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Developers wilt over suspension of green program
By Sam Boykin Just as the Green Permit Rebate Program was gathering steam, Mecklenburg County in April pulled the plug on the government initiative that offered builders a rebate if they implemented certain sustainable construction features, such as solar panels and energy-efficient lighting. “It’s really unfortunate they shelved that program,” said Clifton Coble, president of Charlotte-based Bissell Development. Coble said Bissell took advantage of the program not long after it was launched in January 2008. The company applied for the permit rebate on four commercial projects, including two 10-story office building towers in the Ballantyne Corporate Park. All four buildings had Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold certifications from the U.S. Green Building Council, which ranks buildings according to sustainable features such as energy savings, water efficiency and indoor environmental quality. Under the Mecklenburg County rebate program, the gold certification qualified the Bissell projects for a 20 percent permit fee rebate. The greener the project, the larger the rebate; a silver-level LEED certification can get a 15 percent rebate, for example, while a platinum-level certification garners a 25 percent rebate.