the structure, as shown in the table below.

Certification Type
Credit Amount Term
LEED Certified 14% 3 years
LEED Silver 16% 3 years
LEED Gold 18% 3 years
LEED Platinum 20% 3 years


  Taxpayer Information - High Performance Buildings Tax Credit
Howard County Government
Department of Finance
3430 Courthouse Drive
Ellicott City, MD 21043
Phone: (410) 313-3196
Web Site:
  Taxpayer Information - Green Buildings Tax Credit
Howard County Government
Department of Finance
3430 Courthouse Drive
Ellicott City, MD 21034
Phone: (410) 313-4075
Web Site:
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

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