Once completed, an Ellicott City, Md., community will be the first to receive its county’s “Green Neighborhood” designation. The 63 Energy Star- and Indoor airPLUS-certified dwellings from Ryan Homes will feature rain barrels, energy-efficient appliances, and a solar-powered community center.

Howard County’s new Green Neighborhood program checklist mandates a variety of environmentally responsible measures, such as open green space provisions, water conservation management, minimal-impact construction materials, energy-efficient products, and advanced ventilation techniques. The Greens at Locust Chapel, developed by Ellicott City-based Land Design & Development, will be certified by independent environmental engineering firm Patuxent Environmental Group.

Sustainable features of the development will include:
--Rain barrels sized to treat a 1-inch rain event (available on 36 homes). Water collected by the barrels can be re-used for gardens and lawn and will help reduce stormwater runoff.
--Timers on all exterior lights.
--Permeable sidewalks and driveways to reduce erosion from rainwater runoff.
--Site design around the natural grade of the site to reduce the amount of disturbance to natural land areas and grading.
--Infrastructure materials sourced from recycled materials located within 200 miles of the site to reduce the amount of transit needed to bring materials to the site.
--A construction waste management plan that includes recycling.
--Reusing trees that need to be cleared for mulching a neighborhood trail.
--A community windmill and garden.

The homes, priced from the $520s, will be offered in several models in sizes up to four bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. Amenities include a two-car garage, GE appliances, 42-inch Timberlake kitchen cabinets, hardwood floors, and ceramic tiled baths. Pre-construction sales are under way, and the community’s model home is expected to open this fall.

Jennifer Goodman is Senior Editor Online for EcoHome.