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City to Propose LEED Standards for College Park Buildings

LEED Silver

As part of the its long term action plan, the City is considering a green building standard, that would require or encourage buildings built within the City or by the City to be built according to a specific Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard. The LEED standard has been developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

If adopted, College Park will follow other major cities, such as New York, that requires many capital projects that involve building construction and that receive city funds to be built in accordance wtih the rigorous standards of the LEED standards. It also requires that most of these projects, as well as larger HVAC, lighting, and plumbing upgrades, be designed to reduce the use of both energy and potable water well beyond that required by the current City building code.

LEED certifications, from lowest to highest, are LEED-certified, LEED silver, LEED gold, and LEED platinum.  Many jurisdictions in the area currently require at least LEED-silver rating for all public buildings, and at least LEED-certified standard for all private buildings. 

 The University of Maryland has shown real leadership in this area, and has one of the area’s few LEED-platinum certified buildings.

The University of Maryland advocacy group UMD for Clean Energy will be presenting research on how a LEED Silver certification requirement for new commercial, municipal and multi-family residential buildings would shape development in College Park. They are presenting in front of the City Council during their Mayor and Council work session on March 15 at 8:00 pm at the College Park City Hall, 4500 Knox Road. The meeting is open to the public.

According to UMD4CE, the group has been working closely with the Committee for a Better Environment (CBE) to get the standard passed. The CBE plans to present a letter of support for the standard at the work session.

Chad Williams, the Planner Coordinator for the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission will also come to speak about how the county will view the proposal. This is of particular importance because the county government has the final say on whether the proposition becomes law.

UMD for Clean Energy proposed a green building standard to the county council last year as well, but the proposal failed. One of the largest concerns was that these standards would drive away business.

To respond to these grievances, the group said it spoke with multiple developers in the region to gauge what the business community thinks of LEED standards. “None of the developers interviewed said they would not have built if they had been required to obtain LEED certifications.” – the group says. 

When interviewed, Terry Schum of College Park Planning Commission said “people choose a location because they like the location,” not because of whether there are requirements.

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