Green Building Special Spotlight: Government Programs

Maryland Smart Growth Program

Since 1997, Governor Glendening has spearheaded the nation’s most comprehensive smart growth program in the state of Maryland. The award-winning “Smart Growth and Neighborhood Conservation Program” provides incentives to attract commercial and residential growth in communities with existing infrastructure and away from undeveloped areas. [sorry this link is no longer available]

In March, the governor announced that Baltimore’s largest office building – a $75 million complex called Montgomery Park – will be a green renovation of a vacant 1.3 million square foot building. The Maryland Department of the Environment will occupy 262,000 square feet of floor space. The building’s energy efficiency features such as extensive daylighting, and insulating glass and sensors, will reduce energy costs from the $2 per square foot of a typical comparable building to about 98 cents a square foot annually. Recycled materials will be used throughout the building in partitions, ceiling tiles and carpet. Collected rainwater will be used to flush toilets. Contractors expect to salvage about 75 percent of the demolition debris.

Also in March, Governor Glendening signed an executive order that creates a commission to recommend criteria for a comprehensive energy conservation strategy, green buildings and for the purchase of renewable energy. Said Governor Glendening, “While Smart Growth focuses on where we build, our green building initiative focuses on how we build.” It calls for a minimum of 6 percent of state facility electricity to be produced by renewable sources, only half of which may come from municipal solid waste combustion. The 16-member Maryland Green Buildings Council is charged with developing a High Efficiency Green Buildings Program to guide the design, construction and maintenance of all new and renovated state facilities.

Specific goals outlined in the Executive Order fulfill the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement, a landmark pact among Mid-Atlantic states to redirect land use and conservation policies to significantly reduce the release of pollutants into Chesapeake Bay. Energy consumption in state buildings must be reduced by 10% a square foot by 2005, and by 15% per square foot by 2010 (based on 2000 figures) and all new equipment must be Energy Star certified. By January 2003, all state agencies must reduce their waste by at least 20%. The Executive Order also makes it easier for the state to purchase alternative-fuel and low-emission vehicles for its fleet.

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Portland, Oregon’s New Green Building Policy

The City of Portland, Oregon stepped out years ago as the first city to draw an “Urban Growth Boundary.” It has invested in light rail and many other environmental programs. The newly formed Office of Sustainable Development folds in the Energy Office and Solid Waste and Recycling Division, and adds a Green Building Division. In January, Portland adopted a “Green Building Standard and Policy” which requires all municipal projects (new or renovated) be certified by the Portland LEED Green Building Rating System. The City will also promote private sector adoption of LEED.

Commissioner Dan Saltzman said, “This policy is the City of Portland’s emphatic statement that it will not contribute to the environmental degradation associated with traditional building practices or construct inefficient, resource-depleting facilities that threaten people’s health and productivity.”

The City plans to reap many annual benefits from adopting green practices in 600 housing units and 3 million square feet of government, commercial, and mixed-use space:

8 million gallons of water saved
10 million kWh of electricity saved
170,000 therms of natural gas saved
$1,000,000 in utility bill savings
30 million gallons of stormwater managed
5900 metric tons of CO2 reduced

The policy also directs the Portland Development Commission to integrate green building practices in all program areas, such as development loans, urban renewal projects, and affordable housing.

In February, “G/Rated” launched, which offers technical support and financial incentives for resource and energy-efficient site design and construction practices. Commercial projects can apply for a maximum of $20,000 to cover energy modeling, green design consulting, and LEED certification costs. Residential projects can receive up to $3,000 when they meet program requirements. G/Rated was created through extensive collaboration among city agencies and an advisory committee of 160 stakeholders including developers, architects, engineers and NGOs.

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