Rockville offering tax breaks for ‘green’ building upgrades -- Gazette.Net


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Rockville is aiming to give companies looking to make earth-friendly improvements to their buildings a nudge in the right direction.

The city is offering tax credits to offset some of the costs of renovating old commercial buildings to make them more energy efficient. Buildings that achieve Energy Star or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification for their renovations can apply for the credit.

Mark Charles, the city’s chief of environmental management, said officials want to target businesses that are on the fence about upgrading their buildings.

“This is an incentive. It helps make up their mind about that,” he said.

In exchange, Charles said, the city gets better buildings.

“It attracts other tenants, other businesses who want to work and live in a green building, so that adds to the attraction of Rockville as a place to either locate your family or locate your business,” he said. “We’re always on the lookout for partnering ... sustainability with economic engines and economic expansion, and where they both cross over is kind of the sweet spot.”

Rockville has budgeted $60,000 for the program this year, with funds made available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Funds in future years would have to be included in the budget by the Mayor and Council.

The credits will be distributed as refunds on companies’ tax bills each year for a five-year period. Buildings that receive LEED silver designation would be eligible for a refund on their taxes each year equal to what the owner spent on qualifying improvements. LEED gold buildings would get 10 percent and LEED platinum buildings would get 15 percent of the cost of the improvement.

The maximum refund a building could get is $300,000 over the five-year period if they spent at least $400,000 on improvements and achieved LEED platinum certification.

The program is currently a five-year pilot, but if the program is successful and attracts a lot of interest, Charles said the Mayor and Council could choose to extend it.

To learn more about the program and see complete eligibility requirements, visit rockvillemd.gov/greentaxcredit.

ewaibel@gazette.net