Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Montgomery County Maryland Green Building Requirements

Just in case you didn't know, Montgomery County requires all new County funded buildings to acheive at least a LEED Silver rating. Here is a quote from their website:

"Montgomery County, Division of Building Design and Construction is committed to providing leadership which will foster conservation, protection and improvement of the environment by planning, designing, constructing and maintaining buildings that are energy efficient, environmentally friendly and resource-efficient.
In April 25, 2006 a bill was introduced, enacted Nov. 28, 2006 and become effective March 1, 2007 that requires the following for County built or funded buildings:
  • Achieve at least a LEED-certified rating, or the equivalent, if its design is initially funded in the capital budget in Fiscal Year 2008. If its design is initially funded in Fiscal Year 2009 or later, a County-built or -funded building must achieve a LEED-silver or equivalent rating.
  • If a County-built or -funded building is not included in the capital budget, the building must achieve a LEED-silver rating or the equivalent if its building permit application is filed on or after either one year after the Council approves the implementing regulations; or  September 1, 2008, whichever occurs first. 
  • To view the regulations, please visit the Department of Permitting Services.
The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System was developed by the United State Green Buildings Council (USGBC). It identifies criteria that positively impact the energy and environmental characteristics of a building, including sustainability of a site, water efficiency, energy efficiency, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality."


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Savings

Ok, I know that at the beginning of summer you are probably thinking of your vacation not your taxes. But there are a lot of tax breaks available at the federal level to help you save money and go green at the same time. No is a great time to think about these tax benefits because it gives you enough time to plan and apply for the credits. Maybe you could use the extra green you save by spending a few extra days on the beach. Here are a few ways you can use these tax benefits to your advantage:

1. Start improving your home:
Energy saving air conditioning, insulation, new windows, can all qualify for a tax credit of up to $500, or 10% of the installation costs. There are a few stipulations, however, you can't claim the credit if you have claimed $500 or more in home energy credits in the past. The amount of credit the government offers has decreased over the years so make sure you take advantage of it before it is gone!
2. Electric Cars
Out with the hybrids in with the plug-ins! You can get a $7,500 tax credit if you purchase a new plug-in electric vehicle. The credit can only be used to reduce the taxes you pay and can not be refunded or carried forward.

3. Residential Charging Stations:
But how will you keep your new electric car ready to roll? You're in luck! There is a 2011 federal tax credit for installing a residential electric car charger. The credit is good for up to 30% off the installation costs up to $1000. This credit is only good until the end of 2011, so this is another one to take advantage of ASAP.

4.Car Conversion:
Not interested in buying a new car? Why not convert your gas-guzzler to a more efficient electric car. Install a conversion kit and you get a tax credit for 10% of the costs up to $4000. This is another credit set to expire at the end of 2011 so act fast.

5. Home Solar
Air conditioning on high blast making those electric bills soar? If you install solar panels, you get a tax credit of 30% off the total price. To make the deal even sweeter, the credit can be rolled over to apply to next years taxes if you can't use it all at once. The solar panel credit doesn't expire until 2016, but since installation is a long process, you might want to start thinking about it now.

I'd love to find more ways to go green, if you have some please share!