FAQs / Definitions

Do we know any numbers for LEED silver certification fail rate?
No, USGBC has no data on fail rates for projects that go thru the process or projects that are registered but fail to complete the process.

What big changes are going on with Baltimore City that effect how we’ll work?
1. Zoning Rewrite
2. Baltimore Sustainability Plan Goals

When is the Certificate of Occupancy awarded?
Both LEED and BCGBS registered buildings receive their Certificate of Occupancy after construction is completed and the Fire Marshall signs off. The difference between the two is that Certification under BCGBS is awarded at the same time as the C of O, while LEED certification comes months afterwards. If the building fails to achieve a LEED silver rating the owner has a window to improve upon the building to get it up to the LEED Silver or a BCGBS 2-Star or be faced with citations, fines and an additional review process. BCGBS was not created to deter builders and owners from using the LEED system, but the law does requires design and construction to a LEED Silver of equivalent standard.

What about small TFO’s?
Unless the TFO is 50% or more of the total building GSF then it does not have to be built to BCGBS 2-Star rating.

Why is there a one star in the rating system if you have to get two stars under the City Standards?
In the future we hope to develop a rating system for residential work, which would make use of the one star as its minimum.

Will the Federal GSA and other Maryland state agencies accept the Standards as equivalent to a LEED® Silver rating?
It is TerraLogos’ understanding that for GSA projects, if the government legislatively recognizes their standards as equal to LEED, then that satisfies the GSA.  However, this issue is a bit of a moving target and the city is looking into the legal definitions for acceptance of the Standards by state agencies and other governmental organizations.   Please contact TerraLogos for clarifications or check back for updates to this question.

Is there an Alternate Compliance Path for structured parking?
No, there are LEED rated structured parking garages or decks currently certified.  This building type can be designed and constructed to meet the BCGBS criteria.  Primarily, energy efficiency should be demonstrated through the energy model and a focus on small conditioned spaces, ventilation equipment and the lighting.   To accomplish this successfully, the energy model should take into consideration the small conditioned spaces and the lighting energy savings. BCGBS also allows the use of simpler energy modeling programs.    

Are there any incentives for going above and beyond a 2-Star Rating?
The BCGBS does not use incentives for any rating other than the benefits accrued to owners and occupants of using a green facility and the marketing value for demonstrating a green building that goes beyond the city required minimum of 2-Green Stars or LEED® Silver ratings.

What is a Standards Verification Package?
Applicants develop and submit a Standards Verification Package (SVP) which includes the Applicant Scorecard and credit verification forms and all documentation of how the team will meet either the Standards or the LEED® rating prerequisites, required credits and credit criteria. The SVP is submitted with the Building Permit Application and the requisite plan sets and specifications required for a building permit review.  One-Stop Shop processes the Building Permit Application and forwards it to Plans Examining.  Plans Examining then reviews the SVP as part of the regular building permit review process.

What about templates?
The Templates are similar to the LEED Online templates and are a standard format for several credits primarily dealing with energy use and verification of energy savings.  Additional templates will be developed as needed and applicants can add supporting documentation to demonstrate compliance or verification by using the Credit Narrative Summary form. 

The HCD Online Scorecard makes available the pertinent credit Template when the credit is selected by the Project Team.  The templates are writeable PDFs files that need to be downloaded, filled in and included in the project SVP.

Will the BCGBS change the permitting process?
The review of BCGBS projects by Plans Examining (PE) has been designed to work within the timeframe and process of the regular permit review process.  HCD has stated that their reviews will proceed as scheduled for reviews conducted by Plans Examining.  When plan sets go outside of the department for something such as the DPW or Transportation review, PE has no control over their schedule.  PE reviews structural, architectural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing, life safety and now, green building practices as defined by the BCGBS. 

How is the city preparing the inspectors?
Currently they are being trained by a LEED AP and BCGBS expert.  Planned for the future is continuing education and on-going training, technical support and case study reviews as the process is refined.

What if the CCE Inspectors tell you something different onsite?
Plans that are approved are to be built as designed. If an inspector tells the contractor something different in the field than what Plans Examining approved, then the project manager should bring the discrepancy to the attention of Plans Examining for resolution.  Inspectors do not have the authority to make field changes to the approved design.  

Who do we go to when we run into problems?
Contact HCD directly, ask questions and explain the problem to Plans Examining.  General contact questions are sent to GreenBuildingStandards@baltimorecity.gov .

Will Baltimore city now accept green roof installations as part of storm water management?
Projects have been approved using green roofs for SWM and protocols are in place to continue to employ and approve this practice. In addition, water gardens, bio-retention areas are being evaluated for SWM compliance. The BCGBS are intended to evolve with improving technologies and knowledge as the green building industry matures.

What is a pledge point?
The Standards have a “future use” credits that award additional points to for practices that maintain on-going sustainability of the property.  “Pledge Point” credits are included to promote long term sustainable operations and maintenance procedures by building owners, such as implementing a “green” cleaning program.  Pledge Point credits represent a future commitment to the City to maintain and operate a green facility.  The Owner of the property bears the burden of proof in securing Pledge Points and scheduling the post-occupancy inspections.

Projects that fail to meet the Standards 2 Green Star rating can add Pledge Points after construction is complete.  In this case, credit point shortfalls shall be determined after Construction Code Enforcement completes all construction inspections and Super-Commissioning activities.  Projects that fail to meet the Standards minimum 65 credit points and all Required Credits will not receive a Certificate of Occupancy until equivalent Pledge Points are committed to and the credit criteria documented for each deficient point is submitted to Plans Examining for review. 


What are “Innovation + Creativity Credits”?
In both LEED & BCGBS, the intent of Innovation in Credits is to provide design teams and projects the opportunity to be awarded points for exceptional performance above the requirements set by the rating system and/or innovative performance in green building categories not specifically addressed. In BCGBS any LEED program can be “mined” for potential IC credits.