In October 1999, the County Board of Arlington adopted a Pilot Green Building Incentive Program using the standards established by the U. S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. The program granted bonus densities and/or heights to building projects which received LEED certification. After this testing period, the incentive program was adopted and implemented in April 2000, then later updated and expanded in 2003, 2009 and 2012.
The threshold for consideration of the density and height bonuses includes the full range of LEED certifications, Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Achieving the LEED Certified level does not guarantee a density bonus, but will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and can potentially earn a bonus of .05 floor area ratio (FAR) for office buildings (.10 FAR for residential). Office buildings achieving LEED Silver can be eligible for up to .15 FAR (residential .20 FAR). Office buildings achieving LEED Gold can be considered for .35 FAR (residential .40 FAR) and office buildings achieving LEED Platinum can be considered for .45 FAR (residential .50 FAR).
In December 2003, the County also established a Green Building Fund. Developers who participate in the site plan process (meaning their projects are special exceptions to the Zoning Ordinance) and do not achieve official LEED certification are required to contribute $0.045/sq ft. The Green Building Fund is used to provide education and outreach to developers and the community on green building issues. If the building later receives LEED certification, the fee will be refunded. Those projects that achieve LEED certification do not have to contribute.