Baltidome Blog | Baltimore Green News

It Is Green If They Say It’s Green: Sustainability -VS- Remington Walmart Complex

It Is Green If They Say It’s Green

Is Baltimore’s Green Building Code Just A Bunch Of Hot Air?

Baltimore’s new building code states –

From July 1, 2009: All buildings (City-owned, City-subsidized, and private) applying for a building permit after this date must be equivalent to a LEED “Silver” level.

LEED “Silver” is a minimum national standard set by the United States Green Building Council for sustainable development.

Baltimore’s Green Building Code sounds like a promising step forward, but residents learned in a recent Baltimore City Planning Commission hearing, that there will be no enforcement of the new code.

At the highly attended hearing on August 5th for the proposed controversial Walmart complex in Remington, developers, city officials, community groups and residents had the opportunity to weigh in on the “25th Street Station” big box project.  In the four hour + hearing, many concerns were raised, ranging from traffic, to parking, to sustainability and beyond.

During community testimony at the hearing, the Planning Commission was presented with concern that the developers were not applying for LEED “Silver” certification for the project and that the proposed development appears to be failing in its method for waste water management of the site.  Despite the developer’s assertions, the project may, in fact, be ineligible for LEED “Silver” standards set by the city.

So, how did the commission respond?

They said there was nothing they could do.  Wilbur Cunningham, the Baltimore Planning Commission chairman, explained that the city is not requiring certification under the newly “imposed” Green Building Standards.

From the “Green Building Requirements FAQ’s” on the Baltimore Planning/Office of Sustainability site:

Will covered buildings be expected to earn certification from the U.S. Green Building Council?

No. The new Baltimore City Green Building Standards are intended to require that covered buildings be designed and built to a certain energy and environmental standard. While it is not necessary for buildings to go through the U.S. Green Building Council’s official Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Project Certification process for the Baltimore requirements, this is a step that building owners may want to pursue. For more information on the LEED Project Certification process, visit the U.S. Green Building Council’s website at

In other words, if the developers say it is green, then it is green -at least according to Baltimore City government.  Since 2007, Baltimore City officials have been working on the new Baltimore Green Building Standards.  The result, it appears, is that for the past several years (on taxpayer dollars) the city has worked to craft and tweak and retweak a plan that, in the end, has no enforcement.


What can you do in regards to the proposed 25th Street Station project?

Contact your Baltimore City Council Member and demand an amendment to the 25th Street Station PUD (Planned Unit Development) that includes a LEED “Silver” Certification requirement for the project.  This will not be a big concession for the developers –if the project meets the Baltimore Green Building Standards as they say it does.

If this is a matter of great importance to you, consider explaining to your city council person how this could affect your support for them in the upcoming election.  To do a search for your city council person, CLICK HERE.

To learn more about efforts to include a Community Benefits Agreement in the 25th Street Station PUD, CLICK HERE.



7 Comments so far
Leave a comment

This is an excellent article — forward to all your friends. How will the city ever come into compliance with the sustainability and energy needs of the 21st century if the city doesn’t put any teeth into its requirements?

Comment by Betty Robinson

[…] being certified by the USGBC, and may not be properly managing its wastewater.  According to Baltidome: […]

Pingback by The Spirit Of The Law–Is Baltimore’s Proposed Project Green? | CleanTechies Blog -

[…] challenged Baltimore’s enforcement of the city’s green building code with respect to a new […]

Pingback by Oh Right! Enforcement! We Forgot | CleanTechies Blog -

This is excellent information! Where as well can if ind out more?? Who runs this joint also? Keep up the good work.

Comment by fishing lure

[…] challenged Baltimore’s enforcement of the city’s green building code with respect to a new […]

Pingback by Oh Right! Enforcement! We Forgot - CleanTechies

Heya excellent blog! Does running a blog similar to this take a
great deal of work? I have absolutely no
knowledge of coding but I was hoping to start my own blog
soon. Anyway, should you have any recommendations
or tips for new blog owners please share. I know
this is off subject but I simply had to ask.

Thank you!

Comment by

[…] In 2009, Baltimore passed an amendment to its building code requiring public and private buildings above 10,000 gross square feet to "be equivalent to a LEED “Silver” level."  Obviously, the goal was to get buildings in Baltimore to be more environmentally friendly. Fast forward a year, and a controversy is brewing over whether a proposed Big Box project, including a Lowe’s and a Walmart is actually green.  There is some rumbling that the project was not green because it was not being certified by the USGBC, and may not be properly managing its wastewater.  According to Baltidome: […]

Pingback by The Spirit Of The Law-Is Baltimore's Proposed Project Green? - CleanTechies

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: