Be SMART Maryland
Location: Communities throughout Maryland
Seed Funding: $20 million
Target Building Type: Residential (single and multifamily) and commercial
Maryland Takes a SMART Approach to Improving Communities Across the State
The classic image of any Main Street is one of quaint shops and small businesses, intermixed with picturesque older homes. But the historic buildings of our traditional downtowns weren't designed with energy efficiency in mind. The resulting high energy cost paid by small businesses and families is one of the many factors that have helped drive commerce and homeowners out of our traditional downtown areas. Using these historic commercial centers to launch a transformative energy efficiency campaign, the State of Maryland's Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is working with Maryland communities from the Alleghany Mountains to the Eastern Shore to improve their quality of life by saving energy.
With $20 million in seed funding from the U.S. Department of Energy's Better Buildings Neighborhood Program, the Be SMART (Saving Money and Resources Today) program is helping to preserve and improve downtown areas in Maryland by bringing smart energy efficiency upgrades to 15 communities. Maryland's Be SMART program is focusing outreach efforts on Main Street communities because there are solid relationships between residents, businesses, and local governments in these towns, and because active community groups and residents are working to assist with grassroots outreach.
The program is working with "Green Teams" within the targeted communities to provide community outreach and education regarding the benefits of improved energy efficiency. By concentrating efforts in areas with active community participation, where residential and commercial property owners work together for revitalization, Maryland's Be SMART program is strengthening communities and making them more energy efficient.
Be SMART Home
Maryland's Be SMART Home Program is offering up to $15,000 in financing for home energy efficiency improvements through two types of loans: Be SMART Home ENERGY STAR® and Be SMART Home Complete. Be SMART Home Complete loans can be used for whole home envelope improvements that are based on an approved energy assessment and are offered at an interest rate of 4.99%. Be SMART Home ENERGY STAR loans, offered at 6.99%, are available to install or replace air source heat pumps, central air-conditioning systems, boilers of all fuel types, water heaters, refrigerators, ceiling fans, programmable thermostats, ventilating fans, windows, and doors, as long as the new models are ENERGY STAR qualified.
Be SMART Multifamily
The goals of the Be SMART Multifamily program are to provide financing to improve the energy efficiency of existing rental housing stock, to create and preserve affordable rental housing opportunities, and to increase the availability of capital to finance energy efficiency measures by leveraging other public and private capital. Eligible multifamily buildings may apply for financing to upgrade their existing buildings and for the purchase and installation of equipment and materials for measures such as energy-efficient heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems; windows; doors; insulation; and lighting.
Be SMART Business
Maryland's Be SMART Business program offers low-interest loans to commercial property owners and small business owners to improve their buildings' energy efficiency and help them to realize substantial, immediate, and ongoing cost savings. Loans of $50,000 or more are available to upgrade or install energy-efficient appliances, heating and cooling systems, programmable thermostats, ceiling fans, insulation, windows, and doors.
The Be SMART Business program will provide signs for upgraded businesses to display in their windows to promote their smart business decision to become more energy efficient and to raise awareness about the program among other businesses, visitors, and homeowners in the community.
Codes Training Through Be SMART
Maryland's Be SMART initiative is also providing training on the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) that will lead to an International Code Council-recognized certification for plan reviewers, inspectors, developers, engineers, and architects and will assist local jurisdictions in active compliance and enforcement of the energy codes. In addition, information gathering from building codes inspectors, plan reviewers, and other codes officials will be used to help shape the Be SMART program's overall approach to energy efficiency. The Maryland Codes Administration is housed within DHCD's structure.
U.S. Department of Energy
Better Buildings Neighborhood Program