Howard County has been designated as a LEED Platinum community ― the highest designation possible ― under the United States Green Building Council’s LEED for Cities and Communities certification program.

By undergoing a LEED for Cities and Communities version 4.1 review, Howard County has demonstrated leadership and accountability by measuring their progress in important criteria.

The designation came after a rigorous review of the county’s environmental and sustainability programs, policies and investments covering 40 different areas. Points were awarded in nine categories: energy and greenhouse gas emissions, water efficiency, materials and resources, innovation, natural systems and ecology, quality of life, regional priority, transportation and land use, and integrative process.

Howard County received 82 points out of 110, the second highest amount ever awarded in LEED version 4.1 for Cities and Communities. It is also the first county in the U.S. to receive platinum certification under the rating system.

Howard County received the most points possible in Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Performance (14), Innovation (6) and Water Performance (6), as well as in several other areas.

According to the USGBC, Howard County achieved every credit available in the “quality of life credit” – from civil and human rights and environmental justice to housing affordability and civic, which organization leaders said showed a “a commitment to creating a better community for all residents.”