Howard County - High Performance and Green Building Property Tax Credit

Program Howard County - High Performance and Green Building Property Tax Credit
Category Financial Incentive
Implementing sector Local
Last Update
State Maryland
Administrator Howard County Government
Technologies Solar - Passive, Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Photovoltaics, Daylighting
Sectors Residential

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, 2023.

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


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